Thursday, December 31, 2020

Problems Will Not Go Away as the Calendar Changes

New Year's Day is always an optimistic time as we all hope that next year will be better.  2020 was a terrible year for all as COVID-19 has claimed about 350,000 lives to date in the United States.  Millions have been sickened by this dreadful disease as unemployment has devastated the country.  Civil unrest and political polarization also dominated the headlines in 2020.

The problems that I briefly discussed in the previous paragraph will not go away as the calendar turns to 2021.  The experts say that the COVID situation will get worse before it gets better.  I was optimistic this summer as the numbers went down, but there was a resurgence in the fall.  Thankfully, vaccines were developed and are being distributed.  This process will be slow as hundreds of millions of Americans will have to be vaccinated.

We can hope that as more receive the vaccine, the numbers of deaths and hospitalizations will go down.  I pray that sometime in 2021 the numbers will be minimal, and we can return to "normal".

My best wishes for a happy, healthy, and safe new year for all readers of Bruce's Journal.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Sneak Peek of The Beatles: Get Back - A Documentary Directed by Peter Jackson


This documentary covers the making of The Beatles' 1970 album Let It BeIt would have been released by now, but it was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  According to Wikipedia the release date will be in August 2021.  It was produced with the fullest cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and Olivia Harrison.

I viewed this preview and was pleased to see footage never released to the public.

Green Green Grass of Home by Tom Jones - Country Crossover Hit of the Day


Once a week I like to listen to Willie's Roadhouse on SiriusXM, a station that plays classic country hits.  This morning DJ Charlie Monk played Green Green Grass of Home by Tom Jones.  This hit peaked at #11 on the Billboard Pop Charts in 1967.  This song was covered by many artists over the years.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Last Days of John Lennon - A Beatle Book with a Misleading Title


The death of John Lennon was in the news recently as 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of his murder.  James Patterson is a prolific writer best known for his fictional works.  When I saw the announcement of this book, I presumed the entire book was devoted to the days leading up to his murder.  I started reading the book and noted that it was a history of the Beatles from the Quarrymen days to 1970 and of John Lennon as a solo recording artist.  Between the chapters describing the history of the Beatles, there were small chapters describing the events of December 6-8, 1980 starting when the murderer (I refuse to write his name) boarded a plane in Hawaii with his gun in his suitcase intending to murder Lennon.

Almost all of the material describing the Beatles is common knowledge to long-time fans.  There are very long bibliographies for each chapter which shows Patterson's book was well researched.  Less than 20% of the book is devoted to John's murder and the events leading up to it.  Eyewitness to the Death of John Lennon: A WABC-TV special provides more information on the tragic event.

This book is only suited for a very casual fan of the Beatles and John Lennon.  I would not recommend it for avid Beatle fans.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Marrakesh Express by Crosby Stills and Nash - Random Oldie of the Day


I always enjoyed Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young) as a group and as individual performers.  I just saw a documentary about the group on Amazon Prime Video.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Reflections after 3 Years of Retirement

2020 has been a difficult year for everyone.  Karen was in the hospital for 12 days in April suffering from COVID-19.  Recovery has been difficult for her.  Many cultural institutions including movie theaters are still closed limiting recreational activities.  Libraries are open with limited services.  I feel very badly for those who have suffered from the disease and those who were economically affected by the pandemic.

I have taken my hobbies to a higher level over the three years.  I have spent much time in activities with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).  I certainly spend much more time reading books about baseball and music.  I certainly have attended many Zoom meetings over the past year.  The New York Giants Preservation Society headed by Gary Mintz would meet only a few times a year.  Recently, this organization runs Zoom meetings almost every week.  I meet monthly with Bob Dylan enthusiasts on a Zoom Meeting.

I am disappointed that my contacts with former colleagues have been minimal.  A click on Facebook or Twitter indicating one likes my post is not keeping in touch which should be a two-way street.  It is frustrating when I don't get a reply to a friendly e-mail.  I have come to the conclusion that out of sight out of mind supersedes keeping in touch.  I guess I must move on and let go of the past.

