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.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Beautiful Boy - Excellent Movie with the Wrong Title

Today I was grateful that I am retired and don't have to go to work and put up with managerial nonsense. I had a dentist appointment in Forest Hills late in the morning and from there I walked over the Kew Gardens Cinema to see Beautiful Boy starring Steve Carell.  As I have said many times in this journal I often go to this theater to see movies that appeal to older audiences that are not shown at the local multiplex.

This film showed the experiences of a family coping with the problems involved with the drug addiction of a young adult.  It was based on dual memoirs of David Sheff (father played by Steve Carell) and Nic Sheff (the son played by Timothee Chalamet).

I always associated the phrase "Beautiful Boy" with the John Lennon song from the album Double Fantasy.  John sings to his son Sean who was only 5 years old.  Nic Sheff was at least 18 years old in the movie.  There were about 30 seconds of the song in the film.  For that reason, I thought a different title should have been used.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

SABR Keeps Me Busy in Retirement

I can't spend all my time at museums, movies, and libraries, so much of my time at home is devoted to SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) specifically the Games Project.  Here are two short articles that I am submitting for the Committee's forthcoming newsletter.

The Baseball Index

The Baseball Index is an ongoing project of a SABR Committee  now chaired by Andy McCue formed to locate, identify, evaluate, classify and describe the literature of the national pastime.  Currently, it includes over 250,000 records of books, articles, book sections, and other materials and is continually updated.  At the recent Pittsburgh meeting, I offered to index SABR Games Project articles so they may be added to the database.  The database is searchable by keyword and includes the teams involved and subject terms from a controlled thesaurus assigned by the indexer.  At the end of September, I had indexed 600 games.  I hope to complete the 1178 games already posted by the end of 2018.  I would then update the database monthly with the new submissions.


Earlier this year I assumed the role of coordinator of fact-checking.  I receive the manuscripts from Len Levin after he edits them.  I do many but also distribute to the following contributors:
·         Kevin Larkin
·         Brandon Lewis
·         Tom Brown
·         Jack Zerby
·         Mike Huber
·         Sheldon Miller

I am pleased to report that only a few corrections are needed.  I thank all the SABR members who fact-check the submissions.  After the fact-checking is complete, the articles are submitted to Mike Huber who sends them to Jacob Pomrenke for posting.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Random Comments of the Day

I never know when Bruce's Journal will have an impact on someone else.  Back in 2012, I purchased a biography of Paul Reed who played Captain Block on Car 54 Where are You.  A writer contacted me since he wanted to find out if there was any relationship between Paul Reed and the entertainer Sid Caeser who was popular in the 1950s.  He needed to get some information from that book which is now out of print.  When he phoned me, I was able to read to him some excerpts which confirmed there was a minor relationship between the two entertainers.  The next time I go to the Performing Arts Library of NYPL I will look up a few books on Sid Caeser.

Today we drove over to the Kew Gardens Cinema to see Robert Redford in the Old Man & the Gun.  It seems that all of the movies at the local multiplex are just suited for a younger audience.  However, whenever we go to Kew Gardens there is always a problem with finding a parking spot or navigating through the narrow 2-way streets.

I am working on indexing articles for the Baseball Index, a service of SABR.  I try to index about 10 articles a day.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Viewing WMCA and WABC Radio Seminars at the Paley Center

The Paley Center is certainly a treasure of radio and TV shows.  They also archive the seminars they hold there as well.  Back in 1998, there was a seminar featuring the WMCA Good Guys who were DJs when the station played hits in the 1960s.  As the camera panned the audience I saw some people that I know. .
  • Alan Berman (may he rest in peace)
  • Kevin Sealey
  • Rob Frankel
  • Alan Seltzer
  • Mary Shaw
 I attended that seminar but didn't see myself in the audience

There was a similar seminar in 1985 featuring the late Rick Sklar with the WABC DJs who were there when it was a Top 40 station.  Sadly most of them have passed away.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Serendipity at the Met Breuer Museum

The big Metropolitan Museum of Art has a few satellite locations including Met Breuer at Madison Avenue and 75th Street, the former home of the Whitney Museum.  A New York State resident can be admitted for whatever amount he/she wants to pay.

The first exhibit I visited was called Everything is Connected: Art and Conspiracy.  When I got off the elevator there were large murals of Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby.  It included 70 works by 30 artists in various formats that explore the hidden operations of power and the symbiotic suspicion between the government and its citizens that haunts Western democracies.  There were several photographs of Henry Kissinger of all people.  Anyway, as you can see above there was a work by John Miller of the Wheel of Fortune with Pat Sajak and Vanna White.  It doesn't fit in with the theme of the exhibit, but it was the highlight of the day for me.  Apparently, John Miller drew more paintings of game shows as indicated in this press release.  I am going to see if I can find out more information about this.

