Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Movie Theaters, The Films They Show and The Prices They Charge

People who read my Facebook account must know that I frequent the College Point Multiplex which is within walking distance of my home.  Since it opened in May 1999 we probably have gone there about 40 times a year for a total of about 700 visits.  Every time we go they add points to my account so I can get a free soda, free popcorn or free admission.  The only problem for me is that most movies they show appeal to a young audience.  I understand that they are trying to make a profit, but I wish 1 of their of their 12 screens be used for independent films.  The bargain matinee price (before 2 PM) and senior citizen price are $11.75.  On Tuesdays, everybody gets in for $8.50 while seniors pay $7.50 on Wednesday.  All too many times I walk out of that complex annoyed that I paid for a film that is just not for me, but it is so close to home.

Today I went to the AMC Bay Terrace which is a 10-minute drive away.  Most of the movies there are the same as the College Point Multiplex, but today I saw The Shape of Water.  The senior citizen price is $11.79.  I could have saved money by staying close to home, but I wanted to see that film which was nominated for several academy awards.  A few weeks ago I took a subway ride to the Kaufman Astoria complex to see the highly acclaimed The Darkest Hour.  This is another good film not shown at the College Point Multiplex.

My favorite theater is the Kew Gardens Cinemas that specializes in independent and foreign movies.  The only problem is that parking in that neighboorhood is bad.  Sunday is the best day to go there.  I think their standard price is $8.50.  A couple of times a year I go over there.

Now that I have more time, I'll have to travel to Manhattan to see movies not shown in Queens.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Former Governor Chris Christie Will Be a Contributor to ABC News reports that Chris Christie will become a contributor to ABC News.  I think if Chris Christie does for ABC News what he did for the state of New Jersey, their ratings will go down.  I may be tempted to throw garbage at the TV set if I see him.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Meeting of the Casey Stengel Chapter of SABR at NYPL Today

Every year on the last Saturday of January the local chapters of SABR hold a meeting.  This is the fourth time that I have attended this meeting at the New York Public Library.  Previously, it was held at the Mid-Manhattan Library, but since it is being renovated it was moved to the Celeste Auditorium of the Stephen Schwartzman Building (Central Research).  This was the second time in less than a week that I returned to my employer from 1983-1990.

Moe Resner who recently wrote a book about the Chicago Cubs told the story of how he threw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field. I just found the Youtube video of it.

Virginia Bartow, a librarian at NYPL, gave a brief talk on the baseball resources in the library and how to find them.  The digital resources can be accessed remotely, while one must come to the library to read the print books.  She also discussed some of the rare materials such as the Spalding Baseball Collection.  She started at NYPL in 1988 when I was there.  Her name was familiar, but I was not acquainted with her.

Radio host and author Ed Randall moderated a panel discussion on the state of the game.  the panelists were:

  • Phil Cuzzi - Major League umpire since 1991
  • Tom Giordano - a 92-year young gentleman considered a legendary baseball scout
  • Art Shamsky - from the 1969 World Champion New York Mets.  Karen, Lee and I met him at Beatlefest 2014 where we took a picture of him.
I'll just mention a few of the comments made.
  • The length of games is increasing because the batters constantly get out of the box.  Replay has also increased the time of games.
  • Since the implementation of replay, there have been less vehement arguments with umpires
  • Art Shamsky is writing a book for the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Mets
Tyler Kepner, a baseball writer for the New York Times, gave his biography stating that he is from Philadelphia and was a sportswriter in several cities before landing at the Times.  He has been the beat writer for the Mets and Yankees and is well-respected.  He answered many questions from the audience.

Baseball historian Jon Springer spoke about Edward Sylvester Nolan who played for the 1884 Wilmington Quicksteps.  He is writing a book about that team titled Once Upon a Team.

Diane Firstman completed the day by discussing the relationships among walks, strikeouts, and home runs and how the statistics have changed over the years.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Visited the Museum of the Moving Image Today

The Museum of the Moving Image has been located in Astoria, Queens for many years but today was the first time that I visited it.  It emphasizes the devices used to generate moving images rather than programming.  Moving images include motion pictures, television, and even video games.  I was surprised to see an area of operating video games that were popular in the 80s and 90s.

They showed older TVs, TV Cameras, and the older manually operated devices to see very primitive motion pictures.  I was impressed with a display with numerous camera views that covered a Mets game on SNY.  There were also many photos of TV and movie actors from the early days.  I was disappointed that the area featuring Jim Henson was closed for today, but there were screenings of several Muppet Shows including Paul Simon, Pearl Bailey, and Raquel Welch.  There were some screens that showed clips of old movies and TV series.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

I Tried Listening to Talk Radio, but Still Don't Like It

I was never a fan of talk radio, but since I am home more often now I thought I would try listening again.  At times I do listen to sports radio on WFAN, but usually, no more than 20 minutes as the callers often repeat themselves.  For the next 2 weeks, everyone will give their opinion about who is going to win the Superbowl.  Yesterday someone referred to one team as the Philadelphia Pigeons.  I sometimes listen to Michael Kay, Don LaGreca, and Peter Rosenberg on ESPN Radio at 98.7 FM.  Too often, they get off on tangents and discuss issues not related to sports.