I am pleased that my finances are in very good shape.  I am actually saving money every month.  I planned very well through TIAA for a good retirement income supplemented by Social Security.  I hope in the future I can take vacations.

I hope for the best for everyone.


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Another Sad Story about a Business Closing Due to the COVID Situation

Thousands of businesses in New York City including bars and restaurants have closed in 2020 due to the COVID situation.  I just decided to give an example - Finnerty's Sports Bar on 2nd Avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan. It is unique since it appeals to fans of San Francisco sports teams.  The New York Giants (Baseball) Preservation Society held several meetings there.  Below is a message that the owners sent to their customers.


To our friends and supporters,

We hope you all are staying healthy and safe during these unprecedented times!

We are reaching out today to let you all know that we have had to make the sad decision to permanently close Finnerty’s.

We are gutted.

The last 11 years have gone by so quickly and we can barely believe it.

We still remember how proud we were when taking down the roll down security gate during opening renovation, making us one of the only bars in the area without one. We believed in the East Village and the neighborhood proved us right year after year. We thank you and hope you stay strong!

We always wanted to be a great sports bar but we never imagined we would become a home for Bay Area fans and expats living on the East Coast . What started as a small group of 49er fans on Sundays became something bigger than the bar itself.

Getting to host thousands of fans for playoff games, World Series trophy visits, and the decade of bus trips to Giants, Sharks, Warriors, and 49ers games has been one of the greatest and craziest honors imaginable. You are the best the fans in sports and getting to meet so many of you throughout the years has been our great privilege.

While shutting down operations in March 2020 due to Covid was one of the hardest things we’ve ever made, we knew it was the right decision for the safety of our staff and customers.

The pandemic striking the city just days before St Patrick’s Day and March Madness was a huge blow to us during what is typically our busiest month of the year.

Even with this, we still hoped to eventually reopen in some capacity. But unlike so many other catastrophes we have made it through, this was one disaster that forced people apart rather than together, and one that struck the heart of our industry.

Even in the best of times, the realities of the bar and restaurant industry in New York City make surviving, let alone prospering, a difficult undertaking. As lucky as we’ve been before, we weren’t immune to these realities this time.

The pandemic, along with being unable to reach an agreement with our landlord, forced our hand. There just wasn’t any way forward for us.

That being said, aside from our community, saying goodbye to our staff is the hardest part. Anyone who has been to Finnerty’s knows that we have a small and dedicated team that made Finnerty’s the special place it was for our customers. Finnerty’s wouldn’t have been Finnerty’s without them.

As disappointed and sad as we are at having to close our doors, all the emails, texts, tweets, letters, and phone calls wishing us well and offering us support have meant the world to us. It is still almost inconceivable to us that a little bar in New York City touched so many people both down the block and across the country.

While this is the end of Finnerty’s for now, we truly hope to share a drink with you all again soon. We’ll keep the bell polished and ready to ring again.

Stay strong, stay kind, and look after one another!

Dieter Seelig & Brian Stapleton

Owners of Finnerty’s

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Chad Stuart Passes Away at 79


Yesterday's Gone by Chad and Jeremy

Sadly another recording artist of the 1960s is gone as I found out today that Chad Stuart, part of the duo Chad and Jeremy passed away at age 79.  Above is a video of the duo Yesterday's Gone that hit the charts in 1964.

There is a good article in Goldmine Magazine written by Dave Thompson about Chad and Jeremy.  This includes an interview conducted in 2003.

Comments about Bruce's Journal

I have maintained Bruce's Journal for over 15 years and have over 700,000 hits over that time.  I assume that most of the hits are causal as people will read a posting quickly and move on to something else on the internet.  I always wonder how many people reading this blog know me either in person or online.  When people read the journal do they look at several entries at a sitting or just one?  Let me try to categorize the subjects of the journal:
  • Oldies Music
  • Radio Broadcasting
  • Baseball (general)
  • New York Mets
  • Bob Dylan
  • Current events
  • Career issues
  • Museum Trips
  • Jeopardy
  • Movies
I try to avoid writing about politics although there are a few political posts here and there.  I often try to avoid giving people's names out.  For example, I would say Clarence who worked at my former employer.  I try not to get too personal as most of my posts are hobby related.