The second exhibit was Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture, 1963-2017.  Whitten's sculptures, which he first created in New York and later at his summer home on Crete, consist of carved wood, often in combination with found materials sourced from his local environment, including bone, marble, paper, glass, nails, and fishing line.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Randy of Randy and the Rainbows Passes Away from a Heart Condition

Photo of Randy Safuto at
the Nov 2017 Meet and Greet

I found out from reading Don Tandler's Facebook feed that Randy Safuto of Randy and the Rainbows fame passed away.  This report from Vintage Vinyl News stated that he suffered a heart attack last May, so I am assuming that a heart condition was the cause of death.  

He spoke to the group at last year's Oldies Meet and Greet and was very friendly to everyone.  My condolences to the family.

Monday, October 15, 2018

I Researched Beatles Producer George Martin at the Performing Arts Library of NYPL

On an impulse, I decided to research Beatles producer George Martin at NYPL.  It certainly beats suffering through a New Jersey Transit delay.  I found this marvelous book that answered all my questions:

Martin, G. (2002). Playback: An illustrated memoir. Guildford: Genesis.

Since this was a rare book with only 2000 copies signed by the author it was held in the Special Collections of the Research Library

He was born in 1926 and self-learned music.  He actually wrote his first musical piece at age 8.  He later attended the Guilford School of Music.  He entered Abby Road studios in 1950 when he produced classical music for EMI.  In addition, he produced the recordings of the London Baroque Ensemble and later made children's records for the HMV label.

He first met Brian Epstein in February 1962 when he signed the Beatles to EMI/Parlophone after several record labels rejected them. In June of that year, he rejected Pete Best as the drummer and hired Ringo Starr.  When he recorded Please, Please, Me in 1963 he realized that this group was going to be something special.

Other groups, he recorded included:

  • Cilla Black
  • Billy J. Kramer
  • Cilla Black
  • Shirley Bassey
  • Gerry and the Pacemakers
  • The Fourmost
  • Neil Sedaka (later in his career)
He admitted that his biggest mistake was to record Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever as a double-A side.  With 20/20 hindsight George felt that those two songs should have been included on the Sgt. Pepper album.

I could have spent hours reading this book and taking notes, but I had to skim through much of the book.  There were fantastic photos of the Fab Four that I had never seen.

I also listened to an album called  Off the Beatle Track, a collection of instrumental versions by the George Martin Orchestra.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

I Supported WFUV Today

I have been a loyal listener of WFUV since the early 1990s.  When I listen I never know what they will be playing.  They are not bound by the formatics of commercial radio stations.  I am only familiar with some of the artists they play.  I increased my monthly donation from $12 to $15 so I also receive a digital subscription to the New York Times in addition to the yearly CD that is offered to subscribers.  Keep up the good work!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Happy Birthday Cousin Bruce Morrow

The video as seen above is Cousin Bruce Morrow on WABC radio in the 1960s.  I salute him today which is his 83rd birthday.  I hope that all of us are as active and vibrant as he is when we reach that age.  He is heard on SiriusXM 60s on 6 Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings and sounds as great as ever.  This show has brought him to a national audience.

Happy birthday, Cuz and many many more to you.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

All About Steve - Good Cast but Poor Movie

It was a rainy day so instead of going to the local multiplex, I stayed in and watch a movie on HBO from 2009 called All About Steve.  I was attracted to it by Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper who are excellent actors.  The movie was quite silly as the Bullock character worked for a newspaper writing crossword puzzles.  She was set up on a blind date with the Bradley Cooper character (Steve) who worked as a cameraman for a nation TV new network.  She was fired and then stalks Steve as he covered stories over the country.

At least I didn't have to pay to see it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Red Grooms and Michael Moore all in 1 Day

Early in September, I read an article in the New York Times about an exhibition about the pop artist Red Grooms coming to the Marlborough Contemporary Gallery on West 25th Street.  In preparation for my visit, I did some research about him in the New York Public Library last week which I reported in this journal.

Grooms is best described as an interpreter of American pop culture.  This exhibit covers a sample of his works from 1955 to the present. I perused through three of his exhibition catalogs at the library but I especially enjoyed seeing his 3-dimensional works at the gallery.  My favorite work was a  view in the Strand Bookstore at 12th Street and Broadway.  There was also a picture of Roger Clemens with the Yankees, but he was wearing uniform #10 which belonged to Phil Rizzuto and was retired.

