Monday, December 31, 2018

Random Thoughts on New Years Eve

2018 was a peaceful time for me as it was my first year in retirement.  The best thing is not having to cope with bosses who flex their managerial muscles by imposing their professional interests on you.  I stayed on the same job too long, but I had the satisfaction of leaving on my terms.  I certainly don't miss my miserable commute as I have read about numerous delays on New Jersey Transit over the past year.  I am doing well financially as I did a good job of saving for the future.

I believe strongly in moving on and letting go of the past.  I am trying to forget about the bad experiences of the past.  There is much pleasure in visiting museums, going to movies, reading good books and enjoying life.

This will be entry #250 in Bruce's Journal in 2018 meaning that I post about two times every three days.  There have been over 3700 entries since I started this blog in October 2005.  I never know who is reading it and if it has an impact on anyone.

Since it is New Year's Eve, I remember that it was 50 years ago today that my date got sick and had to cancel.  When one has a good memory, there are just too many bad incidents of the past that stay in my mind.

I wish all readers of Bruce's Journal a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2019.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Two Museums in One Afternoon - The Museum of Arts and Design and The Folk Arts Museum

A sample of Art Work from The
Museum of Arts and Design

I looked at a listing of museums looking for one that I never visited and found The Museum of Arts and Design  (MAD) located in Columbus Circle.  This museum recognizes artists working in the studio using fiber, clay, wood, glass, and metals to design their works.  Almost all the works that I viewed today were done recently.  The exhibitions there today were:
  • Sterling Ruby: Ceramics
  • The Burke Prize 2018 - This exhibit displays works of finalists for this prize that is open to artists under the age of forty.
  • MAD Collects - a sample of the museum's recent acquisitions
  • The Eye Level - Uses heavyweight thread to build a luminescent field
  • Fake News and True Love - examines jewelry as a document of popular cultural history
The museum was somewhat small and since it only took about 1 1/2 hours to see, we decided to walk over to the American Folk Art Museum at Columbus Avenue and 66th Street.  We were there earlier this year and thought the exhibits had changed over several months.  This museum is devoted to the expression of self-taught artists of yesterday and today.  The two exhibits today were:
  • John Dunkley: Neither Day nor Night - Dunkley (1891-1947) is a significant artist from Jamaica.
  • Paa Joe: Gates of No Return - He is a contemporary artist from Accra known for his figurative coffins that draw from a traditional Ghanaian custom.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt by John Dunkley

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Voting for My Top Hits

For many years radio stations ask their listeners to vote for their favorite hits. It is very hard to pinpoint 10 songs as my favorite.  Did I like the melody, lyrics, or did the song have an impact on me?  Many songs that affected me are "deep tracks" and are rarely played on the radio.  I picked songs by my favorite artists that are likely to make the survey.

Mike Riccio, Tom Natoli, and others over the years have taken great time and effort to compile and honest listener poll of their favorite hits. I thank them for their efforts. Many polls by radio stations are adjusted to eliminate songs that don't fit their format.   The Top 100 its voted this year may be found at  Links to results from other years may be found on the Oldies Board.

Here are the songs that I voted for.  If I voted for 10 Dylan songs, I am sure my submission would be disqualified.  Like a Rolling Stone is not my favorite Dylan song, but it is the one most likely to make the survey.  It was #21 is this year's poll.  I included The Mighty Quinn and Blowin' in the Wind which are covers of Dylan songs.

Song/Artist 1: Like A Rolling Stone  - Bob Dylan (1965)
Song/Artist 2: Mrs Robinson  - Simon and Garfunkel (1968)
Song/Artist 3: Turn Turn Turn (To Everything There Is A Season)  - Byrds (1965)
Song/Artist 4: Mellow Yellow  - Donovan (1966)
Song/Artist 5: The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)  - Manfred Mann (1968)
Song/Artist 6: Blowin' In The Wind  - Peter, Paul and Mary (1963)
Song/Artist 7: Light My Fire  - Doors (1967)
Song/Artist 8: Get Back  - Beatles (1969)
Song/Artist 9: Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard  - Paul Simon (1972)
Song/Artist 10: You Can't Always Get What You Want  - Rolling Stones (1969)

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Random Thoughts on Christmas Day

For several years in the 1970s and 80s, I would go to a Knick game at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day.  I checked out the prices for today's game and was shocked to see that the cost of a ticket in the 200 level was over $130.  At that price, I think I will take a pass.  The Knicks lost to the Milwaukee Bucks as their record dropped to 9-26.

Instead, we went to the local multiplex to see Holmes and Watson.  It was a silly movie, but it got us out of the house for a few hours.

I think I will purchase a newer car in early 2019.  I have a 2000 Chevy Cavalier with only 69,000 miles.  My of my driving has been short trips which put more wear and tear on a car than highway driving.

