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 the  Cousin Bruce Morrow jingle.  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.
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