Thursday, July 30, 2020

Cousin Bruce Morrow is Leaving SiriusXM after 15 Years - Facts and My Speculation

Yours truly with Cousin Bruce on the WABC Cruise in June 2007

Last night Cousin Brucie announced that he is leaving SiriusXM.  He emphasized that he was not retiring.  Keith Gehring, a poster on the Fans of Cousin Brucie Facebook page posted the audio of the announcement.   I initiated the Fans of Cousin Bruce Morrow Facebook Page in the early days of Facebook c. 2007.  It predates Cousin Brucie's Official Friendship Page.

The Cuz really loves his job playing the oldies and talking to listeners.  Is he leaving voluntarily?  Perhaps he is as he is approaching his 85th birthday.  He is energetic and doesn't appear to have health issues.  Maybe 60+ years on the radio is enough.  SiriusXM is a business and must watch the bottom line.  I am sure that in this recession caused by the COVID-19 crisis many listeners have dropped their subscriptions to SiriusXM which is not an essential service to its customers.  My sense is that he is being let go as an economy move.  I am also certain that many listeners will drop their subscriptions to SiriusXM since they can no longer listen to Cousin Bruce there.

The Cuz said that you'll hear me again, but where?  I doubt he will go back to WCBS-FM since he is not associated with the 1980s hits that the station now plays.  A friend of a friend believes he will go back to WABC which is a news talk station under new management.  I doubt if WABC will go back to oldies on weekends.  It is possible that the Cuz could do a specialty show from time to time on WABC.  It is possible that he could start his own internet radio station similar to Jonathan Schwartz's Jonathan Channel.  It is also possible that he will appear on new fundraising programs seen on PBS as he has done this in the past.

Certainly, everyone wishes the best for the Cuz.  God Bless Him.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Is Bob Dylan Guilty of Plagiarism?

Laura Tenschert on her radio show Definitely Dylan discussed the issue of  False Prophet from Dylan's new album Rough and Rowdy Ways sound very much like If Lovin' is Believing which was recorded n 1954 by Billy 'The Kid' Emerson on Sun Records.  This possibility was also discussed on a Music Feature on NPR.  I am not a musicologist, but I say this is plagiarism.  Will there by a lawsuit?

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Should the Baseball Season be Canceled?

In the video seen above, Lincoln Mitchell, a political analyst, pundit and writer based in New York City and San Francisco, argues that the Major League Baseball season be canceled.  He has appeared in this journal before as I have attended his talks at the New York Giants Preservation Society.

It was certainly sad to hear that several players and coaches of the Miami Marlins tested positive for the Coronavirus causing the postponement of a few games.  Lincoln bases his logic on that.  It is important for baseball to provide some diversion for the American public.  If players and coaches from several teams test positive, it is likely for the better to cancel the season.  I hope that will not happen, but baseball personnel should not have to be sickened or even die from this dreadful disease.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Complaining to the New York Yankees about their Refund/Exchange Policy

I did a little research and found a page on that listed Yankees executives and found out that Rose Barre is the Executive Director of  Ticket Sales.  I tried to send her an email via LinkedIn, but I couldn't since I was not a premium member.  I found her on Facebook and sent a message.  I was limited to 240 characters on Twitter, but I will send her a link to this journal entry to Twitter.  I always believe that sometimes the squeaky wheel gets oiled.  If this doesn't work, I'll send a complaint to the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs.

Ms. Barre:

I must respectfully disagree with the Yankees' ticket refund/exchange policy.  In late February I went to the stadium ticket office and purchased 6 tickets for two games in 2020 for $255.  There is a statement on the Yankees' web site stating that tickets purchased at box office can only be exchanged when the office reopens.  This will not happen until Spring 2021. However, tickets purchased from Ticketmaster automatically receive a credit.  I made a special trip to the stadium to purchase tickets to avoid excessive fees charged by Ticketmaster. I think is grossly unfair to have to wait one year to get a refund or exchange.  Is there any way that I can get a refund in a timely manner?  Thank you very much.

Yours truly,

Bruce Slutsky

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Edwin Diaz = Blown Save

It was 2019 all over again as Edwin Diaz blew a save in game #2 of this shortened season.  He pitched well in the opener as the Mets won yesterday 1-0.  The situation was similar today as the Mets brought a 2-1 lead into the 9th inning.  Edwin Diaz was brought in to get the save.  He got the first two men out, but with two strikes Marcell Ozuna hit a home run to tie the game.  Diaz gave up 15 ninth-inning home runs last season, so it looks like he is picking up where he left off.