A few times I posted surveys asking for feedback, but there were very few responses.  I always appreciate comments, but I doubt if I'll get any.

To all my readers:

Have a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

Friday, December 18, 2020

McCartney III Comes Out Today


50 years after the group broke up the 2 living members of the Beatles are still recording.  Today McCartney III was released.  I ordered my copy from Amazon who said I will receive my copy tomorrow.  In the video above Paul discusses his new CD with Jimmy Fallon.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Virtual Symposium for Bob Dylan's Birthday is Planned for May 22-24

The Institute for Bob Dylan Studies at the University of Tulsa just announced a virtual symposium in May for Dylan's 80th birthday.  Plans everywhere have to be modified to the COVID-19 situation.  It would have been nice for this event to be in Tulsa, but nobody knows what the situation will be in May.  No details were announced, so I don't know if the Bob Dylan Museum will be open at that time.

I thank in advance Sean Latham, Tara Aveilhe, and many others for their hard work in planning this event.  They certainly did an excellent job for the symposium in 2019.


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Sad News in New York Radio: Rita Houston, Program Director of WFUV, has Passed Away at Age 59


About a week ago I wished Rita Houston well as she was taking a leave of absence from WFUV to take care of her health.  Today it was announced that she passed away after battling cancer for 6 years.  An obituary was written by Program Director Chuck Singleton.  I started listening to her shows in the 1990s when she first joined the station.  WFUV will never be the same.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Saw the World's Largest Menorah as we visited the Southeast Corner of Central Park


We may as well enjoy mild December weather as there is the possibility of two winter storms this week.  We took the subway to Fifth Avenue and 59th Street to see the world's largest Channukah menorah.  We were there at about 2 PM, much too early to see the lighting for the fourth night.  We then walked around Central Park;

The Plaza Hotel is across the street from the menorah

Getaway by Georgie Fame - Random Oldie of the Day


I look back at many of the postings that I've written over the years and noted that many Youtube videos with songs were deleted.  I assume that since copyright was violated the "Youtube Police" finally caught up to the poster and deleted the video.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Are Restaurants Being Scapegoated as the Cause of the Rise of COVID-19 Cases?

Yesterday we ate lunch at Ben's Deli in Bayside which may be our last meal in a restaurant for a while.  For several months in New York City restaurants have been open allowing for 25% capacity.  As predicted the COVID-19 cases have risen as people are spending more time indoors since the weather is colder.   The Governor announced that if the number of hospitalizations rises, restaurants will be open only for take-out.  In my opinion, the main cause of the rise of COVID-19 is caused by gatherings in people's homes.

A limit of 25% capacity allows for social distancing.  Obviously, people eating must take off their masks while they eat, but diners are several feet away from other customers.  When one enters a restaurant the body temperature is measured.  Restaurant employees thoroughly clean the facility several times a day to prevent the spread of the virus.

It is very sad that thousands of restaurants across the country have closed permanently as a result of lost business.  More will close when indoor dining is shut down in the near future.


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Newark Penn Station to Be Renovated at a Cost of $190 Million - But it is Much Too Late For Me


Newark Penn Station was one of my least favorite places when I commuted from 1992-2017.  There was a report on the news today that $190 Million is being allocated for upgrades and repairs.  It is hard to believe that it 3 years since I took my last ride on New Jersey Transit.  I had to walk through that station to pick up the Newark Rail and my last leg on my trip to work.  I worst thing about Newark Penn Station was the derelicts hanging out here.  I just hated waiting for the train back to NYC on Track 1.  NJ Transit never did anything about that problem.  They would never send social workers to try to help the homeless.  Will anything change after the renovations are completed?