Yesterday, I sampled Rush Limbaugh on WOR who spent much time talking about the different models of the iPhone and how Apple wants people to keep buying the latest model with all the bells and whistles.  I think that should be discussed on a business talk station like WBBR.  He then went on defending Donald Trump.  So what else is new.  I then turned to WABC and sampled Curtis Sliwa and Dominic Carter.  They were talking Amazon want to open up a new headquarter which could be situated in  New York City or Newark.  They felt that the operations would be almost completely automated and that few new jobs would be created.

I think I will stick to listening to music on the radio.

Monday, January 22, 2018

New York Public Library Revisited

I worked at the New York Public Library Science and Technology Division from 1983-1990.  That division was located in Room 121 in the famous building at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street now known as the Schwartzman Building.  I visited a few times in the early 1990s shortly after I left, but I hadn't been there for at least 25 years.

I wanted to do some research so I looked up the following books in their online catalog:

Thornley, Stew. 2000. Land of the Giants: New York's Polo Grounds. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

McGee, Bob. 2005. The greatest ballpark ever: Ebbets Field and the story of the Brooklyn Dodgers. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press

The Research Library is non-circulating so all books must be read there.  For now, I was more interested in Stew Thornley's book since I have contacted him through SABR and it was not available in a circulating library.  The McGee book is available through the Queens Library.

Sometimes, procedures don't change over the years.  It is still necessary to fill out a call slip and wait for the book to be retrieved from the stacks.  When I submitted the two requests, the clerk said that it would take about 30 minutes to get it.  It actually took 45 minutes.  I can understand that since there are literally miles of book stacks at NYPL and it must take time to retrieve the items and send it to the reading room.  I still remember that I had to cope with irate patrons who were very impatient about getting their materials.

I spent over two hours with Stew's book on the Polo Grounds and was glad that I found the information I was looking for about that stadium.  I glanced at the Ebbets Field book since I can get a circulating copy from the Queens Library.

The reading room was quite busy, but most of the people were using their own laptops and not accessing the library's resources.  One of the roles of a library is to provide a quiet study space, but NYPL provides access to resources not available at other public libraries.

After I finished my research I took a tour of the building to see how it had changed over the past 25 years,  There was a snack bar near the 5th Avenue entrance.  Room 121 housed the Milstein Division (local history and genealogy) since the Science Division moved to Madison Avenue and 34th Street in 1994 and renamed SIBL (Science Industry and Business Library).

I concluded my day by viewing the exhibit Peace Love and Revolution at the Library.  I offered many artifacts from the 1960s including a board with album covers from 1960s artists including Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and many others.  Visitors could press a button to hear various 1960s hits.

It was certainly a productive day.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Big Ten Basketball at MSG Today

Since NBA basketball is very expensive we try to go to several college games every season.  This afternoon we went to Madison Square Garden to see Ohio State play Minnesota in a Big Ten Doubleheader.  At night Minnesota played Michigan State in hockey.

Minnesota jumped out to a 20-10 lead but Ohio State dominated the rest of the way and won 67-49.  They are now 8-0 in conference play and are tied with Purdue for the top spot.

Game Recap

Friday, January 19, 2018

Random Thoughts from a Recent Retiree

I woke up this morning dreaming about encountering in person a Facebook friend I have never met.  I should do an inventory of how many of my 529 "friends" I have never met or only met once.

About a year ago I submitted 3 articles to SABR for a book about significant Met games.  The editor finally sent them to me for revisions.  That editor is really tough, but I have to conform to their style.

It was a little warmer today, so I decided to go out and walk around Alley Pond Park.  I was surprised to see that many of the walkways were icy.  I walked for a mile or so down 73rd Avenue in Oakland Gardens instead.

I went to my small local public library to return the biography of Roy Campanella that I just finished.  I changed gear and found Keith Richard's biography.

When I got home I watched Inning 3 of Ken Burns Baseball on Amazon Prime.  It saved me a trip to the Paley Center.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Baseball is Keeping Me Busy This January

Last year people gave me advised me to keep busy during retirement.  I believe in the cliche "idol hands make for devil's workshop."  A few years ago I joined SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) thinking that once I retired I would step-up my activity.  Recently, I became an editor for the Games Project.  I assign manuscripts for fact-checking.  I have also written up a few games for SABR.  I must say the editors are really tough.  I think I must adjust to writing in the SABR style as nobody edits this journal.