This was the first time the Mets played in extra innings since the new rule putting a runner on second base took effect.  Reliever Hunter Strickland was ineffective giving up 3 runs in the 10th inning as the Mets lost 5-3.

Since this is a short season new manager Luis Rojas has to evaluate the relief pitching very quickly.  He has the following options for the closer:

  • Seth Lugo
  • Dellin Betances
  • Justin Wilson
  • Jeurys Familia
I promise there will not be a journal entry for every Met game this season.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Mets 1 Braves 0 in Opener at Citi Field

The 2020 season finally started today at Citi Field. without fans  Sadly it was delayed on account of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Jacob deGrom started for the Mets as he was outstanding as he allowed only 1 hit over 5 innings.  Of course, he was not the winning pitcher as the Met could not score for him.  The only run came on a  home run by designated hitter Yoenes Cespedes in the 7th inning.  This was his first appearance for the Mets in two years. I held my breath in the 9th inning as Edwin Diaz who had a terrible 2019 came into the game.  He got the save as he allowed just a walk in his inning of work.  Can he keep this up?

The Mets are now 39-20 in openers in their history.  Will it be downhill from here?  A 60-game season is a sprint, not a marathon and every game counts more.

It bothered me to hear Cespedes speaking Spanish at a post-game news conference.  Since he makes big bucks, we can't he hire a tutor to teach him how to speak English?  I think many other Latino players refuse to learn to speak English.

I have collected every Mets yearbook since the inception of the team in 1962.  Apparently, they are not publishing one for this abbreviated 2020 season.

Game Account from ESPN

Box Score

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Blowin' in the Wind Covered by Sam Cooke

I never heard this version of Blowin' in the Wind until today.  We'll never know what Sam would have done in his musical career had he lived.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Reading Alex Trebek's Autobiography

Since there are no movie theaters, museums, broadway shows, bookstores, or open libraries, one can still read books purchased online.  I ordered The Answer is ....... Reflections on My Life, the autobiography of Alex Trebek, and received it the day it was released.  By the way, today is his 80th birthday.

This is a true autobiography which was not ghostwritten.  It is easy to read in an anecdotal style.  The chapters are very short and are titled in the form of a question.  Alex talks very candidly about growing up in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.  His parents were divorced and his mother had a child by another relationship.  Alex didn't find out he had a half-brother until h was in his forties.  He divorced his first wife in 1981 and remarried in 1990 to Jean who is 24 years younger than him. 

He discusses how his career developed and very often one must be in the right place at the right time to get the right job. He hosted several game shows before he became the long time host of Jeopardy in 1984.  I am about 2/3 of the way through the book and am just starting to read about his hosting of Jeopardy.

It is amazing how Alex has survived pancreatic cancer for almost 1 1/2 years.  He says the chemotherapy is painful, but his numbers are very good.  He will continue to host Jeopardy until he is physically unable to do it.

I recommend this book to all even if they are not Jeopardy fans.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Missing Museums During the Coronavirus Pandemic

New York City is now in Pase 4 of reopening, but museums and other cultural institutions are not being allowed to open.  The problem is that the coronavirus can be transmitted indoors when there are crowds of people.  I heard that the Metropolitan Museum of Art will re-open at the end of August, but with a limitation on visitors.  I am not aware of plans for other museums.  I assume that there will be a timed entry for all patrons.

Earlier this year I wanted to go to:

  • Museum of the City of New York - there was an exhibition on basketball
  • New York Historical Society - an exhibition on concerts by Bill Graham
I don't know if these exhibitions will still be at those museums when they re-open.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Booksellers - A Documentary about Antiquarian Book Dealers

Trailer from The Booksellers

I found a reference to this documentary on the Facebook page of one of my librarian friends.  I was intrigued by the trailer and thought I would pay a few dollars to watch it on Amazon Prime Video.  I can't go to a movie theater, anyway, so I thought I would watch it in my air-conditioned bedroom.

It discussed the general demise of bookstores, but the situation is worse for antiquarian bookstores.  These are old books that are of value to collectors who are interested in the book as an artifact, not necessarily in the intellectual content.  To use an extreme example, anyone can buy a bible, but a Gutenberg Bible is a rarity and one would cost millions. 

The film didn't pay much attention to libraries with rare book collections.  Most collectors of rare books are elderly.  There is some concern that as collectors and book store owners pass on this endeavor could end.  An old is not necessarily of great monetary value.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

I Wonder if Some New York City Workers are Being Paid for Doing Nothing

I regularly pass by an elementary school in my neighborhood which, of course, has been closed since March as students are taught through online learning at home.  Until the end of June, I saw two school crossing guards by the school.  Why are they needed?  Are they being paid for just standing around?