I am organizing a meeting for the local chapter of SABR (Society of American Baseball Research).  I will post more information later.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Yesterday's Visit to the Museum of the Moving Image

In January of this year,  the Museum of the Moving Image was the first museum I visited by myself as a retiree.  Since museums always change exhibits, I thought this was a good time for a return visit with Karen and Lee this time.  The Jim Henson Exhibition was the feature yesterday.  He is obviously best known for Sesame Street and the Muppets, but his works including TV appearances in the 1950s and 60s were shown.

Listings of other exhibitions at the museum may be found at

I guess I'll revisit this museum in about a year as old exhibits will be removed and new ones will be installed.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Reflections on My First Year of Retirement

It is exactly one year since I left my job in the Garden State, so I think it is time to write some reflections on my first year of retirement.  I did pick the right time to retire since I am entitled to some good benefits after completing 25 years of service.  I was also burned out after being in the same position for so long.  It was extraordinarily frustrating to do good work and never being rewarded with a promotion.

I have spent my time pursuing interests that I have enjoyed for years and developing new interests.  Before retirement, I had time for one museum every month, but now I can visit places at least once a week.  Likewise, I was limited to seeing movies at the local multiplex whose offerings were limited to the mass appeal films aimed at a younger audience.  Now, I often make trips to Manhattan to see independent films that are more suited for senior citizens.  I spend more time with SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) as I am the coordinator of fact-checking for the Games Project and have worked for The Baseball Index.  I certainly saw plenty of games at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium.

I have become a more voracious reader as I have read numerous books and magazines over the past year  I visited the New York Public Library and Queens Library to do “recreational research” on baseball and music.  Now, I am using the skills I have a research librarian for my own investigations.
I certainly don’t miss commuting to Newark.  I have seen umpteen delays on New Jersey Transit over the past year and am relieved that I no longer have to cope with them. There is no longer a need to be such a clock watcher as I used to be.  I do ride the New York City Subway, not nearly as often as I did while I was working.  I have confronted just a few delays over the past year as I rarely ride in the rush hour.

It is safe to say that I enjoyed my first year of retirement.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Bob Dylan's Never Ending Tour Will Continue in 2019

I hope my readers can see this JPG file which lists the tour dates for early 2019.  The concerts will be held in Europe. Since Dylan will be 78 years old in May, I expect that there will be fewer shows in the forthcoming year.  Hopefully, there will be NYC dates later in the year.  May he stay Forever Young.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

New Jersey Governor Murphy Signs Bill to Overhaul NJ Transit - Too Late for Me

It is almost one year to the day since I last rode on New Jersey Transit.  I am enjoying the $152/month that I don't have to pay them to ride from NYC to Newark.  Over the past year, I have read about numerous delays that have occurred on that railroad for various reason and am relieved that I don't have to commute there again.

According to this article , NJ Transit will undergo major structural changes for the first time in a generation under a bipartisan bill that Gov. Phil Murphy signed Thursday to overhaul operations at the long-troubled public transit agency.  Obviously, there won't be miracles overnight, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.  Over my 25 years of commuting, I felt that the agency was not responsive to the concerns of its customers.  I don't think the former Governor cared about NJ Transit and let the agency slip into mediocrity.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Today's Visit to the Cooper Hewitt Museum

Float Concept Vehicle at the Museum

Since I hadn't visited the Cooper Hewitt Museum since August 2017  I thought it was time to return since museum exhibits change periodically.  I especially wanted to see The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility which presented design projects inspired by the technologies that will change how we move people, goods, and services in the future.  The Float Concept Vehicle seen above is an example.

Other exhibits that I viewed included:
  • Iridescence
  • Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color
  • Scholten & Baijings: Lessons From the Studio
  • Tablescapes: Design for Dining

I have included two photos, but others may be found at

Monday, December 17, 2018

Definitely Dylan is a Podcast for All Dylan Fans - Thanks Laura Tenschert

A few weeks ago I was listening to produced by fellow New York Met fan Pete Freckelton.  He was playing a show called Definitely Dylan hosted by Laura Tenschert from the UK seen above.  The show is heard once a week on Resonance FM from London on Sundays.  It is also posted as a podcast on with 37 episodes done to date.

I was very impressed with this show after hearing just one episode.  I started back at episode #1 from early 2018 and so far have heard about 12 shows.  As time permits I will listen to all of the shows.  Most radio shows just play the music, but don't offer commentaries about the songs.  Laura discusses in detail every Dylan song that she plays from the perspective of a young woman.  She sounds like a walking encyclopedia of Dylan who likely acquired much of her knowledge by reading.  Older people like myself have experience Dylan for over 50 years and likely have a different perspective.

Very recently I sent her an email suggesting she do a show describing the relationship between Dylan and the Beatles in the 1960s.  She followed my suggestion and produced that show.  She then said she will do a second show describing the relationship between Dylan and the individual Beatles.  I shall look forward to her discussion about the Traveling Wilburys.

