Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year to Readers of Bruce's Journal

I wish all readers of my journal a happy and healthy 2020.  It is a little frustrating not knowing who reads my postings regularly or only once.  I get very few comments, but it is the nature of the internet for people to be anonymous.  Blogger and Google Analytics provide counts of people who read each entry, but I rarely know my writings' impact on people.  Perhaps some think I am a "nut".

See you next year.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Trump Eroding Role of Science in Government

I don't remember if I ever mentioned this here, but I have bachelor's and masters' degrees in chemistry.  Throughout my career as a sci/tech librarian, I always admired and respected the work of scientists and engineers in all disciplines.  Much research of the years has been supported by the federal government.  I quite dismayed this morning as I read in the New York Times the article stating that in three years the Trump administration has diminished the role of science in federal policymaking.

To quote from the article "Political appointees have shut down government studies, reduced the influence of scientists over regulatory decisions and in some cases pressured researchers not to speak publicly. The administration has particularly challenged scientific findings related to the environment and public health as opposed by industries such as oil drilling and coal mining."

I was aghast at the way Trump mocked Greta Thunberg as she was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year.

This attitude toward climate change and the work of research scientists must be reversed.  The only way to do this is to elect his opponent in November 2020.

Stand up for science!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Overkilling Announcements on Facebook

Yesterday, radio personality Don Imus passed away at age 79.  Within an hour I must have seen at least 100 announcements of his passing on Facebook.  How many times must this be done?  It is OK if the poster includes some unique information or perhaps an aircheck.

I moderate fan pages for Cousin Brucie and Harry Harrison and decided to delete posts on those pages about the passing since Imus's radio career had nothing to do with Harry or Brucie.  Readers of those pages heard the announcement on other areas of Facebook.

Imus's "mitzvah" was his donations to charities.  He was very popular on WNBC, WFAN, and WABC, but I never listened to him since his style was not "my cup of tea."  Condolences to his family and friends.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Today's Visit to the Jewish Museum

Sculpture by Rachel Feinstein
The clock actually works

I hadn't been to the Jewish Museum since April when I saw the exhibition about Leonard Cohen.  Obviously exhibits at all museums change, so I thought it was time for a return visit.  The exhibit on the first floor was titled Rachel Feinstein: Maiden, Mother, Crone organized by Kelly Taxter, Barnett and Annalee Newman.  It features three decades of this contemporary artist's work in sculpture, painting, and video, as well as a panoramic wallpaper.

Moving up to the second floor we saw Edith Halpert and the Rise of American Art.  She was the first significant female gallerist in the United States.  In 1926, Halpert opened the Downtown Gallery in New York City, the first commercial art space in Greenwich Village.  The exhibit featured modern and folk art works shown in her gallery over the years.

Finally, the third floor featured Selections from the Collections.  I was impressed by the various Hanukkah menorahs that were shown.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Chanukah Song by Adam Sandler

There are so many Christmas songs out there, but this is the only secular song that I know that celebrates Chanukah,

Monday, December 23, 2019

Special Version of the Limbo Rock Mentioning the WABC DJs in 1962

The Limbo Rock was a big hit for Chubby Checker in Fall 1962.  It is still played at parties.  I vaguely remembered a version of it where Chubby mentioned the WABC radio personalities at that time.  I sent a request to Jon Wolfert who hosts a show on Rewound Radio where he features oldies and radio station jingles.  It is heard Sundays from 3 PM to 6PM.  I sent him a query about that version.  He played it for me on yesterday's show.  I especially thank Charlie Menut who recorded it and sent it to me.

Special WABC Version of Limbo Rock

Original Version

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The First Two Years of My Retirement Journey

It is hard to believe that it is now two years since I retired.  I have not read the book whose cover is featured above, but I do believe in its premise that retirement is a journey.  For me, the journey usually comes in one-day adventures.  Sometimes the daily adventure is planned while it also can be an impulsive activity.  Some activities are repetitive when others are one-time events.  When I retired, a very heavy burden was taken off my shoulders.  I no longer have to work at a position that I didn't enjoy during my last years.  There are no more bosses who like to assert their managerial muscles by dominating their subordinates. Commuting delays are a thing of the past.  I have received the precious gift of time to do what I want.

  • Reading - I have read tons of books over the past two years.  In the summer months, I sit in parks and read while in the winter I often bring my reading material to the local public library where I don't have to worry about bean counters and scatterbrains.  I also have visited research libraries look up books on baseball and pop music.
  • Traveling - over the past two years I have visited:
    • Pittsburgh
    • Tulsa, Oklahoma
    • Phoenix
    • Seattle
  • Museums - my favorite museums (in no particular order)
    • Whitney
    • Museum of Modern Art
    • Metropolitan Museum of Art
    • Paley Center for Media
    • Brooklyn Museum
    • Jewish Museum
    • Guggenheim Museum
  • Movies - I regularly go to the local multiplex which usually screens mass appeal films.  I have often traveled to Manhattan to see independent films aimed at a niche audience.
  • Bob Dylan- I organized a group that has met once so far at NYU.  Hopefully, this group can be sustained.  I attended the research symposium at Tulsa, Oklahoma.  There were concerts at the Beacon Theater in November 2018 and 2019.
  • Music - I have more time to listen to umpteen internet radio stations and to SiriusXM.  I have probably bought more CDs than I really need.  You got to keep me away from Amazon.com 
  • Baseball - I had time to attend more Met and Yankee games.  I am also active in the Society for Baseball Research (SABR) by coordinating fact-checking for the Games Project and indexing articles from the Biography Project.
  • Hiking - I have spent a couple of hours a day walking through parks in Queens.  These walks are almost therapeutic.
My most pleasant surprise in retirement concerns finances.  I am actually saving money and not having to worry about taking on another job to make ends meet.  My savings through TIAA and my bank IRAs really worked out.  My best advice to younger readers is to plan ahead for retirement.

