Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year To Readers of Bruce's Journal

I have no idea who reads Bruce's Journal, but whether I know you or not I wish you a happy and healthy 2018.

It will obviously be a year of change for me as I no longer have to cope with managers or New Jersey Transit.  I need to spend much of my first year of retirement resting.  I will be riding the #7 train, but it will be less often than I did in the last 25 years.  Whenever possible I will try to avoid the rush hours when the trains are most crowded.

I will look into doing volunteer work, but I have no specific plans right now.  I will step up my activity in SABR. (Society for American Baseball Research)

Stay tuned.

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Check Engine Light Saga Came to an End Today

A few weeks ago I reported in Bruce's Journal that my Check Engine Light Came on.  Here is the chronology:

December 18 - I took the car to the mechanic who said it would need an oxygen sensor and a catalytic converter which would be an expensive job.  I said I would take it back next week

December 27 - Another mechanic was on duty who said he wanted to recheck the scan, but did not have his scanner with him.

December 28 - The second scan indicated that it just needed an oxygen detector.  The mechanic had to order the part.

December 29 - the mechanic installed the oxygen detector.  The bill including the part and labor was about $250.  That wasn't too bad,

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Review of Petula Clark at BB Kings on December 26

I must say that at age 85 Petula Clark is not getting older, she is getting better.  She really wowed the audience at BB Kings on December 26 as she sang in front or a jammed packed club.  She sang many of her hits including Downtown, Don’t Sleep in the Subway, I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love, My Love and This is My Song.  She told some anecdotes about meeting Charlie Chaplin and John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  I was surprised to hear her cover the Beatle’s Blackbird and John Lennon’s Imagine.  She also sang a few songs from her forthcoming CD Living for Today.  There were many younger people in the audience.  Last night’s concert completes a tour that started in Modesto, California on November 12.

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Top 77 of All Time as Voted by Listeners Will Be Revealed Tomorrow

Starting tomorrow Rewound Radio will play the top 77 hits as voted by the listeners and compiled by Mike Riccio, Tom Natoli, and others.  This is the 20th time this survey was compiled.  Radio stations of various formats often do this, but the prevailing opinion is that the survey is “fudged” omitting songs that are out of the format.  Very often the order is changed to create the desired playlist.  I certainly applaud these gentlemen for all their efforts in compiling a true countdown.

I have heard thousands of oldies over the years, but how do I and others pick their favorite 10?  Here are some reasons:

1.        You were dating your future spouse when it was a hit
2.       It has a good beat and you can dance to it.
3.       You are very familiar with it.
4.       The lyrics have significance for you.

Here is what I do.  I pick my 10 favorite artists and then pick one hit from each one that I feel is likely to make the survey.  I am known as a big Bob Dylan fan, but why should I vote for an obscure album cut that would never make the survey.  Thus, I always vote for Like a Rolling Stone which a powerful, but a very bitter song.  For the Byrds, one year I’ll vote for Mr. Tambourine Man, yet another time I’ll vote for Turn Turn Turn.  I continue this for 8 more artists. 
I guess there is a method to my madness.


Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Bob Dylan Song for Galen - Subterranean Homesick Blues

Bruce and Galen

It is very unusual when I call someone out in one of my journal entries.  As you see Galen is smiling at this photo taken at my retirement luncheon.  That smile must turn into a frown every Sunday this fall as his beloved Giants football team is 2-13.  You can check out his Twitter feed at Warden of the North.

I think I should cheer him up by dedicating Subterranean Homesick Blues to him.  This Dylan song just does not make sense, but the listener must pick apart every line.  There is one line in this song that should make sense to him.  Below is the video from 1965 which appeared in the documentary Don't Look Back.  I will even show him all the lyrics, but I won't outline the important line.

Subterranean Homesick Blues

Johnny’s in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I’m on the pavement
Thinking about the government
The man in the trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he’s got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off
Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when
But you’re doin’ it again
You better duck down the alley way
Lookin’ for a new friend
The man in the coon-skin cap
By the big pen
Wants eleven dollar bills
You only got ten

Maggie comes fleet foot
Face full of black soot
Talkin’ that the heat put
Plants in the bed but
The phone’s tapped anyway
Maggie says that many say
They must bust in early May
Orders from the D.A.
Look out kid
Don’t matter what you did
Walk on your tiptoes
Don’t try “No-Doz”
Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose
Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows

Get sick, get well
Hang around an ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin’ to sell
Try hard, get barred
Get back, write braille
Get jailed, jump bail
Join the army, if you fail
Look out kid
You’re gonna get hit
But users, cheaters
Six-time losers
Hang around the theaters
Girl by the whirlpool
Lookin’ for a new fool
Don’t follow leaders
Watch the parkin’ meters

Ah get born, keep warm
Short pants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, get blessed
Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy gifts
Don’t steal, don’t lift
Twenty years of schoolin’
And they put you on the day shift
Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don’t wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don’t wanna be a bum
You better chew gum
The pump don’t work
’Cause the vandals took the handles
© 1965 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1993 by Special Rider Music

Saturday, December 23, 2017

We See a Hat Trick as the Islanders Beat Winnipeg 5-2 at Barclays Center

We only go to a few hockey games each season, so today we trekked on the subway to Brooklyn to see the Islanders play the Winnipeg Jets.  As you see above Lee got an Islanders' short and cap that he wore to the game.  The highlight was the hat trick scored by rookie Matthew Barzal.  It was the first hat trick by an Islander rookie since 2011.

Game recap

Friday, December 22, 2017

My 44 Year Journey Ends on My Terms

My 44-year journey started in January 1974 as I left the University of Rhode Island (URI) with a master’s degree in chemistry and has ended today as I have retired as a Science/Engineering Librarian with NJIT.  There was successes, failures, peaks, valleys, and plateaus along the way.  I shouldn’t make this entry too long or nobody will read it.  To quote the song The Way We Were – “What's too painful to remember we simply choose to forget”.   Since I have an excellent autobiographical, it is often difficult to forget the bad experiences.

When I left URI, I had no job prospects.  I was sending resumes out to chemical companies all over the country seeking an entry level position.  In early March when I still didn’t have a job, I went to a temporary agency called OTI and applied for a job.  They placed me at Bank Americard now known as Visa and did clerical work for them.  It was very boring, but it was better than staying home. In May 1974 I landed a position with Rhodia in New Brunswick, NJ.

I moved to a temporary apartment there where the landlord was a real jerk and just could not leave me alone.  A few months later I moved to a permanent apartment nearby.  I worked in the development lab where we modified processes in the manufacture of bulk aroma chemicals.  To make a painful story short, the situation did not work out.  If you are interested in reading more about my New Brunswick days there are two previous journal entries:

In June 1975, I landed a position with UOP Fragrances in Long Island City, Queens.  I had a very terrible commute from New Brunswick to there.  My intention was to do that for a year and then move.  This job involved synthesizing new chemical substances at a small scale to be evaluated for perfume ingredients.  In early 1976 the company was sold to a Dutch company called Naarden.  Some months later, they eliminated the research department and let everyone go from the bottle washer to the research director.  So, I was out of a job again.

This job search was long and painful.  One company actually wanted me to work for them for two days as part of my interview.  I refused and didn’t get that job which was for the better.  After being unemployed for 6 months, I had to consider relocation.  I landed a job at Pfizer in Groton, Ct.
I moved to New London which is across the Thames River from Groton.  At Pfizer I worked under a Ph D chemist to synthesize new substances to be tested for analgesic activity.  Disaster struck here as I realized that I wasn’t suited to work as a laboratory chemist.  Also, Southeastern Connecticut was not the right place for me to live.  I stayed in that area for one more year and then moved back to live with my parents in Queens. 

I worked with an outplacement consultant to help me “get my act together” to find a new career path.  I decided to pursue a career as an information scientist who would research the professional literature on behalf of laboratory scientists.  Some people suggested that I pursue a degree in Library Science, but I decided not to do that at this point.  It was a difficult job search, but In June 1979 a landed a position with Schering Corporation in Bloomfield, NJ.

Again, this necessitated a long commute from Queens.  My job was to look for documentation in the literature for chemical substances that would either be intermediates or final products.  There was online searching back then, but it was very slow and primitive compared to the internet of today.  We had to use a telephone modem to search DIALOG.  Those were the days. While I was at Schering I obtained a masters in library and information science from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. That job lasted for 3 years.

From there I went to H.W. Wilson in the Bronx to become and indexer for the Applied Science and Technology Index.  I hated that job and left after 4 months.