Keep up the good work, Laura.  If you are reading this also thank the people behind the scenes who help you produce the show,

Here is what another Dylan fan
looks like.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Brooklyn Nets 144 Atlanta Hawks 127

View from our seats in the
nosebleed section

Until today we had not been to a basketball or hockey game this season.  When I checked out ticket prices at Madison Square Garden I was shocked to see that tickets in the upper deck cost over $100.  The Knicks have played very poorly, so what is the sense of paying big bucks to see a bad team. 

Today on an impulse I checked out tickets for today's Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Center.  I found out that I could get tickets from StubHub for less than $30.  Since it was a rainy day, I thought that instead of staying home, we can take the subway to Brooklyn.

The Nets had taken a 21-point lead against the lowly Hawks, but it slipped away as the visitors came within two points near the end of the second quarter.  The Netw recovered and scored 144 points making it their highest-scoring game at the Barclay's Center.  Needless to say, there wasn't much defense by either team.

Mark Wade Trio and Roberta Piket Perform at Flushing Town Hall

This is a another performance at Flushing Town Hall

It is certainly nice to have a performance venue a short walk from home as last night we saw the Mark Wade Trio and Robert Piket at Flushing Town Hall.  Roberta Piket is a pianist who performed as a soloist last night.  She performed her own compositions as well as those by Theolonius Monk.

Mark Wade is a bassist who performs with a trio as seen above.  He was voted one of the top bassists of 2016 and 2018 by the prestigious readers poll of Downbeat Magazine.  Mark is the Director of New Music Horizons which is dedicated to supporting new music in the fields of contemporary jazz and classical music in the New York metropolitan area.

Friday, December 14, 2018

5 Visits to Libraries in 4 Days

I worked in libraries for almost 40 years, but this week I visited public libraries 5 times in 4 days as a patron:

  • Monday - I researched the Pacific Coast League at the Schwartzman Building of NYPL at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - early in the afternoon I sat in the local Mitchell Linden branch of the Queens Library to do some recreational reading.  It is obviously too cold to sit on a park bench and read, also I just don't want to sit around the apartment all day.  Also, there are too many distractions at home to interfere with my reading.
  • Thursday evening I visited the Flushing branch of the Queens Library where I attended a meeting of the Riders Alliance where we discussed public transportation issues.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Hot Stove League is Heating Up

Let me explain for readers who are not baseball fans what is meant by the Hot Stove League.  It means to talk about trades and free agent signings during the off-season.  The Winter Meetings of baseball executives is now taking place in Las Vegas so since they are meeting face-to-face, it is easier to consummate trades.  Every team including the Mets and Yankees are trying to improve themselves.  The Mets new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen likely would like to make some moves to make his presence known.  He has already made one major trade acquiring Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz.

The Mets want to upgrade at catcher and are interested in acquiring J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins.  One must give up something to get something.  There are speculative trades reported by sports journalists, Facebook posters, and callers to WFAN and ESPN Radio.  At this point, I am getting tired of hearing them.  Realmuto is a good catcher, but he is not at the level of Johnny Bench or Mike Piazza.  I would not give up Noah Syndergaard for him.  There is also speculation that the Mets could give up Conforto, Nimmo, or Rosario in a trade for him.  The problem would be filling one hole and creating another one.

The late Bob Murphy said, "The best trades are the ones that you don't make."  If a trade is to be made, it must improve the team.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Doing Recreational Reading about the Pacific Coast League at NYPL

I really shouldn't call this research since I am not trying to write a paper on this topic. A few weeks ago I attended a talk given at a meeting of the New York Giants Preservation Society by the author of:

Mitchell, L. A. (2018). Baseball goes west: The Dodgers, the Giants, and the shaping of the major leagues

The author mentioned that at one time the quality of play at  Pacific Coast League (PCL) was almost as good as that of Major League Baseball.  This piqued my interest and I thought I should do some reading about the PCL.

I read parts of the following books:

O'NEAL, Bill (2018). PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE 1903-1988. S.l.: EAKIN PRESS.

Wells, D. R. (2004). Baseball's western front: The Pacific Coast League during World War II. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co.

Zingg, P. J., & Medeiros, M. D. (1994). Runs, hits, and an era: The Pacific Coast League, 1903-58. Urbana: Published for the Oakland Museum by the University of Illinois Press.

There were many excellent ballplayers who spent their entire careers in the PCL.  In earlier years those clubs were not farm teams for MLB.  The San Francisco Seals,  Los Angeles Angels, and Hollywood Stars were prominent teams in that league.  But obviously, the PCL changed when MLB moved west in 1958. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Andy Warhol From A to B and Back Again at the Whitney Museum

Lee in Front of Elvis Presley

Today we went to the Whitney Museum to see the highly touted Andy Warhol Exhibition.  Most of it was located on the 5th floor, but there was something on the third and first floor as well. It included over 350 works of art across all media representing all phases of his career.  I was impressed by the room on the first floor that showed commissioned portraits.

The 6th floor's exhibit titled Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art, 1965-2018 featured over 50  works of conceptual, video and computational art.