In July I have twice seen two school security officers sitting around the playground adjacent to the elementary school.  I must ask again, what are they needed?  Why should taxpayers support workers who are doing nothing?

I also wonder if public library workers are performing tasks at home.  How many reference questions are handled every day by librarians working at home? 

There are severe budget problems in the city as revenue is diminished by less money coming in from people who lost their jobs and businesses that are suffering.  If there is no work for these people, they should be laid off.  Sadly, millions of people working for profit-making organizations have lost their jobs.  Businesses don't pay workers for doing nothing.  Likewise, government agencies must ensure there is productive work for people getting paid.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Random Thoughts for the Middle of July

It was easier to apply for a refund for my Mets tickets over the phone than it was doing it online.  They will add the funds to the credit card that I used to buy the tickets, but as of now I only received money for tickets through May.

I rechecked the Yankees web site and since I bought the tickets at the Stadium I can't exchange them until next season.  Who knows what will happen in 2021.  The blasted Coronavirus isn't going away anytime soon.  It is possible that in 2021 ballparks will be open, but with limited seating.

I just got a significant discount on my automobile insurance if a paid the full 6-month premium at once.

This civil unrest is just excessive.  I think the "powers that be" have heard them and already have made changes.  I guess there are too many people with nothing to do.  It is unfortunate that the entire police department is demonized by the actions of a few.  I think that more training is needed in the use of weapons and in the proper manner of apprehending a suspect who is resisting arrest.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Why are the Mets and Yankees Making it Difficult to Get Refunds on Tickets?

The Mets offer packages of 20, 41, and 81 games for a normal season.  Since I usually go to 12-15 games a season, I chose to buy tickets for individual games.  In February the Mets advertised that for a period of time tickets may be purchased online without the fee.  At that time, I bought 3 tickets for 11 games for about $1100.  The Mets are refunding tickets on a monthly basis.  I got refunds for tickets purchased in April and May.  I applied for a refund for 2 games in June, but I have received them.  It is obvious that at this point all games will be played without fans in the stands.  Why can't they give refunds for the entire season at once?

I usually go to 2 or 3 Yankee games every season.  In early March I decided to take a trip to the Stadium to buy tickets at the box office.  The Yankees announced on their website that I will have to wait until Spring 2021 to exchange those tickets for games next season.

In both cases, the teams earn interest on the money they are holding for tickets sold for games that will not be played in front of spectators.


Later today the Mets announced they were refunding all tickets for 2020.  I had a problem accessing their site for refunds.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

One Book and Two Films about Baseball Pitches

Thankfully, public libraries provide access to e-books.  I searched the NYPL catalog under baseball and limited my search to e-books and perused my answer set.  I was attracted to the book shown above since it was written by Tyler Kepner, a sportswriter for the New York Times.  He spoke to the NYC chapter of SABR in January 2019.  The book traces the colorful stories and fascinating folklore behind the ten major pitches. Each chapter highlights a different pitch, from the blazing fastball to the fluttering knuckleball to the slippery spitball.

  The second chapter on fastballs made reference to Fastball, a documentary directed by Jonathan Hock and narrated by Kevin Costner.  It features interviews with Hall of Fame hitters and pitchers who talk about throwing and hitting the fastball.  It even showed deceased pitchers, Walter Johnson and Robert Feller who specialized in the fastball.  It was shown at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, but I was able to view it at  It was reviewed by Sheila O'Malley.

About 7 years ago I purchased a DVD called Knuckleball that featured Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey.  I don't think any major league pitchers have thrown the knuckleball since Wakefield and Dickey retired.  I found a review of it on DVD Talk.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Belated Happy 80th Birthday to Ringo Starr

I certainly did not forget about Ringo's 80th birthday, I just forgot to post about it in this journal. He certainly doesn't look 80 years old. I actually donated to his foundation a few days ago.  I chose Postcards from Paradise since it contains more than 20 references to song titles from The Beatles; Starr's post-Beatles solo work (Back Off, Boogaloo); and other efforts by his former bandmates.  I just heard it on Dennis Mitchell's Breakfast with the Beatles.

I remember that 10 years ago we went to his 70th birthday concert at Radio City Music Hall.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

No End in Sight for the Coronavirus Pandemic

The good news is that cases and deaths are down in NYC.  The bad news is that the numbers are going up in other parts of the USA and the rest of the world.  There seems to be no end in sight to this miserable pandemic.  The only way it can "end" is when an effective vaccine is produced, tested, and distributed to much of the world.  It is likely many months if not years before that will happen.

One must feel for the people who died or were sickened by this miserable disease.  Millions have been put out of work and are suffering financially.  It appears that schools will be only partially open in the fall with half the time devoted to online learning.

