Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Lunch at Ellen's Stardust Diner

Every year we like to take Lee to a Broadway show for his birthday on March 28.  This year we decided to see Tina - The Tina Turner Musical.  It is very convenient to buy theater tickets online, but of course, Ticketmaster adds a very big fee.  Karen and I decided to travel to Manhattan to buy the tickets at the Lunt-Fontaine Theater to avoid the fee. 

After buying the tickets we decided to go to Ellen's Stardust Diner for lunch.  Back in June 2006 the first Oldies Meet and Greet was held there for the first anniversary of the dreaded format change at WCBS-FM.  Whenever we passed by there after seeing a Broadway show, there was a long line for people trying to get in.  Since it was a Tuesday afternoon and no matinee performances we were able to walk right in.  Ellen's is unique for its singing waiters and waitresses.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Radio Legend Harry Harrison Passes Away at Age 89

It was just reported that Harry Harrison has passed away at age 89.  His New York radio history goes back to 1959:

  • 1959-68 WMCA 10AM - 1 PM
  • 1968-1979 - WABC - Morning Drive
  • 1980-2003 - WCBS-FM Morning Drive
  • October 2004- May 2005 WCBS-FM Saturday morning show.
Harry always cared about his listeners.  When we turned on the radio in the morning, we knew we were listening to a true friend.  Morning radio just hasn't been the same since he retired.  Around 2007 I started a Fans of Harry Harrison page on Facebook.  There are now 2380 members including his daughter, Patti.  She always advised us of how he was doing.  Thankfully, he lived to experience his induction into the Radio Hall of Fame last November.  I always remember the photo where Patti and her Patrick were ear to ear smiles as they posed with their Dad.

My fondest memory of Harry was in May 2001 when he announced Lee's Bar Mitzvah during the Harry Harrison Birthday Book.  We played the recording of it during the reception.  The following letter that Harry posted after the tragic death of radio friend Alan Berman in 2013.

My sincere condolences to Patti, Patrick, the entire Harrison family, he fans and colleagues in the radio business.  His memory will certainly be a blessing.

Meeting of NYC Bob Dylan Fans Wednesday February 19 at 6 PM at NYU

The New York City Bob Dylan Discussion Group will hold its second meeting on Wednesday Night February 19th from 6 PM – 8 PM at NYU.  Lawrence Kaplan will bring a set of DVDs of a variety of Dylan concert performances called Through the Years.  As a group, we can pick and choose, stop and discuss the performances and the songs.  I am sure there will be spirited conversations.

the 8th Floor Commons Room of the East Building of NYU located at the intersection of Greene Street and Washington Place in Greenwich Village.  Please send me your name if you plan on coming since I need to send all the names to security a few days before the meeting.  You will also need to show a photo ID to show the security guard.

The meeting will be held in the 8th-floor commons room of the East Building, which is 18 Washington Place in Greenwich Village, New York, NY 10003.  Please bring a photo ID to show security.  You will walk through a student center to the elevators where there will be another guard and then take the elevators up to the 8th floor.  Please tell me if you will be going as security will need a list of names.  I thank Sal Fallica of NYU for making these arrangements.

My email is

Monday, January 27, 2020


Today I am praying for Harry Harrison, his daughter Patti, and son Patrick as she asked for prayers on the Fans of Harry Harrison page on Facebook.  She asked to respect their privacy, but I think it is safe to assume that Harry was taken ill.  I wish him a full and speedy recovery.

I also from the family, friends, and fans of Kobe Bryant who was tragically killed in a helicopter accident near Los Angeles.

I found this photo on Twitter.  A similar tribute to Aretha Franklin was done when she passed away.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

2020 SABR Day

For my readers who are not baseball fans, SABR is the Society for American Baseball Research.  Like many professional societies, it is a national organization with local chapters.  The New York City chapter is known as the Casey Stengel Chapter to honor the man who played or managed with the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, and Giants in New York City.  Every year on the last Saturday of  January each chapter has a meeting.

Today's meeting was held at the Scandinavia House at Park Avenue and 38th Street.  The morning program was a panel discussing:

The Babe’ As You Never Knew Him –  One Hundred Years As A New York Yankee

The panelists were:

  • Marty Appel Premier New York Yankees Historian
  • Mike Gibbons Director (1983-2017) of the Babe Ruth
  • Birthplace and Museum Bill Jenkinson Legendary Consultant and Researcher on George Herman “Babe” Ruth