The 7th floor featured selections from the Whitney's Collection.

Portrait of Neil Sedaka
Nixon on the Wall
Marilyn Monroe
Dick Tracy

Friday, December 7, 2018

Today's Visit to the Paley Center

Since I will be viewing the Andy Warhol Exhibit at the Whitney Museum tomorrow I thought I should see what programs the Paley Center had on the American pop artist.  I found a program that was part of the American Masters series that was aired in 1992.  It profiled the life and career of pop artist Andy Warhol through interviews, archival footage, and images of Warhol's artworks.

Since today is Pearl Harbor Day I searched the collection and found a documentary from 1966, the 25th anniversary of this tragic event in American History.  Highlights include the following: the U.S.S. "Arizona" memorial; Signal Corps footage of the attack on Pearl Harbor, including the destruction of the U.S.S. "Tennessee," "West Virginia," "Oklahoma," "Maryland," "Nevada," and "Arizona"; changes in Brockton, Mass., the hometown of John R. Johnson, one of the men killed at Pearl Harbor.  It was narrated by Frank McGee and Edwin Newman.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Day at the Brooklyn Museum Compliments of Culturepass

Painting of George Washington
by Gilbert Stuart

In July I reported on the Culturepass program where holders of New York City library cards can get free admission to museums.  Today I took advantage of that by going to the Brooklyn Museum.  I had to reserve my pass about 3 months in advance, but it was worth the savings.  I was last there in May when I went to see the David Bowie Exhibit.  In December 2016 I also saw the museum when they featured a sports photography exhibit.

There were several featured exhibits today:
  • Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power - featured over 150 artworks in the exhibition directly address the unjust social conditions facing Black Americans from 1953-63
  • Half the Picture: A Feminist Look at the Collection - explores a wide range of art-making, focusing on enduring political subjects—encompassing gender, race, and class
  • One: Do Ho Suh - a full-scale re-creation of the Korean artist’s former apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City and his home for 19 years. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Random Oldie of the Day - Mony Mony by Tommy James and the Shondells

Back in the early 2000s when WCBS-FM was an oldies station they played Mony Mony by Tommy James and the Shondells to death.  I had to change the station when it came on.  I don't hear it very often now, but it came on Pop Gold Radio while I was listening to the station this afternoon.   I like it better than the Billy Idol version. 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Bob Dylan at the Beacon Theater

The Beacon Theater is my favorite venue to see Dylan since the seats are relatively close to the stage and the acoustics are very good.  As I approached the theater there were scalpers doing their usual business which is still illegal.  The security was tight as each person was frisked upon entering.  It is badly needed as a result of some tragic events, but I feel that wanding people would suffice.  Most of the people in the audience were baby boomers who grew up with Dylan.

The set list as seen below is pretty standard for this leg of the Never Ending Tour.  There were no adult standards sung as they were over the past few years.  I was happy to hear Dylan on harmonica on Don't Think Twice and Blowin' in the Wind.  The showstopper was Like a Rolling that was done differently from the 1965 hit record.

New York, New York
Beacon Theatre
December 1, 2018

1.Things Have Changed (Bob on piano, Donnie on pedal steel)
2.It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on piano, Donnie on pedal steel)
3.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on piano, Donnie on lap steel)
4.Simple Twist Of Fate (Bob on piano and harp, Donnie on pedal steel)
5.Cry A While (Bob on piano, Donnie on pedal steel)
6.When I Paint My Masterpiece
(Bob on piano and harp, Donnie on pedal steel)
7.Honest With Me (Bob on piano, Donnie on pedal steel)
8.Tryin' To Get To Heaven (Bob on piano, Donnie on pedal steel)
9.Scarlet Town (Bob center stage, Donnie on banjo, Tony on standup bass)
10.Make You Feel My Love (Bob on piano and harp, Donnie on pedal steel)
11.Pay In Blood (Bob on piano, Donnie on pedal steel)
12.Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on piano, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
13.Early Roman Kings (Bob on piano, Donnie on lap steel, Tony on standup bass)
14.Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
(Bob on piano and harp, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
15.Love Sick (Bob on piano, Donnie on pedal steel)
16.Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on piano, Donnie on electric mandolin)
17.Soon After Midnight (Bob on piano. Donnie on pedal steel)
18.Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob on piano, Donnie on lap steel)
19.It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry
(Bob on piano, Donnie on pedal steel)
20.Blowin' In The Wind
(Bob on piano and harp, Donnie on violin, Tony on standup bass)

Below is a Youtube video of the complete concert on November 26th which was the third of seven at the Beacon last night's show was the last.  There is a show on  December 3 in Philadelphia which ends this leg of the Never Ending Tour.  This video is obviously illegal and will likely be taken off Youtube sooner or later.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

17th Anniversary of the Passing of George Harrison

All Things Must Pass is one of my favorite George Harrison songs as it has inspired me many times over the years.  He passed away on November 29, 2001, but his music will live on forever.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

