Sunday, August 30, 2020

Today's Visit to the Museum of the City of New York Was a Milestone

The COVID-19 crisis has created much unhappiness for all especially for the families of those of died from this dreadful disease.  The death total is approaching 200,000 in the United States while millions have been taken ill.  Millions of others lost their jobs or businesses during this crisis.

A secondary effect was the closing of museums and other cultural attractions.  Today we went to the Museum of the City of New York especially to see the exhibit City Game/Basketball in New York.  According to my records in this journal, I last visited this museum in October 2019.  Likely, my last visit to any museum was in February of this year.

We had to make reservations in advance and had to follow social distancing guidelines.  Fortunately, this museum offers free admission until September 14.  I gave them a donation as I support cultural institutions.

The basketball exhibition captures the excitement and evolution of this quintessentially urban game and the energy of the diverse New Yorkers who play it and love it.  It covered the sport played at the high school, college, and professional levels in NYC.  It featured players and coaches including Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Nancy Lieberman, Chris Mullin, Walt "Clyde" Frazier, Nat Holman, and Red Holtzman.

We also perused some of the permanent exhibits in the museum that we saw during previous visits.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Mets Sweep Yankees in a Weird Doubleheader at Yankee Stadium

In previous years I always wrote up games that I attended in person in NYC or on vacation in other baseball cites.  Since I obviously can't do that this season I will describe selected games that I viewed on TV.

Last weekend the Yankees and the Mes were scheduled to play at Citi Field, but the series was postponed since personnel on the Mets were tested positive for COVID-19.  So a doubleheader was scheduled for last night at Yankee Stadium to make up for one of those games.  MLB determined that for this season all doubleheader games would be 7 innings.

In Game 1 the Yankees took a 4-0 lead after two innings as Met pitcher Michael Wacha was not effective.  After 5 innings the Met still trailed 4-1.  Pete Alonso hit a 3-run homer in the 6th to tie the game.  Dom Smith and Jake Marisnick homered later that inning to give the Mets a 6-4 led that held up as Edwin Diaz got his second save of the season.  Walker Lockett was the winning pitcher but was designated for assignment after the game so that Dave Peterson could be activated from the injury list to start Game 2.

In the second game, the Mets batted last even though the game was away for them.  They fell behind early 3-1 but got one run back in the 5th inning.  In the bottom of the 7th inning, Jeff McNeil walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Billy Hamilton.  Amed Rosario homered off Aroldis Chapman to win the game 4-3 for the Amazins.

The Yankees have now lost 7 in a row while the Mets are now 15-16.  What will happen next in this weird 60-game season>

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Baseball Comments of the Day

Edwin Diaz got another blown save last night as the Mets lost a 4-1 lead to the Miami Marlins in the 8th inning.  Fortunately, they scored a run in the bottom of the 8th to win the game 5-4.  The Mets are now 13-16, but since 16 of the 30 teams make the playoffs, the Mets have a chance.

I am not impressed with the deals that Brodie Van Wagenen has made as GM.  Edwin Diaz is a bust, although Robinson Cano is hitting this season.  The Mets have benefited by the National League's use of the designated hitter during this short season.  I think it is about time for MLB to play under one set of rules.  The worst thing that Brodie did was to sign Jed Lowrie who has spent almost all of his time on the disabled list.

The Mets are aggressive in trying to sell season tickets for 2021.  The issue is that we don't know if the Coronavirus will disappear next year.  It is possible that games will be played with no fans in the stands or with a percentage of the stadium's capacity allowed.  Why should they hold fans' money for several months?

Most games are still over 3 hours so the rule that requires a pitcher to face 3 batters is not shortening games.  I don't care for the rule putting a runner on second base during an extra inning.  I am certain that it will only apply for this season.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Always on My Mind by Willie Nelson

It looks like I have writer's cramp again as I don't know what to report in my journal.  I certainly don't want to talk about the Republican National Convention.  Right now, I am listening to Willie's Roadhouse on SiriusXM which plays classic country music.  This station also features country crossovers like Always on My Mind and A Boy Named Sue.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Should Baseball Teams Sell Tickets for 2021 This Early?

The Mets and Yankees are already selling full and partial season tickets for 2021.  Starting next week the Mets will be selling single-game tickets.  I think it is much too early for them to do this.  The Coronavirus will not end when the calendar turns to 2021.  There could be a serious resurgence this fall.  It is quite possible that 2021 games will have to be played without fans or possibly with a fraction of the stadiums' capacity.  Why should the teams hold the fans' money for several months?

I finally received all my refunds from the Mets, but it took me a number of months and several phone calls to get them.  As I stated once before in This Journal I will have to go to the Yankee ticket office in 2021 to get an exchange.  I think it would be futile to complain to the New York Department of Consumer Affairs.  They must be swamped with people making complaints about not getting refunds.

Another thought - Is there a digital divide for people buying tickets for any kind of event.  How can you buy tickets if you don't have a computer, internet access, or smartphone?

Friday, August 21, 2020

Random Thoughts of the Day


I passed by Whitestone Lanes a few days ago and observed that it was still closed even though they can open on August 17.  I assume that they had to do a deep cleaning and disinfection before they can open.  They will have to disinfect the bowling balls after each customer.

I got a little grin yesterday when I found out that the woman who succeeded me at my position at my former employer left after 2 years on the job since her commute was very long.  I stuck it out there for 25 years despite a long and complicated commute.  About 18 years ago another librarian left after one year since his commute was very long.  Both traveled from South NJ.  I am New York Strong!