From there I went to the New York Public Library Science and Technology Division which then (1983) was in the famous building with the Lions at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street.  It was one of the biggest STM Library Collections in the world.  It was difficult working with a closed stack collection.  Users had to submit a call slip to the librarian and then a page would retrieve the book or periodical and bring it to the patron. “On the table tops there are seat number, write down your seat number and we’ll bring you the item.”  They could understand nuclear physics, but not seat numbers.  The hard part was finding the physical location of the item that the person requested.  After 7 ½ years, I felt it was enough.

I wanted to become an academic librarian and obtained a position at St. Johns University in Queens.  I was the Head of the Science Division for two years and then moved on to NJIT.

I could probably write a book about my experiences over the past 25 years at the Robert Van Houten Library.  I know many of my colleagues read Bruce’s Journal so I won’t say anything negative about the university or any of the people.  Any job has its frustrations, I had my share.  I had the satisfaction of reaching out to the faculty and students and winning their respect.  NJIT has grown by leaps and bounds in my 25 years.  There are many more buildings on the campus and the student body has increase greatly.  Reference librarians have to “compete” with Google.  Instead of searching the library’s database to find information, students will do a Google search and report websites in their bibliographies.  My biggest frustration was to see the reference transactions and research consultations decline.  Interested readers can check out my librarians blog.

I should also add that I am proud of my accomplishments in the American Chemical Society and the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO).  I am also proud of my professional publications.
I was frustrated not to get a promotion for 25 years, but at least I had the satisfaction of leaving on my terms.  My career difficulties were early, before I was married and had a family.  Being on a career plateau was frustrating, but I wasn’t let go.

After 40+ years of working, and 25 years at the same it was time to retire at age 68.  I will be 69 in 4 more months.  Thankfully I am in good health and hope to enjoy my retirement years.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Bob Dylan Does Recognize His Fans

The song Mississippi heard in concert above originally appeared in the album Love and Theft Released in 2001.  I just completed the book Thomas, R. F. (2017). Why Bob Dylan matters.  I have certainly read plenty of books about Dylan over the years, but each one provides a new insight.  Dylan rarely gives interviews and now just doesn't talk to his fans during concerts.  He doesn't even introduce his backup musicians to the audience.  But does he really care about his fans?

Richard F. Thomas, a Professor of Classics at Harvard, does what I often do and take a line out of context from one of his songs (Mississippi).

"I’ve got nothin’ but affection for all those who’ve sailed with me."  Many people have "sailed" with him over the years.  Below are the lyrics to the entire song.


Every step of the way we walk the line
Your days are numbered, so are mine
Time is pilin’ up, we struggle and we scrape
We’re all boxed in, nowhere to escape

City’s just a jungle; more games to play
Trapped in the heart of it, tryin' to get away
I was raised in the country, I been workin’ in the town
I been in trouble ever since I set my suitcase down

Got nothin' for you, I had nothin' before
Don’t even have anything for myself anymore
Sky full of fire, pain pourin’ down
Nothing you can sell me, I’ll see you around

All my powers of expression and thoughts so sublime
Could never do you justice in reason or rhyme
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

Well, the devil’s in the alley, mule’s in the stall
Say anything you wanna, I have heard it all
I was thinkin’ 'bout the things that Rosie said
I was dreaming I was sleepin' in Rosie’s bed

Walkin' through the leaves, falling from the trees
Feelin' like a stranger nobody sees
So many things that we never will undo
I know you’re sorry, I’m sorry too

Some people will offer you their hand and some won’t
Last night I knew you, tonight I don’t
I need somethin’ strong to distract my mind
I’m gonna look at you ’til my eyes go blind

Well I got here followin' the southern star
I crossed that river just to be where you are
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

Well my ship’s been split to splinters and it’s sinkin' fast
I’m drownin’ in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it’s light and it’s free
I’ve got nothin’ but affection for all those who’ve sailed with me
Everybody movin’ if they ain’t already there
Everybody got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interestin' right about now

My clothes are wet, tight on my skin
Not as tight as the corner that I painted myself in
I know that fortune is waitin’ to be kind
So give me your hand and say you’ll be mine

Well, the emptiness is endless, cold as the clay
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long
Copyright © 1996 by Special Rider Music

Monday, December 18, 2017

Random Thoughts of the Day

I took today as a vacation day as I must use mine up or else I would lose them.  I took my car over to a service station to find out why the check engine light went on.  It turns out that I will need a new catalytic converter and oxygen sensor.  Likely, this will cost me big bucks, but the only alternative is to get a newer car.  I have a 2000 Chevy Cavalier which I bought new, but it only has 65,700 miles.  I'll keep it for a few more years.