My Second Visit to the Museum of the City of New York in 2018

According to my records, I visited this museum in February, but there were some new exhibits that were of interest to me:

  • Germ City - explores the complex story of New York’s long battle against infectious disease—a fight involving government, urban planners, medical professionals, businesses, and activists.  I thought it was it little too simplistic and more suited for youngsters.  The museum was not crowded today and I didn't see even one group of students.
  • Through a Different Lens: Photographs of Stanley Kubrick.   This exhibition featured photographs Kubrick did for Look Magazine from 1946-51 before he became a film director.
  • Interior Lives -  Contemporary Photographs of Chinese New Yorkers
  • A City for Corduroy - photographs of the stuffed bear who has entertained children for years.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Some Comments about Bruce's Journal

I have kept this journal going for over 13 years with over 3600 posts.  I do keep track of the hits with Blogger and Google Analytics.  Recently, the number of hits have gone down, but there are a few significant posts.  Recently they have been:

  • The passing of Randy Safuto of Randy and the Rainbows
  • The Closing of the Shalimar Diner
Most people find Bruce's Journal from a link in Facebook or through a Google search.  I suspect that most hits are very casual as readers just look at the post for a few seconds and then move on.

I am now very careful about what to write here since anyone on the Internet can read.  I learned from a few mistakes I made in the past.  I try not to get too personal and don't discuss family or health issues.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Girl from the North Country at the Public Theater - The Play and the Music Just Didn't Fit

I finally got to see Girl From the North Country several months after reading about the British production in Isis, a Dylan Fanzine from the UK.  I bought the CD by the British cast which included the music, but no dialog or indication of the storyline.  Girl From the North Country is a very romantic song that first appeared on The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in 1963.  A duet with Dylan and Johnny Cash was done on 1969's Nashville Skyline.  I thus presumed that this would be a romantic play.

The play takes place in a seedy boarding house in Duluth, Minnesota (Dylan's birthplace) in 1934 which is 7 years before his birth and at least 25 years before any of his songs were written.  The play considers the predicaments of the boarders.  The choice of Dylan's songs to me doesn't reflect the script of the play.  Some of the segues are very awkward.  Dylan's biggest hit "Like a Rolling Stone" which is very bitter leads into "Make You Feel My Love" a romantic song popularized by Garth Brooks.  The cast dances to "You Ain't Going Nowhere" which bought me back to Roger McGuinn's singalong at his recent concert at Town Hall.  There was a boxer named Joe Scott who sang "Hurricane", but Ruben Carter's saga didn't happen for another 40 years.  The last song was "Forever Young" that seemed to unite everyone.

Conor McPherson, the director, and writer is described as perhaps the finest English playwright of his generation.  Dylan's music and lyrics are always open to interpretation and obviously, those songs affected Mr. McPherson different than they did me.

This review was written by a retired Chemistry/Chemical engineering librarian who has become a devoted patron of the arts in his old age.  I am listing a few more professional reviews:

  • New York Times
  • Variety - Reviewer Marilyn Stasio agrees that many of the songs are a poor fit for the setting.

We had terrific seats in the second row.  Above is a photo that I took before the show of the piano used.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Bob Dylan Appears on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

Bob Dylan Covers Drake's Hotline Bling

Bob Dylan plugs his Heaven's Door Whiskey with Jimmy Fallon

Before I went to sleep last night I read a Facebook post stating that Bob Dylan would appear on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  I couldn't verify it anywhere so I assumed it was "Fake News".  this morning I found out he was on the show.  Above are two videos of his appearance.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Random Thoughts on Thanksgiving

There was nothing out of the ordinary for this Thanksgiving except for the bitterly cold weather.  It shouldn't be 22 degrees in November.

Nothing much was said in the media about the 55th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Most people today were not yet born in 1963.

We will likely see the film Creed II at the local multiplex tomorrow.  I am not interested in shopping on Black Friday.

On Saturday afternoon we will be seeing Girl From the North Country at the Public Theater while the Bob Dylan concert for us will be on Saturday December 1.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Velvet Underground Experience in Greenwich Village

I have certainly listened to oldies and classic rock for many years but didn't know that much about the Velvet Underground.  I found out about the Velvet Underground Experience from a Twitter follower, @phungo2008 who is Paul Ember, a software engineering and baseball fan.  I attended his talk titled The Warhol Triple Play: Maris, Seaver, and Rose at the SABR convention in Pittsburgh in June.  He informed me of this exhibition from a tweet.

I reported in yesterday's journal entry of my research into the Velvet Underground in preparation for today's visit.  The exhibit included films produced exclusively for this exhibition, portraits of each of the band members, hundreds of photos contributed by lenders and collectors, and a small room documenting Andy Warhol's relationship to the group.  I took more time to examine items devoted to Lou Reed. who was also a solo performer after the group split.