We have to take this situation one day at a time and hope for the best.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Abolish the Electoral College

Every time I think of Donald Trump I curse the electoral college that put him into office even though Hillary Clinton received 3 million more popular votes.  Every so often I hear of someone in Congress introducing a bill to abolish it, but apparently, the bill is killed in a committee.  Today, there was a good editorial by Jesse Wegman in the New York Times calling for its abolition.

Here is a quote from that editorial:

Before it vaulted him into the White House, Donald Trump saw how corrosive this feature was: “The Electoral College is a disaster for a democracy,” he tweeted on election night 2012, when he believed that his candidate, Mitt Romney, would defeat President Barack Obama in the popular vote and yet lose the election.)

Hopefully, this year Trump will lose decisively the popular vote and the electoral college.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Random Thoughts of the Day

Why must the news media continue to cover the Jeffrey Epstein situation months after he committed suicide?  The news is depressing enough as we continually have to hear about COVID-19 and civil unrest.

I am still disappointed that movie theaters are still not able to open even with 50% capacity and a requirement to wear masks.  I just read the following:

Evidence increasingly suggests that the virus lingers in indoor air for extended periods of time. That, in turn, suggests that masks, air ventilation, and ultraviolet light are key to slowing its spread.

Are the ventilation systems in public places good enough to stop the virus?

I have an appointment with the dentist in Forest Hills today.  I will be riding the NYC Subway system for the first time since March.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Today is the 50th Anniversary of AT 40

Back in the 1960s, I listened to countdown shows on WMCA and WABC which of course were local. Very often records were hits nationally but did not chart in New York City.  American Top 40 debuted nationally on July 4, 1970, and reported on the top 40 hits in Billboard magazine.  I remember that day I had a date with a young lady from Coney Island.  At that point, only 7 stations carried the show but over the years it grew by leaps and bounds. New York stations that carried it over the years include WNBC, WXLO, WPLJ, WPIX-FM, and Z-100.  Some of my radio friends are big chart enthusiasts to this day, but I feel that if I liked a song I didn't about its chart positions.  Most Sunday mornings I listen to a show from the 1970s or 1980s on the iHeart Radio app.  Sadly so many people who worked on the show for years have passed away.  These include:

  • Casey Kasem
  • Don Bustany
  • Tom Rounds
  • Ron Jacobs
So much has been written about the show, so instead of repeating it here, I will refer my readers to the following sites:
In radio, the music isn't everything.  It is often what is said between the songs is more important.  Casey Kasem was the best.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Trying to Evaluate the NYPD Objectively

The aim of the NYPD and other police departments across the country is to protect the public from crime.  Over the years many have died in the line of duty trying to prevent crime and apprehending criminals.  I don't know the number of police officers who perished on 9/11 or later died from cancer from exposure to toxins at the site.

In any profession, there are people who excel and those who perform their job poorly.  Sadly, over the years there have been unjustified shootings of Blacks by police.  These events are always publicized with a strong reaction by the public.  Policemen are never above the law and should be prosecuted when they have broken the law.  In my opinion, there have been cases where cops have literally gotten away with murder.  In 1999 Amadou Diallo was shot 43 times by 4 officers who were acquitted of any crime.  The Eric Garner case dragged on for 5 years before the cop was fired from the force.

These incidents are the exception to the role.  The police usually perform their duties admirably.  When the police perform beyond the call of duty, there is rarely publicity for it.  Does defunding the NYPD help prevent crime?  I just feel that the mayor and city council were pressured by the protesters to do that.

My suggestion is that all police officers receive regular training on how to handle volatile situations without discharging their weapons.  Also, the NYPD and Petrolmans Benovelent Association embark on a public relations campaign to demonstrate the positive things police do.  Likewise, the media should more attention to situations where the police have gone beyond the call of duty to prevent crime and protect the public.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

It's Bobby Bonilla Day for the New York Mets

Bobby Bonilla played most of his career for the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets as a first baseman, third baseman, and outfielder.  You can view his statistics at Baseball-Reference.   Mark Souder wrote a biography of him for SABR (Society for American Baseball Research).

Bonilla underachieved during his playing days for the Mets. In 2000, the Mets agreed to buy out the remaining $5.9 million on Bonilla's contract. However, instead of paying Bonilla the $5.9 million at the time, the Mets agreed to make annual payments of nearly $1.2 million for 25 years starting July 1, 2011, including a negotiated 8% interest.  Thus for every year until 2035 Bonilla gets a check from the Mets on July 1.  I guess in 2000 the Mets just didn't know how to handle money.
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