I had to fill out some paperwork fro TIAA.  I put in so much money into it over the last 27 years so it will be nice to finally withdraw from it.  I think I finished my work with the Social Security Administration.

I was going through a drawer at home and found the advertisement for my job that I answered in 1992.  I also saved my cover letter and the letter I received from the late Ann Buck confirming my interview.

4 more days of work!  Hopefully, there will be no train delays or arguments.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Politically Incorrect Oldies on Bob Radil's 60s 70s Show

Listener Steven Green suggested to Bob Radil that his 4th-hour theme be devoted to politically incorrect songs.  Certainly, those songs would not be released today.  Below is a list of the songs that were played during that hour.  My favorite has to be The Ten Commandments by Prince Buster.  Back in 1967 Murray the K played it regularly on WOR-FM.  I always liked its "Blue Beat."

9:02:51 PM Song - Speedy Gonzales - Pat Boone
9:05:17 PM Jingle - 60s70sRewound-1963
9:05:27 PM Song - If You Wanna Be Happy - Jimmy Soul
9:09:49 PM Song - Game Of Love - Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders[gay version]
9:11:52 PM Jingle - SCP-Can't Touch
9:12:01 PM Jingle - 1962 shout
9:12:01 PM Song - Ahab, The Arab - Ray Stevens
9:14:46 PM Jingle - You Found The Rewound Sound
9:14:52 PM Jingle - 1967 shout
9:14:52 PM Song - Ten Commandments - Prince Buster
9:20:34 PM Song - Indian Giver - 1910 Fruitgum Company
9:23:13 PM Jingle - Big Band Rewound
9:23:18 PM Song - Ten Little Indians - The Beach Boys
9:24:40 PM Jingle - Train wreck(2)~4
9:24:45 PM Jingle - 1973 shout
9:24:45 PM Song - Living For The City - Stevie Wonder[LP]
9:33:24 PM Song - Good Girls Don't - The Knack[LP lyrics]
9:36:29 PM Song - Sit Down, I Think I Love You - The Mojo Men
9:38:43 PM Jingle - RewoundRadio-1970
9:38:50 PM Song - For The Love Of Him - Bobbi Martin
9:41:24 PM Jingle - Rewound Radio -2
9:41:27 PM Jingle - 1973 shout
9:41:27 PM Song - Ain't No Woman (Like The One I Got) - Four Tops
9:44:29 PM Jingle - All American Your Favorite Station
9:44:36 PM Jingle - 1965 shout
9:44:36 PM Song - Run For Your Life - Beatles (LP - Anthology Outtakes Vol. 2)
9:49:48 PM Song - When I Kissed The Teacher - Abba (LP - Arrival)
9:52:45 PM Jingle - SCP-Worst Nightmare
9:52:55 PM Song - The Astronaut - Part 1
10:01:27 PM Song - Wives And Lovers - Jack Jones

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Check Engine Light Came on Today

I have a 2000 Chevy Cavalier which I bought new back then.  Over 17 years I have put only 65,600 miles on it since I take public transportation to work.  Most of my driving in recent years has been short trips near home.  Today as I was driving Lee home from a doctor's appointment the Check Engine Light came on.

I learned from experience not to panic when this happens.  "Research" using Google led me to some websites saying that it just could be a loose gas cap or a defective oxygen sensor.  I know that service stations can easily find the problem.  Hopefully, the solution will be inexpensive.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Happy Retirement - Reg Tomkins

I have known Reg Tomkins, Professor of Chemical Engineering at NJIT since I started in Fall 1992.  Today his department held a retirement party for him in Tiernan Hall.  He has been a great friend for all these years.  We used to have lunch in the NJIT pub with several other faculty members in the Pub in the basement of the old Hazell Center.  He actually heard Brian Matthew play one of my requests on Sounds of the 60s.

Best wishes to him on his retirement.

Monday, December 11, 2017

What are These "Lone Wolves" Trying To Prove?

As the #7 train I was on this morning approached Grand Central Station at about 7:30 the conductor announced that the train will skip the Times Square Station since there was police activity there.  I decided to get off the train at 5th Avenue and take the B, D, or F train one station to 6th Avenue and 34th Street and walk over to Penn Station.  I was able to accomplish that with a minimal delay.

I didn't realize what happened until a little later when an announcement popped up on my cell phone stating that there was a bombing near the Port Authority Bus Terminal.  I found out that there was a terrorist with a pipe bomb in the corridor connecting the Times Square Subway station with 8th Avenue and 42nd Street.  Fortunately only the terrorist suffered significant injuries.