Tomorrow is another day and another adventure.


Thursday, December 19, 2019

My Back Pages - Concert Version

This was posted on Youtube in March 2017.  I don't know the date or place of this performance.

Michael Moore Predicted Trump's Impeachment in 2017

In April 2017 filmmaker Michael Moore predicted that Donald Trump would be impeached in an article in Vanity Fair magazine.  However, he thought it would happen in his second term, but as we all know it happened late in his first term.  I just found out that he was sitting in the front row in the House Gallery during the impeachment vote.

This entire episode is sad since it will further polarize the nation as indicated by the partisan votes on the two articles of impeachment.  It is likely that all Republicans will vote for acquittal in the Senate which will make Trump happy and more confident.

It will be a very contentious campaign between Trump and the eventual Democratic nominee.  Trump's actions during his presidency have been disgraceful and hopefully, he will be defeated in  November 2020.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Retirees Don't Like Rainy Days

On most days I like to take a brisk walk in a park in Queens, but you can't do that on a rainy day.  It is also an inconvenience to take a bus and subway into Manhattan to enjoy a cultural activity.  Thankfully, I don't have to worry about mass transit delays getting to work.  Nobody likes sitting in the apartment and watching TV all day.  So what can I do?

  • I'll read for a while as I have plenty of books and magazines on my shelf
  • I can spend a little time watching TV.
  • Most likely, I'll take my umbrella and walk over to the local multiplex where the prices are reduced on Tuesdays.  Even if it's a crappy movie, I'll get out of the apartment for a few hours.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Afternoon at the Whitney Museum

A Painting by Roy Lichtenstein seen today at the Whitney

Since I was last at the Whitney in June to see the Biennial exhibit, I thought this would be a good time for a return visit as most of the exhibits have changed over the past 6 months.  We started out on the 8th floor where we saw an exhibit featuring video performances of Jason Moran, one of today's leading jazz innovators.  The 7th floor included selections from the collection from 1900 to 1965 where I saw the Lichtenstein above.  Making Knowing: Craft in Art. 1950-2019 on the 6th floor showed how visual artists explored the materials, methods, and strategies of craft.  The exhibit on the 5th floor featured the works of contemporary artist Rachel Harrison.  The exhibit incorporated room-size installations, autonomous sculpture, photography, and drawing.

Going to a museum kept me away from the TV set on a Sunday afternoon.  I would have watched the football Giants who even won today 36-20.  I am just not that much into the winter sports, anyway.

Friday, December 13, 2019

I Watched the DVD of The Last Waltz Today

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down 

I felt that instead of reading today, I should look into my DVD collection and see a movie that I hadn't seen in a while.  I chose The Last Waltz which was directed by Martin Scorcese.  Back in November 1976, the Band did a concert at Winterland in San Francisco to mark the end of the group.  It also included performances by:
  • The Staples Singers
  • Van Morrison
  • Neil Diamond
  • Neil Young
  • Bob Dylan
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Eric Clapton
The Band did reform some years later without Robbie Robertson.  Sadly, Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel passed away later on.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Random Thoughts of the Day

So Gerrit Cole is getting $324 Million over 9 years which is $36 Million a year that equates to about  $1 Million per start and $10,000 per pitch.  Does this guarantee the Yankees will win the World Series?  Of course not.  Will Cole stay healthy for the 9 years of his contract?  Let's take a look at some long term contracts where the player lost significant time to injury:

  • David Wright
  • Giancarlo Stanton
  • Yoenes Cespedes
  • Jacoby Ellsbury
I am sure there are many others.

I went to the Paley Center for Media  to view some videos of Elton John since I just bought his biography.  For once, the cost of the print book was less than that of the Kindle edition.  When I searched the holdings I found a radio interview of Elton with Pete Fornatale in 1970.  I also found interviews with Pete interviewing Simon and Garfunkel and Carole King.

Back in September, I attended a function concerning archives of Pete's interviews coming to the Performing Arts Library of NYPL.  Three months later these archives are still not accessible at NYPL.  When I visited them I was given the name and email of the person who is the archivist.  Periodically, I have emailed her and she responds that there are technical problems about getting the archives online.  I think they should not have had the "celebratory" gathering until the recordings were available to the public.  There is no urgency on my part to hear them, but I think it is poor public relations on part of NYPL to have this function when the new unique resource is not yet available.