Much has been said about the Babe over the years, but I always find more out by reading and attending panel discussions about him.  The topic was chosen for 2020 as it is the 100th anniversary of his becoming a Yankee after the infamous sale of his contract by the Boston Red Sox.  Below are some notes that I took during the discussion:
  • Marty Appel was a pallbearer at Claire Ruth's funeral in 1976
  • Babe used a 50 once bat in 1914
  • Pictures were shown of Babe's teams at the St. Joseph's Home for Boys in Detroit and St. Mary's in Baltimore.
  • The speakers felt that the movies that were made about Babe were terrible.
  • Babe Ruth promoted integration in baseball years before Jackie Robinson broke the color line.  Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis was against integration, but the efforts by Branch Rickey commenced after his death.
  • Recently $5.4 Million was paid for a uniform worn by Babe
  • Babe signed more baseball than many other players of his era.
Tyrone Brooks, Major League Baseball's  Senior Director of the Front Office and Field Staff Diversity Pipeline Program was the afternoon speak.

He discussed his career in baseball working with several clubs in a variety of positions over the years.  In his current position promotes the hiring of women and minorities to executive and managerial positions in baseball.

I had the pleasure of meeting Brian Wright who was the editor of Met-rospectives: A Collection of the Greatest Games in New York Mets History (The SABR Digital Library).  I worked with him as I contributed 3 articles about specific games to this book.

I bought a copy of Mets in 10s: Best and Worst of an Amazin' History that Brian authored.  He will be issuing another book about the Mets in March titled The New York Mets All-Time All-Stars: The Best Players at Each Position for the Amazin's

It seems that every time I go to a meeting I buy a book.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Stew Thornley Speaks to the New York Giants Preservation Society

Yours truly with Stew Thornley

I have been acquainted with Stew Thornley's baseball expertise from my activity in SABR.  Stew lives in Minneapolis but is very familiar with the New York Giants and the Polo Grounds.  I originally thought tonight's talk would focus on this book:

The Polo Grounds: Essays and Memories of New York City's Historic Ballpark, 1880-1963 (McFarland Historic Ballparks)

He did discuss this, but his talk turned out to be a "mixed bag" of his many interests in baseball.  I did not take notes at the meeting so I'll list some of the points he made.  Most of the talk was devoted to answering questions from the audience.
  • He knew much about the Minneapolis Millers that was a farm team of the New York Giants in the 1950s.  There was some speculation back then that the Giants would move to Minneapolis, but of course, that never happened.
  • He spoke about Metropolitan Stadium, also known at the Met, where the Twins played after the franchise moved from Washington, DC.   The minor league Millers played there from  1956 until the Twins came.  That stadium was built to try to attract a major league team to come there.  He said that the people in Minnesota did not have much "affection" for the Washington Senators.
  • There was some discussion of the strange dimensions of the Polo Grounds and Willie Mays catch in the 1954 World Series.  One gentleman in the audience attended that game.  Many of the people in the audience have attended games there.  I went to two games in 1962-3 with my dad to see the Mets.
  • Stew spoke of his experiences as an official scorer for the Minnesota Twins.  He is on the MLB Official Scoring Advisory Committee. He is in NYC for their annual meeting at MLB Headquarters.
Stew Speaks to the audience

You Must Have the Patience of a Saint When You Come to the Motor Vehicle Bureau

I received a notice that my driver's license was up for renewal.  This, of course, necessitates a trip to the motor vehicle bureau. Fortunately, there is an office in College Point within walking distance of my home. Now there is an enhanced license (permit, or non-driver ID)  a New York State DMV issued document that you can use instead of a passport to return to the US by land or sea from Canada, Mexico and some countries in the Caribbean.  To get this enhanced license one must bring a birth certificate, social security card, and other proof of address.

I arrived at 1:00 PM and noticed a long line outside the building.  At 1:45 PM a got into the building and was directed to a line to have my photo taken.  I was given a number and told to wait.  I waited and waited until 4:45 when my number was called.  The clerk examined my documents and gave me a quick vision exam.  I was finally done at 5:00 PM.

At least I will not have to do this for another 8 years.  Keep in mind that if you have to go to the Motor Vehicle Office, you need the patience of a saint.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Seniors Should Watch Out for Scams

At age 70 I am a senior citizen whether I like it or not.  I am aware that older people are especially vulnerable to scams.  I get tons of emails every day that I immediately delete since they are obviously spam that makes phony offers.  Very often these emails circumvent the filter provided by the email service.  Thankfully, I have caller ID and ignore calls when I don't recognize the number.  If the call is important, a message will be left on my voice mail.

