Thursday, January 31, 2019

Random Thoughts of the Day Including the Big Knick Trade.

I was going to write about my January trips to the dentist, but I don't think anyone would want to read about it.

For the first time in 4 days, I did not visit a library today.

I gave up on the Knicks a long time ago as they have won about 20% of their games.  Somehow they sell out most of their games.  I haven't bought their overpriced tickets and will not.  They just made a controversial trade with the Dallas Mavericks.  Please read the report from ESPN.  Right now I am listening to comments made of the Michael Kay Show on ESPN radio.  It seems that this trade is a big salary dump to create enough cap room to sign big free agents in the off-season.  But will they be able to attract Kevin Durant?

The Knick management has made some very bad moves in the recent past.  I have my doubts if this trade will work out in the long run.  I guess in sports risks must be made, but I absolutely no confidence in the management.

It is supposed to get warmer tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Reading 3 More Baseball Books at the New York Public Library

The New York Public Library holds millions of books in its collection, but one must read the books in their reading room.  Today, my goal was to do "causal research" on three baseball books that I located in their catalog.  I obviously don't have the team to read the books from cover to cover, so my goal was to peruse each book and hone in on sections of interest and take a few notes.  I looked at the following books

Nowlin, B. (2008). Red Sox threads: Odds & ends from Red Sox history. Burlington, MA: Rounder Books.

I chose this book since I am acquainted prolific writer with Bill Nowlin through SABR.  This book which Bill compiled over many years tells everything and anything about the Boston Red Sox.  I must congratulate him for his tireless efforts in compiling this reference work.

The other two books generally covered the same topic.

Stein, F. (2005). A history of the baseball fan. Jefferson, NC: McFarland
Dewey, D. (2004). The 10th man: The fan in baseball history. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers.
Both authors stated that the fan gets little attention in the literature.  St. Louis Browns manager coined the term "fan" in the 1880s.  They were earlier known as kranks.  Baseball fans are somewhat older than fans of other sports. But, neither of the books considered other demographic factors among baseball fans. Obviously, baseball fans evolved over the years as the population grew and technology changed.

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Local Public Library is My Park Bench for the Winter

The worst thing any retiree can do is sit home and do nothing and be tempted to turn on the TV and view whatever junky show that is easily found.  I enjoy reading, but when I stay home I can be very easily distracted.  During the warmer months, I can sit in a park or on a bench outside my apartment and read.  Since this is impossible over the winter, I have habitually visited the Mitchell-Linden Branch of the Queens Library.

I always bring in my own reading material since the collection is very small.  I also observe that this book collection is very stagnant.  I think the librarians should weed books that are not circulating and replace them with newer items.  I understand that there are likely budgetary issues, but I think they can do better.  Likely, many books are available electronically.  Very often, I search the library's catalog and request that the book is brought to my local branch.  This service is very reliable.

I am beginning to recognize some of the regular patrons.  There is an elderly woman who comes in with her son and peruses the newspaper.  Today, one man was just looking at his cell phone.  Another person, just sat down and slept with a magazine in his hand.

It is different experiencing the library as a patron.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Georgetown 89 St. Johns 78 at Madison Square Garden

Since professional basketball tickets are so expensive and the New York Knicks are playing very poorly, we decided to see the St. John's Red Storm play at Madison Square Garden.  Today's game was a Big East matchup with the Johnnies playing the Hoyas of Georgetown.

It was a close game in the first half, but the Hoyas pulled ahead later on.  The teams were tied at 50, but a 10-0 run by Georgetown put them ahead for good.  Sharmorie Ponds scored 4 straight points for the Red Storm to close the gap to 2, but the Hoyas pulled ahead to win 89-78.

Mac McClung scored 25 points while Jessie Govan added 20 for the victors.

Game Summary from ESPN.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

2019 SABR Day - Annual Meeting of the Casey Stengel Chapter

Today's panel (L to R) - Art Shamsky, Ira Berkow
Kristie Ackert, and Wayne Coffey

The fourth Saturday is SABR Day when each local chapter holds its annual meeting.  This year the local Casey Stengel Chapter held the gathering at Scandinavia House, the Scandinavian Foundation's Cultural Center.  In previous years the meeting was held at the New York Public Library.  Over 100 people attended.

The main program was "Celebrating the 1969 'Miracle Mets' and Fast Forwarding to the 2019 Team"  Each panelist spoke about their experiences with the 1969 Mets.  Kristie Ackert, a reporter with the Daily News discussed the transactions the team made in the off-season.  Art Shamsky and Wayne Coffey wrote books about the team that will be published in March.

After lunch, Eric Weiss ran his annual trivia contest.  I didn't do very well as I got only 5 out of the 30 questions right.

Since 2019 is the 80th anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame, its president Jeff Idelson gave a talk highlighting its history.  He showed a film that is given to visitors featuring interviews with some of the Hall of Famers.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Random Thoughts of the Day

Only two people responded to my request for feedback on this journal.  Oh well.  