I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition as I took 3 hours to look at everything.  I highly recommend it.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Researching Bob Dylan and the Velvet Underground at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center

Schatzberg, J. (2006). Thin wild mercury: Touching Dylan's edge: Dylan. Guildford, Surrey, England: Genesis Publications

Jerry Schatzberg who is now 91 years old published this book comprised mostly of pictures of Dylan in 1966 at the time of the recording of Blonde on Blonde.  He stated "As a photographic subject, Dylan was the best.  You just point the camera at him and things happen."  In most of the photos, Dylan is holding a cigarette. In the film "Don't Look Back" he smoked in most of the scenes.  Thank goodness he never contracted lung cancer.
Dylan without a cigarette

Dylan with a cigarette

DeRogatis, J., & Bentley, B. (2010). The Velvet Underground: An illustrated history of a walk on the wild side. Hamburg: Gingko Press.

The members of the group were:
  • Lou Reed
  • John Cale
  • Sterling Morrison
  • Maureen Tucker
  • Nico
Andy Warhol produced an album for them, but the group eventually broke away from him and signed with Steve Sesniak.

I also sampled a CD of the Velvet Underground while I was there.

Watching TV News Is Often Depressing

I always like to be informed by regularly watching local and national TV News.  However, it is usually very depressing as most of the stories are about:

  • Crime
  • Natural Disasters
  • Man-Made Disasters
  • Accidents
  • Politics
Very often, I feel that the media very often creates the news rather reports it.  Very often alleged criminals become media stars.  The Harvey Weinstein situation is an example of that.  When police officers act inappropriately, the story is often blown out of proportion.  Stories that tell of a policeman, fireman, or civilian who save someone are usually marginalized.

I hate when there is a story about the anniversary of a significant news story.  This morning, the Today Show stated they would cover the 20th anniversary of the Clinton impeachment.  Why do we have to experience that again?  

Have a nice day and don't watch TV news.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Shalimar Diner in Rego Park is Closing

My photo of the Shalimar Diner in 2009

On February 20, 1972, there was a fire on 63rd Drive and Austin Street that destroyed the local library and several businesses.  This date was confirmed by an article in the New York Daily News.  A short time after that the Shalimar Diner was constructed and became a neighborhood icon.  I remember eating there several times with my parents in the 70s and 80s.  We lived a few blocks away on Saunders Street.  In May 2000 I ate breakfast there with Steven Gaber as we took a nostalgic tour of the old neighborhood.  In July 2006 Roy took us there after his mother's funeral.

I guess that the property was sold and the new owner will construct an apartment building.  It is a shame that so many local diners have closed over the years.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

That Thin Wild Mercury Sound, The Kindle Fire, and Amazon Alexa

Blonde on Blonde released in Spring 1966 is my favorite Bob Dylan album.  I remember when it was first released I had a problem scraping up my allowance money to buy it.  On a hot summer day, I finally had the money and went to Alexander's record department in Rego Park and got it.

The track list:

1. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
2. Pledging My Time
3. Visions Of Johanna
4. One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)
5. I Want You
6. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
7. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
8. Just Like A Woman
9. Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine
10. Temporary Like Achilles
11. Absolutely Sweet Marie
12. Fourth Time Around
13. Obviously Five Believers
14. Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands

The author of That Thin Mercury Sound describes in detail all of the recording sessions for each of the tracks listed above.  He lists all of the backing musicians and states what instruments they played.  The album was recorded in New York and Nashville in late 1965 and early 1966,  Dylan actually toured between the various sessions.

I have the book in electronic format on my Amazon Kindle Fire.  After I read a chapter describing a song, I would close the book and say "Alexa, play Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again."  After I heard the song, I would read the next chapter discussing another song.

Bob Johnston was the producer of this wonderful album.  The author referred to an open-access biography of him at When I get time, I'll have to read it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Meeting of the New York Giants Preservation Society at Finnerty's

In January 2017 I went to a meeting of the New York Giants Preservation Society, a group of fans of the baseball team that moved from the Polo Grounds to San Francisco in 1958.  I found out about this group from Gary Mintz, the son of NYPL legend Lou Mintz whom I knew when I worked there in the 1980s. Last night the group held a meeting at Finnerty's, a tavern described as a home away from home for San Francisco Giants Fans.

The featured speaker was Lincoln A. Mitchell, a political analyst, pundit, and writer affiliated with Columbia University who spoke about his new book:

Mitchell, L. A. (2018). Baseball goes west: The Dodgers, the Giants, and the shaping of the major leagues

He spoke about the book for about 1 hour and then fielded questions from the audience which was much larger than I anticipated.  There were about 40 SF/NY Giant fans and his colleagues and acquaintances from Columbia University.  He spoke on how the move of baseball to the west coast affected the culture of baseball in the decades that followed.  I bought the book and read about 10 pages on the subway ride home.  Now, I have to find time to read it as I have several magazines and a Bob Dylan book on my reading list,  I have always been a Met fan but am quite interested in the history of baseball.
Lincoln Mitchell signing copies of his book

This sign from Candlestick Park and was
acquired by the owners of Finnerty's

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Random Thoughts on a Rainy Tuesday Morning

Every day I read about problems on New Jersey Transit and am grateful that I no longer have to ride that railroad.  Some of the issues are caused by mismanagement while others are the result of a crumbling infrastructure.  There was a major delay this morning on the Montclair-Boonton line caused by a trespasser fatality.  I can't blame the agency for this, but I wonder if this and similar incidents are suicides.