From there I took the subway uptown to the Lincoln Square Cinema at Broadway and 68th Street.  Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 11/9 was only showing at a few theaters so I wanted to see it before it went away.  He made many caustic observations about the presidential election of 2016, actions of Donald Trump before and after the election, the water supply situation in Flint, MI, and the general political situation in America today.  Some critics felt that it is Moore's best work.  I enjoyed it, but just felt it could have shortened a bit due to some redundancies,

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Working on SABR's Baseball Index Project

When I was at the SABR annual meeting in Pittsburgh I found out about the Baseball Index Project,  It is an ongoing effort to catalog all baseball literature. The Baseball Index is a database for finding out what has been written on any baseball subject, from the earliest days of baseball to the present.  I have to take "all" with a grain of salt as it is impossible for any database to be absolutely exhaustive.  Even in baseball, there must be much grey literature and ephemera that are difficult to locate.  Currently, the database includes over 250,000 articles.

I volunteered to index about 1000 articles from SABR's Games Project.  I have written 5 articles for them and coordinate the fact-checking for articles that were submitted an edited.  I have already indexed 600 articles and will finish this phase of the project in about 6 weeks.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Steven Green - Facebook Friend of the Day

Some months ago I reported that I have never met about 150 of my 530 Facebook friends, but today I met radio enthusiast Steven Green for the first time after seeing his posts on Facebook and various radio message boards.  I would usually post his picture in this journal entry, but there is a cat on his Facebook page.  I supposed Steve is camera shy.

Steve lives in Austin, Texas but visits NYC for extended visits.  Since he will not be here in November I met him in Manhattan at Ben's Deli for a mini Oldies Meet and Greet,  He is a walking encyclopedia on oldies music and oldies radio stations both on the air and on the internet.  He recommended a few internet stations that I did not know.  He is an avid collector of radio airchecks on tape.  I wonder how he finds the time to listen to them. It would take him countless hours to digitize them.  Last week he appeared on Bob Radil's 60s 70s show.

After we finished lunch we took a little walk downtown and sat down in a plaza by Madison Square Garden and kept talking.  Steve is also a big Mets fan and talked about several games from the 60s and 70s.

It was a very pleasant afternoon.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Phone Was Ringing off the Hook Today

Both the cell phone and the landline phones were ringing off the hook today.  Some of the calls were important, while others were just nonsense.  It was just one of those days.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Researching Pop Artist Red Grooms at NYPL

In 2004 when the family visited Nashville to see the country music attractions we also stopped by to visit the Frist Art Museum where we saw an exhibit of the works of Red Grooms.  A few weeks ago I saw one or two of his paintings at MOMA in Manhattan.  Since I am now retired and have more time I decided to do some research on him at the Art and Architecture Division of NYPL.

I located three items in the library's online catalog and submitted call slips at their reference desk.  One must have the patience of a saint to use NYPL as it took 1 hour for me to retrieve the materials I requested.  I understand that there are miles and miles of stacks, but a 1-hour wait is quite excessive. I am guessing that they cut their help.  I found out that materials can be requested in advance.  I will obviously do that the next time I use that division.

All of the items were exhibition catalogs, but one had significant textual material that gave biographical information about Grooms who was born in 1937 and is still living.  He was born in Nashville but later moved to NYC.  Many of his works were multimedia including the one of  Fats Domino seen above.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Mets 1 Marlins 0 as a Contingent from the 60s70s Show is in the Stands

It was closing day at Citi Field as the Mets faced the Miami Marlins.  For several years Karen, Lee and I have gone to the final game of the season but today we were joined by the host and two distinguished listeners of the 60s 70s Show heard on Friday nights on Rewound Radio joined us.  Bob Radil, Mary Ellen Brown and Ira Sonin watched the game from section 515.

Noah Syndergaard pitched a 5-hit shutout improving his record to 13-4.  The hitting highlight was an RBI double by Todd Frazier.  In my opinion, it should have been caught by left fielder Isaac Galloway.  Thus, the Mets finished the season with two 1-0 victories over the Marlins.  At least today's game was completed in 9 innings while last night's game with a tribute to David Wright lasted 13 innings.

This ends a very disappointing season for the Mets who finished with a record of 77-85 which was an improvement of last season's record of 70-92.  In both seasons the team was plagued by injuries.  they won 33 of their last 55 games. but it was too little, too late.  Let's see what play moves management makes in the off-season.

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