Monday, December 7, 2020

Bob Dylan Made the New York Times Today


It was announced today that Bob Dylan sold his songwriting catalog for $300 Million to the Universal Music Publishing Group.  According to the article:

"Dylan’s deal includes 100 percent of his rights for all the songs of his catalog, including both the income he receives as a songwriter and his control of each song’s copyright. In exchange for its payment to Dylan, Universal, a division of the French media conglomerate Vivendi, will collect all future income from the songs."

Of course, this has generated discussion in the Dylan Facebook groups.  I think it is an issue of estate planning.  Dylan has two ex-wives, and several children and grandchildren.  By selling his catalog the funds from this sale among other assets will be distributed among his heirs many years from now after his passing.

There is really nothing to be alarmed about.  If a company wants to use a Dylan song in a commercial it will have to get permission from the Universal Music Publishing Group.  I am a little concerned about decisions that will be made about issuing unreleased recordings after his passing.

Two more accounts of this sale:

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Yet another Bob Dylan Book

I guess when I don't listen to Bob Dylan, I read about him.  I really should compile a list of all the books that I have at home about him.  I subscribe to a Dylan fanzine from the UK called Isis that was discussed in this Journal.  Derek Barker, the publisher of this periodical has compiled an encyclopedia of songs that Dylan didn't write, but did perform in concert or on a legal or bootleg recording.  The entries detail the history of 550 songs and offer an explanation of how he came to perform them.

Volume 1 as seen above was published in 2008.  Derek has just issued a supplement adding songs performed from 2008 to the present.  Reading these 2 volumes should keep me busy for a while.  I can read it a little at a time while I pay attention to other books and magazines that I have on my shelf.

Legitimate albums that have these songs include:
  • Self Portrait
  • Good as I've Been to You
  • World Gone Wrong
  • Bob Dylan (his first album released in 1962)
Many bootleg collections that include conert performances are listed.


Friday, December 4, 2020

Best Wishes to Rita Houston of WFUV


Radio Online reports that Rita Houston will be taking a leave of absence from WFUV to attend to her health and spend more time with her family.  Rita started out as an on the air personality at the station in the early 1990s and was promoted to Music Director and then to Program Director.

Assistant Program Director Eric Gottlieb will become interim Program Director while Delphine Blue will host Rita's Friday evening show "The Whole Wide World."

I became a regular listener to WFUV about the same time Rita started there.  I speak for all the station's listeners in wishing her all the best and hope she returns soon.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Oy Vey - The COVID Situation Looks Very Bad


I just read the following in the New York Times:

The number of Covid-19 patients in U.S. hospitals exceeded 100,000 for the first time, nearly double the peak from the first wave in the spring.

The experts were correct in predicting the second wave in the fall.  I assume the reason is that people are staying indoors where it is easier to spread the virus.  I assume there is also "pandemic fatigue" when people are tired of wearing masks and social distancing.  At least, a far smaller proportion of people who get the virus these days are dying from it.

On the positive side, the vaccines will start to be distributed later this month.  It will take several months for the vaccines to be distributed to all who want it.  There is the fear that people who refuse the vaccine will contract the disease and spread it to others.

Hopefully, there will not be a "pause" as that will create problems such as domestic violence since people would be frustrated by having to stay home.  Likewise, more businesses would close permanently.

Let's hope for the best.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Sylvia's Mother by Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show - brings back memories of the early 1970s


This song reminds me of a friend of mine in the early 1970s who was the world's biggest mama's boy.  When I phoned him, his mother would intercept the calls.  His mother wouldn't let him have a TV set since it would interfere with his studying.  When he got married at age 23, it was like changing mothers as his wife would intercept his phone calls.