I haven't visited museums in Manhattan lately since I have been driving my newer car around Queens.  Today I played a CD.

For many years I have had an online subscription to SiriusXM which costs about $208/year.  I can hear it on my laptop, Amazon Echo, Amazon Kindle. and my iPhone.  It actually works in my car,  I was given a trial subscription for the car, but I really don't need a second subscription.

I am looking forward to the SABR meeting tomorrow which will feature a talk on the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Mets.  Where did all those years go? 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Polling Readers of Bruce's Journal

I do this once a year to try to get feedback from people who read my journal.  I use Google Analytics and Blogger to get the number of hits, but I'd like to get some feedback whether you read this regularly or just once.

If you'd like, answer the survey.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Academy Award Nominations are In

I certainly go to enough movies especially since I have been retired.  I usually don't write about them in this journal, but I note them in Facebook.  Below is the list of films nominated for Best Picture.

Black Panther
Kevin Feige, Producer

Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele and Spike Lee, Producers

Bohemian Rhapsody
Graham King, Producer

The Favourite
Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday and Yorgos Lanthimos, Producers

Green Book
Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga, Producers

Gabriela Rodríguez and Alfonso Cuarón, Producers

A Star Is Born
Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper and Lynette Howell Taylor, Producers

Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick, Producers

Of the 8 pictures nominated I saw:

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody
  2. Green Book
  3. A Star is Born
Of the 8 only Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born was shown at the local multiplex.  The films that are artistically superior do not attract that many viewers and are not appealing to the owners of movie complexes.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Looking Ahead to the 2019 Baseball Season

The Mets made several trades and free agent signings over the off-season, but how what will be their line-up and how well will the team perform?  It is impossible to predict how injuries will impact the team as it had done in the past.  Let's go around the diamond:

C - Wilson Ramos will be starting with Travis d'Arnaud as the backup.
1B - I doubt if Peter Alonso will be on the major league roster on opening day.  Will Dominic Smith or Todd Frazier start the season there.
2B - Robinson Cano
SS - Amed Rosario
3B - Jed Lowrie with Todd Frazier as backup
OF - Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and Juan Lagares.  With a crowded infield, it is possible that Jeff McNeill will be the 4th outfielder.  When will Yoenis Cespedes return?
SP- Same as last season, but will Jacob deGrom be offered a long-term contract.
RP - Edwin Diaz as closer with Jeurys Familia as the 8th inning man.  Lugo and Gessellman will be in the mix.

Pitchers and catchers will report in a few weeks.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Good Luck Don Tandler

Yours truly with Don Tandler at the Long Island
Radio Day at C.W. Post in April 2010

Don Tandler, in a Facebook post, announced that his duties at NJ105 were reduced on account of financial issues at that station.  He will no longer be doing steady overnight work at the station.  There are few radio personalities like Cousin Bruce Morrow and Howard Stern who can command big salaries.  We rarely think of the people in small markets who don’t make the big bucks.  We also take for granted people like nurses and police who must work overnight.  Don’s working overnights at the radio station certainly took its toll on him physically so at least he relieved of that inconvenience.

Don who is also the owner of the internet station Pop Gold Radio is an advocate of oldies on the radio.  This station plays a good mix of hits from the 50s, 60s, and 70s and features a countdown show every week.  I do listen to it at least a few times a week.

I met him only twice:

  • Long Island Radio Day in April 2010 seen above
  • One of the Oldies Meet and Greets at Ben’s Deli

I speak for all his friends when I wish him all the best in his endeavors in and out of the radio business.  I understand that the radio business is tough, but he has persevered.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Media is Creating the News Again as the Tappen Zee Bridge is Demolished

The demolition of the remnants of the Tappen Zee Bridge which spanned the Hudson River was planned as it was replaced by the Mario Cuomo Bridge.  It was originally scheduled for last Saturday but was postponed until today since it was very windy.  This has been mentioned umpteen time in the media over the past week or so.  Restaurants actually scheduled viewing parties.  I guess they are just trying to make a buck over this event.  The television stations in NYC actually interrupted programming to show this demolition which lasted only 20 seconds.

I guess some people get excited out of viewing a demolition.  Some years back a friend drove from NYC to Philadelphia just to see Veterans Stadium imploded.  Whatever turns you on.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Some Thoughts on Fast Food Restaurants

I have been to most, but not all of the restaurants seen in the photo above.  I also would not classify IHOP, Applebees, Dennys, or Olive Garden as fast food restaurants.

I remember growing up I could go into MacDonalds and get 2 hamburgers, fries, and a drink for less than a dollar.  Now a similar meal costs close to $10.  You can't fight inflation.

Over the past few years, Dunkin' Donuts has deemphasized the donuts.  I believe they are rebranding as just Dunkin's.  I like their breakfast sandwiches.  Some of their restaurants have seats, while others don't.