Monday, December 9, 2019

The Select Bus Service Machine Ate Up My Metrocard

I used to have a blog completely devoted to my commuting problems when I commuted from Queens to Newark.  I stopped adding to this blog when I retired in December 2017.  I no longer ride on New Jersey Transit, but I still ride on MTA buses and subways for my leisure activities.

Last Saturday I took the Q44 which is part of the select bus service program.  Riders must insert their Metrocard into the machines seen above and receive a printed ticket as proof of payment.  It saves time since the bus driver does not have to wait for riders to dip their Metrocards.  Occasionally a fare inspector will ask riders for their slip to ensure they have paid.

After I inserted my reduced senior citizen Metrocard into the machine, I received a ticket, but it ate up my Metrocard.  When I got to the Main Street Station I had to buy a full-fare card to get on the subway.  Today I phoned the MTA and reported this incident.  The person I spoke to said that this type of incident does occur.  I will have to wait about 3 weeks to get my senior citizen discount card.

Oh well. 

Anyway, I am writing this for Gregory Wolf who loves to read about my commuting problems.  He is an excellent baseball writer and editor for SABR (Society of American Baseball Research).  By the way, I was on the way to see St. Johns University Basketball at Madison Square Garden.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Musical Tribute to John Lennon

Empty Garden - Elton John
All Those Years Ago - George Harrison
Here Today - Paul McCartney
Roll on John - Bob Dylan

Saturday, December 7, 2019

St. Johns 70 West Virginia 68 at Madison Square Garden

Since it is prohibitively expensive to go to professional basketball games at Madison Square Garden, we go to a few college games there every season.  The Knicks are awful as their record is 4-18 and just fired coach David Fizdale.

The game with St. Johns facing West Virginia in the Holiday Festival was pretty even most of the way with the score tied at 36 at half-time.  At one point in the second half, the Red Storm took a 10 point lead but the Mountaineers tied it up at 68. Rasheen Dunn hit two free throws for St. Johns with 5 seconds to go as the home team won,

The Garden was less than half full. I guess college basketball is not that popular in NYC.  St. Johns has not been nationally ranked in several years and has not had an impact player that gave the program national attention.  Also, there were some West Virginia fans in the stands, but I think there would have been a bigger crowd if two NYC area schools were playing.

Game Recap

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Thoughts on Impeachment

I usually don't comment on politics, but here goes.  During a common criminal trial, the judge asks prospective jurors if they can be objective.  Jurors must hear both sides of the argument as to whether the accused is innocent or guilty and make a decision that must be unanimous.

Impeachment is synonymous with an indictment and does not remove the president from office.  The full House of Representatives votes on articles of impeachment.  A majority is needed to impeach the president.  The representatives will not be objective since all Democrats will vote for impeachment.  Since the Democrats have a majority, impeachment is likely.

After a president is impeached, he must stand trial in the Senate where a two-thirds majority is required for removal from office.  The Republicans have a 54-46 majority in the Senate.  Every Democrat plus 21 Republicans would have to vote to convict resulting in removal from office.  This is not going to happen.  Trumps's impeachment will be a historical footnote.

It is my opinion that the Electoral College should have been abolished years ago as it is a relic of the early days of our republic.  Hillary Clinton had 3 million more votes than Trump but lost the elections since Trump had an electoral majority as he won "battleground states" with small majorities.  A constitutional amendment is required to abolish the Electoral College.  It is a very difficult process described in this document.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Gathering of Bob Dylan Enthusiasts on the Upper West Side

Selfie of Your Truly at today's luncheon

There have been yearly Meet and Greets of oldies enthusiasts for many years as documented in this journal.  For the first time to my knowledge, there was a gathering of Bob Dylan enthusiasts at a restaurant.  Most of the people were from out of town as they made a trip to NYC to see one or more of the 10 Dylan concerts at the Beacon Theater.

Nancy Cobb organized the event that was held at the Tessa Restaurant on Amsterdam Avenue at 77th Street which was within walking distance of the Beacon Theater.  The conversations were not completely about Dylan.  One man discussed why he thought Trump would win a second term.  Most of the people were at least  60 years old.  Everyone stated that the concerts on the current leg of the Never Ending Tour were excellent.

Nancy took a few photos of the entire group.  When she posts them, I'll will add them to this journal entry.

The Group at the Tessa Restaurant

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Miami Heat 109 Brooklyn Nets 106 at Barclays Center

View from my nosebleed section seat

This was the first sporting event that we have attended since the end of the baseball season.  Professional basketball and hockey tickets are very expensive, so I have to seek at a bargain, but including the fees, it was $65/ticket to sit upstairs.  

It was a close game from the start as neither team had more than an 8 point lead.  Kyrie Irving missed his 9th game in a row, so the Nets were shorthanded.  Spencer Dinwiddie led the home team with 29 points, but that just wasn't enough.  The Heat scored the last 10 points as they won 109-106.  The Nets are now 10-10 while the crosstown rival Knicks are now 4-16.  This could be a long season.

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