I have read the following two baseball books this month:

Bondy, Filip. 2016. Pine tar game: the Kansas city royals, the new york Yankees, and baseball's most absurd and ... entertaining controversy. New York: Scribner.

Lanctot, Neil. 2012. Campy: the two lives of Roy Campanella. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks

I have also made two trips to the Paley Center where I have watched the first two episodes of  Ken Burns Baseball.  However, Phil Belkin informed me that that series is available on Amazon Prime so I can watch it at home.  There are certainly thousands of other TV shows I can watch when I return there.

The best thing a retiree can say is:  " I am so busy, I don't how I found time to go to work."  I am not quite at that point.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Having the Time to Save Money by Buying Tickets at the Box Office

About 7 years ago in this journal, I suggested that one can save money by going to a box office to buy tickets instead of buying them online and paying a stiff fee.  Since I am now retired, I have the time to do that.  I took the subway to Manhattan and bought tickets at the Longacre Theater for A Bronx Tale.  From there I walked downtown to Madison Square Garden and bought tickets for two college basketball games.  I probably saved at least $50 in fees.  The only bad thing was having to walk through Penn Station and pass by the panhandlers.

Monday, January 15, 2018

There Could Be Commuting Disasters in the Future for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak

I am grateful that my commuting days are over.  I generally check the Delayed on New Jersey Transit Support Group on Facebook which has reported serious delays almost every day this January.  There are also schedule changes in effect as Amtrak is doing rehabilitation work.

The long-term prospects for commuters are frightening as reported in this article in Bloomberg News.  There was serious damage in the tunnels under the Hudson River during storm Sandy in 2012.  There would be a catastrophic situation if one of those tunnels had to be taken out of service.  I just heard that Governor-Elect Phil Murphy has asked for the resignations of about 100 New Jersey Transit executives as he takes office.  Will a change of personnel help the situation?

Crowding can be a pain as the number of passengers at Penn Station has tripled over the past 25 years.  You can see that in the photo above.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Beginning to Write for the SABR Games Project

For readers who are not baseball fans, SABR is the Society for American Baseball Research.  I joined a few years ago and became the record keeper for the Games Project.  Members write summaries of games from the inception of baseball in the 19th century until today.  Since I retired, I decided to do more writing for this fine organization.

About a year ago a member wanted to edit a book about significant games in the history of the Mets.  I volunteered to write a few games.  Today the editor sent back my manuscript for the first Subway Series game played on June 16, 1997.  He said he had to be more detailed.  Now I have the time to work on it.

Last week I wrote and submitted a report of the infamous "Pine Tar Game" on July 24, 1983.  I expect the editor to be tough on me.  I guess as I gain experience in this endeavor I will become more proficient.

When I write this blog there is no strict style to follow, but I must adapt to SABR's writing style.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Every Day is Different in Retirement

When I was working each day was a carbon copy of the one before.  I had to be a strict clock watcher to make my connections to trains.  Obviously, coping with train delays can really be a drag.  I also felt like a robot at work as I did the same job for 25 years.

In my short time as a retiree, I discovered that every day can present a new activity.  The first week was somewhat frustrating since it was bitterly cold with a snowstorm on Thursday.  I used my time to write an article for the Game Project in SABR (Society for American Baseball Research).  My plan was to step up my activity in this fine organization once my working days were over.  I have done quite a bit of reading over the past few weeks including books about Hillary Clinton, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, and Roy Campanella.

My first experience with volunteering on Tuesday was disappointing as I stated in this Journal a few days ago.  I will have to look out for other opportunities that I feel would be more gratifying.

On Wednesday, I saw the movie The Darkest Hour which was about Winston Churchill in May 1940.  Since it was not at my local multiplex, I took the subway to Astoria and saw it at a theater complex there.

On Thursday I went to the Paley Center and viewed Part One of Ken Burn's Baseball series.  Since there are 9 parts to it, I will have to go there once a week until I have seen the entire series.

Today, I will add to the Wikipedia's entry on Cousin Bruce Morrow.  I actually noticed that the entry for him had no information on his early life.  I have his autobiography:

Cousin Brucie:  My Life in Rock 'n' Roll Radio

I will take information from there and add it to the Wikipedia.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What Did I Do When the Internet Went Down?

I woke up at about 5:45 AM and noticed a light flashing on the internet modem.  There was no dial tone when I picked up the telephone which indicated that the internet was out.  I even turned on the TV and there was no cable TV service.  I ate breakfast which I would normally do and then phoned Spectrum which told me that they were aware of the outage.