Noise is often a problem at fast food restaurants as they attract kids of all ages.  A few weeks ago I went to the Arby's in Fresh Meadows where most of the seats were taken by high school kids just hanging out at lunchtime and not purchasing food there.  I  like the thin sliced roast beef and the special sauce at Arby's, but I eat in and like to sit.

Over the last week, I observed twice adults bringing in outside food and taking their sweet time eating and possibly preventing a customer from sitting.  I just think the manager should enforce the no outside food rule and give a time limit for eating.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Random Thoughts of the Day

I am gradually getting acclimated to the newer car. I really like its smooth ride.  The control panel can be confusing and there will have to be a learning curve for me.  I will have to consult the owner's manual.

When I bought the car I had to switch over the insurance.  My agent told me that there is a defensive driving course that I should take to get a 10% discount.  I am now taking it online and should be finished in a day or so.  It is much more convenient than having to sit in a classroom somewhere.  Most of what is discussed is common sense.

Today I drove to the Cinemart Theater in Forest Hills to see On the Basis of Sex.  I must say that it is excellent.  All patrons of this theater received a free bag of popcorn.  This never happened to me in all my years of going to movies.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Picture of the Newer Car My 2015 Chevy Cruze

My Red 2015 Chevy Cruze

Today, I felt more comfortable driving around with it.  I stopped in Crocheron Park in Bayside and spent some time reading the owners manual.  I opened the hood and looked around.  I was quite impressed with the sound system.  Can anyone guess what radio station I played?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Buying Chevys in Forest Hills: 1972 and Today

Today I got a 2015 Chevy Cruze from Sunrise Chevrolet in Forest Hills.  Let’s turn back the clock to April 1, 1972 and examine the parallels between then and now.

In spring 1972 I enrolled as a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island in rural Kingston.  I found out the hard way that is was very hard to get around without a car.  I lived in a room about 1 mile north of the campus and took a bicycle to and from the campus.  That area was very spread out and I was limited to where I could go.  I pleaded with my parents to get a car for me.  On April 1, 1972 my father took me to Luby Chevrolet on Yellowstone Blvd and Queens Blvd in Forest Hills where we bought a 1972 Chevy Nova.

Over the years there had always been a Chevrolet dealership at that location, but the name had changed.  It became Lawrence, then HB and now Sunrise Chevrolet.  So today, almost 47 years later I went with Karen today and picked up a pre-owned Chevrolet Cruze.

Since it was a cloudy, dreary day, I decided not to photograph the new car.  I'll do it tomorrow.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Video about the 2015 Chevy Cruze

This is the longest video that I found on the 2015 Chevy Cruze that I am getting tomorrow.  I just think all the controls are quite complicated, but I'll be able to handle it after a learning curve.  

Friday, January 4, 2019

I Bought a Newer Car Today

Well, I went through with it.  Karen and I went down to Sunrise Chevrolet in Forest Hills and put a deposit for a 2015 Chevy Cruze as seen above.  The actual car that I purchased is red.  It has only 18,000 miles on it, so I think I got a pretty good deal.  Since I am approaching 70 years of age, it is likely the last car that I will ever own.  I will try to do some more driving with it as I averaged only 3,600 miles/ year on my 2000 Chevy Cavalier.  That car owes me nothing as it gave me almost 19 years of reliable service.  The dashboard on this newer car looks much more complicated so there will be a learning curve for me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Random Searching for Videos at the Paley Center

I thought I would visit the Paley Center again today, but I had no specific topic to research.  As I went on the terminal certain random topics came to mind and I viewed the following:

  • A documentary on the 1960 presidential campaign focusing on the Wisconsin primary with John F. Kennedy running against Hubert Humphrey
  • A review of New York City News events of 1958 featuring Gabe Pressman who was the dean of New York TV reporters for many years
  • Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In featuring Howard Cosell on December 18, 1972
  • 20 years of On the Road with Charles Kuralt featuring stories done from 1967-87.  Charles passed away in 1997.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Years Resolution - A Newer Car

My 2000 Chevy Cavalier

I have certainly written a lot about commuting by public transportation over the years.  I actually own a 2000 Chevy Cavalier that I bought as new in April 2000.  In 18 years and 9 months, I have put on only 69,000 miles on it which average to about 3,600 miles/year.  I must say that I had pretty good luck with this car over the years, but it is time for a newer one.  Over the past year, I had to get an oxygen sensor for about $200 and a catalytic converter for about $550.  In recent weeks the car has been making a noise which I suspect means it needs a new exhaust system.  I was going to wait until the spring to look for a newer car, but I certainly don't want to spend money on an exhaust system and then getting rid of the car. I must say that I got my money's worth out of this car.

I have done some "window shopping" online for a few weeks.  Since I do such little driving, I would rather buy a used car since a car depreciates in value during its first year.  Since I have owned only Chevys since my first car in 1972, I want to stick with that brand.  The Cavalier was discontinued some years ago and was succeeded by the Cruze.  I found a 2015  model with low mileage and will be looking at it later this week.

Stay tuned.
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