Monday, December 31, 2018

Random Thoughts on New Years Eve


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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 29, 2018

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

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

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

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Voting for My Top Hits


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

Mike Riccio, Tom Natoli, and others over the years have taken great time and effort to compile and honest listener poll of their favorite hits. I thank them for their efforts. Many polls by radio stations are adjusted to eliminate songs that don't fit their format.   The Top 100 its voted this year may be found at  https://www.musicradio77.com/voting2018.html.  Links to results from other years may be found on the Oldies Board.

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


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

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Random Thoughts on Christmas Day

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 24, 2018

Yesterday's Visit to the Museum of the Moving Image


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

Listings of other exhibitions at the museum may be found at http://www.movingimage.us/exhibitions/

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

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Reflections on My First Year of Retirement

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

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

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


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

Friday, December 21, 2018

Bob Dylan's Never Ending Tour Will Continue in 2019


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

Thursday, December 20, 2018

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



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

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Today's Visit to the Cooper Hewitt Museum


Float Concept Vehicle at the Museum

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

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


I have included two photos, but others may be found at https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/visits/bmjcp/

Monday, December 17, 2018

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


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

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

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

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

Here is what another Dylan fan
looks like.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Brooklyn Nets 144 Atlanta Hawks 127

View from our seats in the
nosebleed section

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

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

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


Mark Wade Trio and Roberta Piket Perform at Flushing Town Hall



This is a previous performance at Flushing Town Hall

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

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

Friday, December 14, 2018

5 Visits to Libraries in 4 Days


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

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

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Hot Stove League is Heating Up


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

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

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

Monday, December 10, 2018

Doing Recreational Reading about the Pacific Coast League at NYPL


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

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

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

I read parts of the following books:

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

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

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

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




Saturday, December 8, 2018

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

Lee in Front of Elvis Presley

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

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

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


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

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)
(encore)
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.


 
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