Enough said.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Speculation about the Next Host of Jeopardy


An article by Randee Dawn lists the following contenders for the future host of Jeopardy:

  • Ken Jennings
  • Tom Bergeron
  • Alex Faust
  • LeVar Burton
  • Laura Coates
  • Anderson Cooper
  • Betty White
The article gives a short bio of each and the rationale of why each is a good candidate for the job.  Thus, it is not necessary to repeat it here.  Brooke Burns who is my favorite is not listed.  We know that Ken Jennings will be an interim host, but at this time it is not known who else will be given an audition.

Of the 7 listed above, I feel that Anderson Cooper is the best suited as he is scholarly and has appeared on the celebrity version of Jeopardy.  I predict that Ken Jennings will get the job permanently as he has always been popular with the show's audience.  He will just need some training in public speaking since he never hosted a TV show whereas the others are either actors, newscasters, or sportscasters.

Stay tuned.

Please feel free to answer the following survey.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

MOMA at PS 1 Revisited

I last visited this branch of MOMA in July 2019.  Thankfully the museums in NYC have re-opened but with the COVID numbers increasing they could close again.  MOMA at PS 1 is a small museum, but since it is in Queens it is a short subway ride on the #7 Train.

There was one major exhibit open on the first floor called Marking Time: Art in the Age of Incarceration.  It explores the work of artists within US prisons and the centrality of incarceration to contemporary art and culture.  I must assume that the artists featured had their talent before they entered prison, but it is possible that some learned how to draw while they were incarcerated.  Below are three works of art that caught my eye.

It is evident that this was drawn this year

Friday, November 27, 2020

2020 Anniversary Mix of All Things Must Pass by George Harrison


Here we go again, the 50th anniversary of a significant album is coming up.  This is certainly my favorite release from a former Beatle that I purchased in vinyl in 1971 with my allowance money.  For now, a remix of the title track has been issued.  This means that a boxed set will be released in 2021 with alternative versions and outtakes.  I'll have to decide if I will purchase this.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Random Thoughts of the Day


I have been perusing some older posts of this journal that had YouTube videos.  Many of them were taken down since I posted them years ago.  I assume that they were posted illegally since they violated copyright law. 

I still think that very often the media creates the news:
  • There was much ado on The Today Show as they did a story on how Meghan Markle suffered a miscarriage.  Do Americans really care about this?
  • There was a mention that today would have been the 60th birthday of JFK Jr. who tragically died in an airplane accident in 1999.  Is this of interest to news hounds?
  • The media made much ado about the owl that was found in the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.  Someone even created a Twitter account for the owl.  I guess some people have nothing to do.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Jeopardy News - Ken Jennings will be the First Interim Jeopardy Host


On Wednesday, November 18 I raised some questions about the future of Jeopardy.  A few of them were answered.

  • There will be reruns in the weeks of December 21 and 28th.  This makes sense as people will be busy with the holidays and away from their TVs.
  • Alex Trebek's last week will be aired from January 4-8.
  • Ken Jennings will be the first interim host beginning January 11.
Here are some questions:
  • How long will Ken be the interim host?
  • What other people will serve as interim hosts?  Steve Harvey, Brooke Burns, and Joey Fatone come to mind as they are currently hosting game shows, but will an actor, newscaster, or former athlete appear as an interim host?  There is an online petition for Levar Burton to be the host.
  • Will the time as an interim host be an audition for the permanent host?
  • Who will be the permanent host and when will he/she assume the position?
Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

An Evening of Song & Stories with Chris Hillman


This YouTube video is about 1 hour and 19 minutes long.  I am leaving it here as a reminder to watch it when I have time.  Likely, I will have to listen to it in 2 sittings.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Time Between: An Autobiography of Chris Hillman Best Known as a Member of the Byrds


I am writing this review as  I am reading it on the Amazon Kindle.  I have completed about 75% of it and will finish it by tomorrow. Chris is best known for being a member of the Byrds.  He was members of several other groups:

  • Desert Rose Band
  • Manassas
  • McGuinn, Clark & Hillman
  • Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen
  • Souther-Hillman-Furay Band
  • The Flying Burrito Brothers
  • The Hillmen
I have followed his career since The Byrd's famous cover of Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man in 1965.  I really think he didn't the recognition he deserved in that group since they were 5 excellent musicians.  When most people think of the Byrds Roger McGuinn comes to mind.  He stayed with the group until the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album in 1968.  I had the pleasure of seeing him in concert at New York's Town Hall celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sweetheart of the Rodeo.

