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.
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