It seems that most of these terrorist attacks recently were done by "lone wolves" who claim loyalty to ISIS.  Why must innocent people suffer?  What are these creeps trying to prove?  You just can't have a police officer guarding every square inch of the city.

On the way home there was much more police stationed at Newark Penn Station, New York Penn Station, and the Flushing subway station.  They are guarding against a "me too" attack.  But, how long can they stay there?

What is this world coming to?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

I needed a Day's Rest to Recover From My Retirement Party

I am not used to being the "center of attraction", thus my retirement party was a little stressful.  I think I had more photos taken of me there than I had at my bar mitzvah and wedding combined.  Back then a professional photographer took all the pictures, but now everyone has a cell phone with a camera. I didn't have time to eat.

I have a number of vacation days that I have to take before I leave, so I took yesterday off to recover. 
I certainly thank my colleagues for organizing this event.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

I Survived My Retirement Party with Flying Colors

Yours Truly with President Joel Bloom of NJIT

I didn't realize how popular I was at NJIT until today as about 40 people came to my retirement party.  I was pleasantly surprised that President Joel Bloom stopped by as seen above.
Your truly with Provost Fadi Deek
I knew in advance that Provost Fadi Deek would also come.  The Provost is the highest academic office in a university.  The library reports to him.

In addition to the librarians, there were representatives from the departments of chemistry, chemical engineering, physics, civil engineering, humanities and the university administration.  There was a computer in the room with access to a speaker so I put on Don Tandler's Pop Gold Radio as background music.  I was guessing that there were people there who are not Bob Dylan fans.

Blake Haggerty is a big Dylan Fan
Eric Katz is another big Mets Fan
Roz Yates is a big Fan of Mine
Selenay Aytac has been my research collaborator for 3 years

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Just Love That Cousin Brucie Theme

I hear this every Wednesday and Saturday night.  May Cousin Brucie stay on the air forever.

Monday, December 4, 2017

They Are Treating Me Like A King

Sarah, Minglu, Au, Bruce, Ann, Bonnie, Wen

Las Thursday the librarians from Rutgers took me to lunch at a "kosher style" restaurant in Newark called Hobby's.   The term kosher style is an oxymoron since food is either kosher or it is not.  It is obviously not kosher when cheese is put on top of meat.  This restaurant also served an egg cream where milk is put in with chocolate syrup.  Hobby's similar to the Stage and Carnegie Delis which closed which are not kosher.  Thank you all for the wonderful lunch.

Professor N.M. Ravindra (Ravi)

The distinguished gentleman seen above is physics professor N.M. Ravindra better known as Ravi.  Over the years I have assisted him and his students numerous times.  Today he took me to a Japanese/Chinese restaurant in Harrison called Chinatown.  It seemed strange that a restaurant served food from both countries.  Thank you so much.  It was my pleasure to serve you for all the years I have been at NJIT.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Today's Radio Log

Times are approximate

6:30 AM - 1010 WINS with Mitch Lebe
6:50 AM - WCBS-FM with Randy Davis
7:30 AM - WOLD Central NJ - Breakfast with the Beatles with Dennis Mitchell
8:00 AM - Pirate Radio from the Florida Keys - Breakfast with the Beatles with Dennis Mitchell
10:00 AM - WBGO - Rhythm Review with Felix Hernandez
10:30 AM - Johnny Cash Radio
11:00 AM - Bob Dylan Tracks with Dan Murphy
12 Noon - Rewound Radio featuring Cousin Brucie on WCBS-FM in 1997 playing a 1957 countdown
3:00 PM - Nash-FM
4:00 PM - Pop Gold Radio with Don Tandler doing a countdown of Dec 2, 1969
5:00 PM - WFUV - Mixed Bag with Don McGee
8:00 PM Cousin Brucie on SiriusXM 60s on 6

Friday, December 1, 2017

Reading Two Books at a Time on the New Kindle Fire

In recent years I have purchased more electronic books than traditional print ones.  I bought these two books to "break in" the new Kindle Fire.

Thomas, R. F. (2017). Why Bob Dylan matters.  - Yet another Bob Dylan book.  Every author brings new insights.

Clinton, H. R. (2017). What happened.  - she certainly bashes Donald Trump

I read a chapter of one book and then a chapter of the other.
Personal-Journals blog