I still get emails from the MTA about problems on the #7 subway line.  Every day there are signal problems.  Maybe in my lifetime, the antiquated signaling system will be updated.  In the past year, I only encountered one major delay as the train was delayed for about 15 minutes getting out of the Flushing station.  I still ride the subway, but not nearly as often as I did while I was working.

I just completed a project for SABR's Baseball Index where I indexed about 1000 articles from the Games Project.  I will take a break for a few days and then index about 200 more article that was done over the last 3 months.

Tonight I am going to a meeting of the New York Giants Preservation Society at Finnerty's in Manhattan.  I'll report on this tomorrow.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Today's Trip to the Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn

Lee in front of a #7 Red Bird
at the Transit Museum

The announcement about a new exhibit titled Navigating New York enticed us to visit the Transit Museum for the first time since June 2017.  This exhibit features maps highlight the story of New York’s growth through the increasingly connected transportation system.  There were historical maps of the 3 systems that were eventually consolidated to become today's subway system:

  • IRT - Interborough Rapid Transit (the numbered subway lines)
  • IND - Independent Line
  • BMT - Brooklyn Manhattan Transit
There was another exhibit titled Underground Heroes: New York Transit In Comics.

We also went downstairs to see the vintage cars.  Lee always liked the Red Birds that were used on the #7 train for many years.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

2018 Oldies Meet and Greet Featuring Lunch with Ken Dashow Talking About the Beatles

The Oldies Meet and Greet has come a long way since the mid-1990s when a few of us from the WCBS-FM folder on AOL met for lunch.  It evolved into a group protesting the dreadful format change at the station and then into a group of enthusiasts of Saturday Night Oldies on WABC.  Today's gathering of 38 including people who have come for years and some newcomers.  Some of the oldtimers included:

  • Linda Cohen
  • Terri Du
  • Bill Dillane
  • Jon Binstock
  • Alan Ross
  • Bobby Backman
The first-timers included:
  • Tom Natoli who used to win all the time on Tuesday Night Trivia on WCBS-FM
  • Charlie Menut
Most of the events featured radio personalities or musical performers.  Today's guest was Ken Dashow of Q-104.3 who also appeared in 2015.  After he ate lunch with us he spoke about the Beatles and answered questions about the greatest musical group in history.

I can't wait until next November for the next event.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Fall 2018 Visit to the Jewish Museum

According to this journal, the last time I visited the Jewish Museum on 92nd Street was 8 months ago in March.  All the exhibits today were different:

  • Martha Rosler: Irrespective - She is a contemporary artist considered one of the strongest and most resolute artistic voices of this generation.  Her themes include war, gender roles, gentrification, inequality, and labor.  The exhibit featured several photomontages that represent those themes.
  • Chagall, Lissitzky, Malevich: The Russian Avant-Garde in Vitebsk, 1918-1922 -  traces the fascinating post-revolutionary years when the history of art was shaped in Vitebsk.  The output of those three artists is shown.
  • Scenes from the collection - focusing on the Jewish experience.  The curators of the museum rotate the holdings.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Some Political Comments

I consider myself a non-political person so here goes:

  • There were more people than usual at my polling place at PS 214 in Flushing.  I am glad to see that people are interested in participating in the electoral process.
  • In my district, Democratic Congresswoman Grace Meng was re-elected with minimal opposition from the Green Party.  Likewise, Senator Kristen Gillibrand was re-elected in a landslide.
  • The Democrats won control of the House of Representatives, but the Republicans retained control of the Senate.  A commentator on NBC News said that the Democrats won the popular vote while the Republicans won the Electoral College.  This was an interesting metaphorical comment.
  • With a majority in the Senate, any presidential appointed should easily be confirmed.  It is a shame that so much voting on issues is done strictly on party lines.
  • With a majority in the House, there is a temptation to start impeachment proceedings.  Likely, if this happened it would be a futile effort since even if the president was impeached, it would take a two-thirds vote in the Senate to remove him from office.
  • The presidential campaign for 2020 starts today.  Several potential candidates will form exploratory committees and begin to raise funds.  My prediction is that Michael Bloomberg will be the Democratic nominee in 2020 as he can use his own money in his campaign. One issue is that he will be 78 years old in 2020.  We shall see.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Election Year Rag by Steve Goodman - Classic Rock Song of the day

I heard this song for the very first time today on the Deep Tracks Channel on SiriusXM.  Sadly, Steve passed away in 1984, but this is the "Song of the Day."