The book is an autobiography written without a ghostwriter.  Chris is very candid as he outlined his personal and professional lives.  Some consider him one of the fathers of country rock. I never read a book or article where a musician was critical of some of his own work.  I enjoyed two of his songs on The Byrds, a reunion album of the five original members issued in 1973 (Things will be Better and Borrowing Time) but Chris stated he didn't like them.

I found out much about Chris that I didn't know even though I've heard his music for over 50 years.  I didn't know that his father was Jewish and committed suicide when Chris was young.

I highly recommend this book for all fans of folk, folk-rock, country, and country-rock music.  Here are a few other relevant websites:

Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn, and Marty Stuart singing Time Between
on the Sweetheart of the Rodeo Anniversary Tour.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

What is the Future of Jeopardy?


Nobody can replace Alex Trebek as the host of Jeopardy, but someone will eventually succeed him as the host of Jeopardy.  I am certain that by now the producers of the show have privately had discussions.  Will the next host be "grandfatherly" as Alex was, a younger man, or a woman.  There is an online petition to appoint Levar Burton as the host.  Some people think Ken Jennings should be the new host. I proposed Brooke Burns as she has experience as the host of two quiz shows that have featured Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer.

Jeopardy shows with Alex as host were pre-recorded until October 29 and will air until Christmas Day.  There are options for the producers:

  • Air reruns until a permanent host is appointed
  • Make someone an interim host until a permanent successor is found
  • Give applicants trial runs as host as part of their interview
  • Appoint a permanent host immediately
Some viewers equated Alex with Jeopardy and may not watch the show again.  We will have to wait and see what will happen.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Bicycle Safety Should Be a Serious Issue


The number of bicycles on the street has grown tremendously in 2020 likely since people are afraid of contracting COVID on public transportation.  The National Safety Transportation Administration (NSTA) reported 857 death of bicyclists in 2018.  Obviously, cars must watch out for cyclists, but bicycle riders watch out for cars and pedestrians.  I am a driver of a car and a pedestrian as well and have observed carelessness on the part of all.  When I walk along a sidewalk I can see bicycles coming from the other direction, but can not even hear a bicycle behind me.  On a few occasions a bike almost him me.  Here are some guidelines from NSTA:

  • Drive with the flow, in the same direction as traffic.
  • Obey street signs, signals, and road markings, just like a car.  - I rarely see cyclists stop for red lights
  • Assume the other person doesn’t see you; look ahead for hazards or situations to avoid that may cause you to fall, like toys, pebbles, potholes, grates, train tracks. - Do cyclists look out for pedestrians on sidewalk?
  • No texting, listening to music, or using anything that distracts you by taking your eyes and ears or your mind off the road and traffic.  - When a cyclist is listening to music through headphones, he is essentially deaf to any other noise.  I have also seen cyclists looking at their phones.
Let's hope that cyclist, pedestrians, and drivers use common sense.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

American Folk Art Museum Revisited


Since I hadn't visited the American Folk Art Museum near Lincoln Center since April 2019, I thought it was time for a return visit as the exhibits change.  This museum only shows works from artists who are self-taught so don't expect anything from Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, or any other well-known artists. It is a small museum, but there is no admission charge.  Patrons are encouraged to give a small donation.  All museums in NYC require advance reservations so that social distancing among patrons is enforced.

There were two major exhibitions:

  • American Perspectives: Stories from the American Folk Art Museum Collection
  • Six Decades Collecting Self-Taught Art: Revealing a Diverse Artistic Narrative
Below are two works that I will feature in this entry

Self-Portrait of Luke Haynes (b.1982)

Since the subject of this portrait is wearing
a tape measure around his neck,
I am guessing that he is a taylor

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