No TV and no internet, so what did I do?  I read a book from 7:00 AM until 8:45 AM.  Here is the book that I read:

I left the house at 9 AM and took a ride out to Cunningham Park.  When I returned at 11 AM, the internet was back.  I survived.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

My First Volunteer Job Was a Big Disappointment

Note - I will not name any of the agencies involved here.

I did decide a long time ago, that when I retired, I wanted to do some volunteer work.  When one volunteers for a project, there is no monetary compensation, but there should be a sense of satisfaction when the task is complete.

I signed up for XXX which has assignments all over New York City in a  wide variety of endeavors.  After attending a webinar, volunteers are free to search for work in their database.  I found one opportunity in Long Island City which was Computer Preparation with YYY, an organization whose digital learning platform enables teachers to collaborate with their colleagues and enlist families as learning partners in order to truly personalize learning for students. The expression "Computer Preparation" was somewhat vague, but I thought it would involve some knowledge of software or hardware

I went to their warehouse which had hundreds of desktop computers in boxes which I assume will be distributed to schools.  All they wanted the volunteers to do was to take the  LED monitors out of the boxes and clean off the dust.  Was this job necessary as the amount of dust was minimal and would not impede the operation of the monitors?  I spent about 2 1/2 hours doing this very menial task and just couldn't wait to leave.

I would certainly never return to YYY's warehouse again as I really want to leave a volunteer job with a real sense of accomplishment.

Monday, January 8, 2018

We Celebrated Elvis Presley's Birthday Today

Elvis would have been 83 years old today had he lived.  We'll never know what music he would have produced if he lived beyond 1977.  He could have collaborated with recording artists in different genres.  On his birthday, we always play a CD of his since Lee is the biggest fan among the Slutskys.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Two Original Byrds: Chris Hillman and David Crosby Have New Albums

The original members of the Byrds formed in 1964 were:

  • Roger McGuinn
  • David Crosby
  • Chris Hillman
  • Gene Clark (now deceased)
  • Mike Clark (now deceased)
There were many personnel changes in the group, but McGuinn stayed with the group until it eventually disbanded.  The individual members of the group were prolific recording artists for many years,

Today as I was reading the latest issue of Goldmine Magazine  I found out that both Hillman and Crosby have recently released new albums as seen above.  These two guys have been recording for over 50 years.

Bidin' My Time by Chris Hillman which was produced by the late Tom Petty includes appearances by Roger McGuinn and David Crosby.  It is the closest thing to a Byrds reunion.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Cabin Fever is the Lesser of the Two Evils

The only way to cure cabin fever is for the weather to get warmer.  The forecast indicates a warming trend for early next week, but the weekend is to be extremely cold.  This means that I will have to stay home and entertain myself.  It is the lesser of two evils as at least I don't have to worry about train delays.  I saw on the news this morning that New York Transit is experiencing 30-minute delays.  Many of these problems are caused by frozen switches in this bitterly cold weather.  I should be grateful that I don't have to experience that any longer.  Waiting in the bitter cold for a bus is another bad experience.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

My First Snow Day as a Retiree

This lousy weather has made my first week as a retiree somewhat unhappy.  I was hoping to go to Manhattan to take advantage of some of the cultural offerings of NYC, but this cold weather has caused me to stay home.  Today is even worse as there is a snowstorm with 6-8 inches expected with heavy winds.  NJIT is closed today so even if I was still working I wouldn't have to travel to Newark.

Yesterday, I met Facebook friend Alan Reiman in Forest Hills for lunch.  He is a radio enthusiast and told me some anecdotes.  From there I went to my dentist for a routine cleaning.

On a snow day there is nothing to do but stay home.  I will do some reading.  I sure hope this miserable cold and snowy weather will end.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Random Thoughts at the Beginning of the Year

I am one of the millions of people who are coping with this bitter cold weather.  Yesterday we stayed home and watched the outdoor hockey game at Citifield with the Rangers facing the Buffalo Sabres.  Out of curiosity I checked tickets for this game and found out that the cheapest ticket went for $119.  There was a complete sellout of hockey diehards who were willing to brave the elements.  The Rangers won 3-2 in overtime.

Today is the first working day of 2018 and I am not going to work.  I worked for over 40 with the last 25 at the same employer, so I think I am entitled to some rest and relaxation.  The summer of 1982 was the last time I was unemployed so I have worked consecutively for 35+ years.  So I don't have to worry about train delays and inconsiderate passengers who block the doors.  No more sitting at a reference desk like a statue and waiting for questions that will not come.  I am no longer caught in the middle of a bitter feud between two managers.  That really made my last months of working very unpleasant.

Today, I am going to the Ridgewood Bank to make arrangements to withdraw money from the IRA that I have there.  Most of my retirement money will come from TIAA whom I will call today to make sure that everything is set.  I need a little more time to determine what volunteer opportunities to pursue.
Personal-Journals blog