I found this website 10 common financial scams that target seniors.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Blowin' in the Wind by Dolly Parton

Blowin' in the Wind is certainly an appropriate song for Martin Luther King Day.  It has been covered numerous times over the decades, but I never heard the Dolly Parton version. I thank Laura Tenschert who mentioned it on her Definitely Dylan radio show.  She also mentioned that Dolly wanted Bob Dylan to do a duet with her, but he refused.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Listening to Radio Interviews at the Library for the Performing Arts at NYPL

Last September there was a Tribute and Retrospective of Pete Fornatale at the Library for Performing Arts of NYPL.  It was announced that the archives of Pete Fornatale's interviews were donated to NYPL and would be available for the public.  Apparently, the staff who run the events were not aware that the recordings needed to be processed before they could be made available for public listening.  I kept in touch with the curators of the archives for a few months who advised me of the progress of their availability.  Today a curator was very helpful in setting up a terminal so that I could hear some of the recordings.  Let me describe what I heard.

I was especially interested in hearing the Roger McGuinn updates that were broadcast on WNEW-FM and K-Rock.

  • I first heard a recording from April 22, 1989, on WNEW-FM when Pete and Roger talked about Earth Day.  Roger, Peter Yarrow, Richie Havens, and others performed later that day at Exxon Plaza to support environmental preservation.  He also said that he was not pleased with the quality of the Byrds CDs that Columbia Records released.  Keep in mind that at that time CDs were new and record companies were transferring the music from analog to digital.
  • The next Roger McGuinn update that I heard was in 1990 celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Byrds.  He talked about a benefit concert for Roy Orbison when Bob Dylan joined him in singing Mr. Tambourine Man.  At that time he signed a solo recording contract with Arista Records.
  • On October 4, 1992, Roger appeared with Pete on the Sunday Show heard on K-Rock.  He discussed his forthcoming appearance (October 16) at the 30th Anniversary concert for Bob Dylan later called the Bob Fest.  He also talked about his Back From Rio album released at that time.
  • The earliest Roger McGuinn update that I heard was from March 6, 1982, on WNEW-FM.  He had toured with former Byrd Chris Hillman at that time but decided to end that effort.  He had no plans to record at that time.  However, he was still performing and was scheduled to appear at My Father's Place on Long Island.  He talked about the Byrds' recording of Mr. Tambourinine Man that became a number 1 hit.  He played it in the studio.  Roger played acoustic versions of several songs on the 4 recordings that I list here.
I heard a brief interview with Pete of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel that was broadcast on WFUV in 1966.  At that time Paul said that The Dangling Conversation was his favorite song.  Please keep in mind that it was 54 years ago when he said that.

I heard a recording from the 1980s of Pete's interview Cynthia Lennon as she discussed how she found out about John's death,

Finally, I heard two interviews (August 3, 1982, and February 11, 1990) with Al Kooper.  He talked about his relationship with Bob Dylan.  He played in Dylan's backup band at Newport, Forest Hills and the Hollywood Bowl in 1965.  He played on the New Morning album in 1970 but didn't hear from Dylan for several years after that.  In my opinion, Al Kooper is a remarkable musician who should have received more recognition.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

I Blame Brodie Van Wagenen and the Wilpons for this Fiasco

Any job interview should be an honest exchange between the hiring manager(s) and the candidate.  I obviously don't know what transpired when Carlos Beltran was interviewed by the Mets' management, but he should have been grilled about the situation with the sign-stealing accusations with the Astros.  Everyone fibs a little bit at a job interview as any candidate should not volunteer information that is potentially damaging.  Van Wagenen and the Wilpons should have investigated Beltran's involvement with the Astros before the report was issued by MLB.  Beltran should not have been hired if there was any doubt about his involvement.

A few questions:

  • Who will be the next Met manager?  Will they appoint one of the unsuccessful candidates from the recently concluded search?  Will someone else emerge?  Should the successful candidate have previous managerial experience or will they hire someone like David Wright?  What will happen to the coaches who were recently hired?

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

I Won A Second Award from Marquis Publications

The people at Marquis publications must really like me as they gave me a second award.  This time they named me a top scientist. .  I started out my career as a chemist which of course is a physical science, but I did not fare well in that endeavor.  I changed careers and became a science/engineering librarian with a specialty in chemical information.  Library Science is a social science, so I am flattered that I won this award from this publisher.  I have colleagues at other universities who I feel are just as qualified as I to win this award.

There is some irony in winning these two awards as I could not win an award from my former employer.  The late University Librarian was going to nominate me for the American Library Association’s I Love My Librarian Award.  After he saw how detailed the application was, he just didn’t want to be bothered.  He said he would nominate me for a local award, but he never did.

I decided only to announce my award through this journal and Facebook. A few months ago, I Won the Albert Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.  After I sent the announcement to my former colleagues, I was disappointed as I received only a few congratulatory messages. It would only take a minute to send a message via email. Thus, I will not directly send this announcement to them.  As I mentioned in this journal a few months ago, “out of sight out of mind” supersedes “keeping in touch”.