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Statistics on Anti-Semitism in New York City are Sad

I am quoting from an article in the Big City Column in today's New York Times written by Ginia Bellafante.  The Police Department reports half the hate crimes reported in NYC are anti-semitic incidents.  The 142 such incidents are 4 times the number reported against Blacks and 20 times the number of hate crimes against transgendered people.  It is quite sad.

About 20 years ago in my neighborhood, someone stopped his car and shouted to me "Hey you f* Kike.  Hitler didn't finish the job."  The tragedy in Pittsburgh should be a wake-up call for all of us.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Bob Dylan More Blood More Tracks Arrived Today

I am pleased to report that delivered this to me on its day of release.  I bought the deluxe version with 6 CDs and a book of photographs.  It is Volume 14 is the Bootleg Series.  There are Dylan enthusiasts like me who must have every legitimate release.  Blood on the Tracks, originally released in 1974, was critically acclaimed back then and is very popular with many Dylan Fans.  I enjoyed it, but prefer the albums released in the mid to late 1960s.

This boxed set includes alternative version remixed and remastered from the original session tapes.  Listening to it will keep me busy for a while.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Juggling Reading Magazines and Books - The Adventures of a Scholarly Retiree

Since I have retired, I have much more time to devote to reading.  I read at home, on a park bench or in the public library.  I also like to bring magazines or newspapers when I take the subway to Manhattan for cultural activities.  If I were still taking NJ Transit, I could finish off War and Peace during one train delay.

I have subscriptions to the following magazines:

Goldmine - monthly that discusses collecting records and CDs
Sports Illustrated - now bi-weekly.  I have subscribed to this for over 40 years
New York Magazine - bi-weekly but discusses National issues as well
Rolling Stone - monthly - It includes articles on many classic rock artists
Isis - quarterly - A Bob Dylan Fanzine
Chemical & Engineering News - weekly.  I get this as a member of the American Chemical Society
Scientific American - Monthly
Discover - Monthly - another science magazine

I usually jump from one magazine to another.  I usually don't read every article in every issue.

I buy print books, electronic books for the Amazon Kindle and loans from the Queens Library.  I am currently juggling the following books:

Emerick, G., & Massey, H. (2014). Here, there and everywhere: My life recording the music of the beatles. New York: Gotham Books.  - borrowed from Queens Library

Wilson, Brian (2018) 50 Stories:50 Years in Radio -  on the Amazon Kindle

Met-rospectives: A Collection of the Greatest Games in New York Mets History
Edited by Brian Wright and Bill Nowlin
Associate Editors: Len Levin and Carl Riechers

I have both print and Amazon Kindle copies of this book.  I contributed 3 articles.

I am certainly keeping busy by juggling these publications.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Some Nice Things About Retirement

Thank goodness I don't have to put up with this any longer.  I received this Tweet from my favorite public transportation agency.

Train service in and out of PSNY is subject to 60-minute delays due to Amtrak Portal Bridge opening. System-wide cross-honoring is in effect with NJ Transit bus and privately operated buses.  PATH is accepting NJ Transit rail tickets and passes at Newark, Hoboken and 33rd St.

I would have been stuck in this delay had a still worked in Newark as I received it at about 4 PM when I normally would have left work.

I had an enjoyable day as I took the NYC subway (no delays today at least) to the Upper West Side and saw the movie What They Had starring Hillary Swank.  I will watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune later this evening followed by a hockey game.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Writing in a Journal Can Help According to the New York Times

There was an article in the Styles Section of yesterday's New York Times titled Writing in a Journal Can Help.  Dr. James Pennebaker of the University of Texas at Austin states it helps to organize an event in our mind and makes sense out of trauma.  It helps improve working memory and in turn, improves the immune system and our moods and even makes us sleep better.

This article does not explicitly mention online blogs, but I would think the same psychology involved in composing a paper journal applies to an online journal such as this one.  It does help me remember places that I have visited over time.  I have learned that I must be careful in what I write here since being online and "Googleable"  anyone can read it.  A paper journal is obviously private.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Anti-Semitism Rears Its Ugly Head Again

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Why is there still all this hatred in this world?  Why is it still legal to own an assault rifle?  Condolences to the families of the deceased.  I wish a speedy recovery to the wounded.

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Morgan Library and Museum Featuring Frankenstein

The last time I visited the Morgan Museum and Library was in October  2006 when it featured an exhibit of Bob Dylan's formative years.  I came back 12 years later as Frankenstein was the featured exhibit since it is the 200th anniversary of the Mary Shelley book. It traces the origins and impact of her novel, which has been constantly reinterpreted in spinoffs, sequels, mashups, tributes, and parodies.

I attended a tour by a knowledgeable docent of the Library.  She gave a description of the architecture of the museum, the library collection, and a biography of J.Pierpoint Morgan.

The other exhibits were:

  • Jacobo da Pontoromo (1494-1557)
  • Drawing in Tintoretto's Venice (1518-1594)
The museum was renovated since my 2006 visit.
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