I will appreciate any congratulatory messages I receive.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Two Books About the New York Mets Will Be Published Soon

The Mets have made news this offseason by signing free-agent pitchers Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha, and former Yankee Dellin Betances.  There still may be more moves made before spring training begins.  In the meantime, I found out about two books about the Mets that will be published soon.

Mets in Popular Culture by David Krell published by McFarland Books.  David is an active member of SABR (Society for the Advancement of Baseball Research).  David wrote an article on this subject in the Fall 2015 Baseball Research Journal that may be accessed on the SABR website.

The New York Mets All-Time All-Stars by Brian Wright.  It is scheduled to be released on March 1.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

St. Johns 74 DePaul 67 at Madison Square Garden

Since professional basketball is so expensive and the Knicks are just terrible, we try to see a few St. Johns games each season at Madison Square Garden.  For $40 we got seats in the upper level but in the center of the court.  Since we are now in January, most of St. Johns games will be against Big East conference opponents.

DePaul took an early 13-7 lead, but the Johnnies were in control for most of the game taking a 39-34 lead at halftime.  They scored the first six points of the half to take an 11-point edge, 45-34.  They later opened up a 62-50 lead, but DePaul closed the gap at one point to 4 points.  The Red Storm held on to win the game 74-67.

Report from Red Storm Sports.

Friday, January 10, 2020

San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)

I am not going to San Francisco, but since I am reading about it, I am posting this song

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Lincoln Mitchell Speaks to a Meeting of the New York Giants Preservation Society

Lincoln Mitchell signs a copy of his book at last night's meeting

Lincoln Mitchell is a political analyst, pundit, and writer based in New York City and San Francisco.  He is also interested in the history of baseball.  Last night he appeared at a meeting of the New York Giants Preservation Society to discuss his new book:

San Francisco Year Zero: Political Upheaval Punk Rock and Third-Place Baseball Team.

In November 2018 he spoke to the same group about his previous book:

Baseball goes west: The Dodgers, the Giants, and the shaping of the major leagues

He traces the roots of the current situation in San Francisco back to 1978 when three key events occurred: the assassination of George Moscone and Harvey Milk occurring fewer than two weeks after the massacre of Peoples Temple members in Jonestown, Guyana, the explosion of the city’s punk rock scene, and a breakthrough season for the San Francisco Giants.  Since the audience was comprised of baseball fans he spent time discussing the 1978 baseball Giants.  The team's final record of 89-73 was not terrible, but the team did lead the NL West for much of the season.  He mentioned the political situation around the Giants threatening to move to Denver or Toronto back then as Candlestick Park was a terrible place to play baseball.  He linked this issue with other political problems in San Francisco at that time.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Random Thoughts on Monday Morning in January

I am looking forward to the Jeopardy matchup with Brad Rutter, Ken Jennings, and James Holzhauer.  Ken has won the most games, James has the record for winnings in a game, while Brad has never lost to a human player.  I think the one who lands on the Daily Doubles and bets correctly will win the match.

So far there has been very little snow, but it is only January 6.  I just hate the smaller storms when the traveling conditions are hazardous, but it is not enough to close everything down.  One of the nice things about being retired is not having to worry about getting to work in bad weather.

I still have crazy dreams about working in a library and/or returning to my former employer.  When I wake up, I am grateful that it was only a dream.  Many dreams are very vivid, but I usually forget the details up awakening.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Our Visit to the National Museum of the American Indian

I hadn't been to the National Museum of the American Indian in lower Manhattan for a year or so I thought it would be time for a return visit.  This museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and is free to the public.  Our tax dollars support it along with several foundations.

The museum features the lifeways, history, and art of Indigenous peoples throughout the Western
Hemisphere.  Some of the exhibits are permanent while others are featured for a finite period of time.  Most of the works that were displayed today were done within the last century.  One exhibit demonstrated the contributions of Native Americans in the war efforts throughout our history.  Below are examples of two of the artworks that I saw.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Things Have Changed - Bob Dylan Song of the Day

Things Have Changed was the first song that Dylan played on the Fall 2019 leg of the Never Ending Tour.  Nothing in this world stays the same.  It is always better for a person to initiate change rather than have changed imposed on him.  Most of the time a change is for the better.  We all need to move forward in our lives.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Remembering 20-20 News on WOR-FM

This Newscast is from April 2, 1969

Since the calendar flipped to 2020, I just thought back to the 20-20 news on WOR-FM in the late 1960s.  They would play news 20 minutes before and 20 minutes after the hour.  WOR-FM was a free-form rock station in 1966 but then became a Drake formatted Top 40 stations.  It later changed its calls to WXLO.  Some years later it became 98.7 KISS which was an R&B station.  Now ESPN Radio is heard at that station.

This is my mini radio history lesson of the day.
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