I agree with the restaurant owners that indoor dining should be allowed in NYC.  The infection rate here is the lowest since the pandemic began.

I am really upset that the Coronavirus hit the New York Mets.  Hopefully, the people involved are asymptomatic and play can resume soon.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Today is National Radio Day

I own this Sangean HD Radio

August 20th is National Radio Day.  I have been an avid listener of radio of different formats and methods of transmission since the early 1960s.  This includes AM, FM, HD, SiriusXM, Shortwave, and internet (streaming).  In recent years it has grown by leaps and bounds,  but the impact of traditional terrestrial radio has declined with the phenomenal growth of the internet with its multitude of streaming services and online stations.

On National Radio Day this enthusiast would like to thank all in the radio business for their devotion to their professional or avocation.  There are just so many to list, and I would want to slight anyone so I will not mention any names.  There are:

  • On the air personalities
  • Corporations that own radio stations
  • Program Directors
  • News Directors
  • Hobbyists who run internet radio stations with their own funds
  • Music Directors
  • Engineers
  • Sales Men and Women
  • People involved with promotions
  • Jingle producers
  • Please forgive me if I have omitted anyone.
Keep up the good work!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Key West by Bob Dylan - My Favorite from Rough and Rowdy Ways

One of the topics during last night's Zoom meeting of Bob Dylan enthusiasts was favorite tracks from his new CD Rough and Rowdy Ways.  I chose Key West that can be heard from the Youtube post above.  When I hear that song I also think of Pirate Radio from Key West, Florida.  I listen to that station for a while on Saturday mornings.  They used to air Breakfast with the Beatles with Dennis Mitchell, but now air a show called The Acoustic Storm.  I highly recommend listening to both shows.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Thinking about Bowling Alleys Today

Starting today bowling alleys in NYC can reopen with some restrictions.  When I passed by Whitestone Lanes this morning I saw a news van from WNBC-TV that was obviously there to report on the reopening.  Whitestone Lanes has been at Linden Place in Flushing at least since the early 1960s since I remember my dad taking my sister and me there to bowl.  Over the years many bowling alleys have closed since the sport has lost some popularity.  Let me try to remember some bowling alleys of the past.

  • Tri-Bowl - this was on 63rd Drive in Rego Park across from P.S. 139.  It only had 12 lanes
  • Hollywood Lanes - this was on 67th Avenue and Queens Blvd.  Now Devry College occupies that site
  • Woodhaven Lanes - It was on Woodhaven Blvd in Forest Hills.  I think it had 60 lanes.
  • Turnpike Lanes - on Union Turnpike near the Queens-Nassau border.
I am sure there are others that I have forgotten.


Back in the early 1970s, I dated some girls in Brooklyn.  Going bowling was an inexpensive date.  There were:
  • Gil Hodges Lanes - I believe it is still there
  • Mill Basin Lanes - This may still be there under a different name.
There is a very funny story about Mill Basin lanes since my friend Mike from CCNY became engaged there to Heidi.  A bowling alley is certainly a very unromantic place to pop the question.  I had a joke back then about that incident.  Mike popped the question at a spare moment to strike while Heidi was in the right frame of mind.  He wanted to get a lot of pin action.

Those were the days.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

More Venues will be Opening Up Soon

I found out that starting on August 17th bowling alleys will be allowed to open up at 50% capacity.  I will have to go over to Whitestone Lanes which is within walking distance.  I haven't bowed in several years, but I'll give it a try.

It was also announced that museums will be opening on August 24th with 25% capacity.  Visitors would have to make a reservation, but that should not be a problem.  I am looking forward to the exhibit on Bill Graham concerts at the New York Historical Society and the basketball exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.

Hopefully, movie theaters will reopen soon.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

My Thoughts about the Mets after the First 20 Games of 2020

First of all, I phone the ticket office today trying again to get my refund for tickets that I bought for games in July, August, and September.  They have a cumbersome procedure for getting refunds.  I didn't have to do anything and easily got refunds for a concert and Broadway show earlier in the year.  They are already trying to sell tickets for 2021, but the Coronavirus is not going to go away when the calendar changes to 2021.  For all we know they may still have to play in empty stadiums in 2021 or possibly limit the number of tickets sold.

Getting back to the field; they are 8-12.  The hitting has finally shown some life as they have scored 19 runs in the last 2 games.  Until recently they could not hit with runners in scoring position.  I will not miss Yoenes Cespedes as his departure opened a door for Dom Smith.  The starting pitching has been hurt with the loss of Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Strohman, and Michael Wacha.  The latter may return soon.  Rookie David Peterson has been a pleasant surprise.  The bullpen remains a question mark as Seth Lugo is the only reliable pitcher.  Edwin Diaz seems to be improving, but still can implode.  A rookie major league manager may make some errors of omission like not pinch-running for a slow catcher.

If the Mets get hot they can easily get back into contention.  We will have to wait and see.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Cousin Brucie Returns to WABC after 46 Years

The rumor that Cousin Brucie is returning to WABC is true.  It was announced in several "venues" so I will just list three:

The show will be heard Saturday nights starting September 5 and will be called “Cousin Brucie’s Saturday Night Rock & Roll Party” and will feature music from the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s — plus a “little touch” of the ’50s.  Hopefully, it will be formatted as the SiriusXM show was for the last 15 years.  Will the "Powers that Be" at WABC be overly concerned about demographics and play more 80s music?  I hope not.  I also hope that there will not be a tight playlist.

A disadvantage will be commercials.  An advantage will be that everyone can hear the show either on 770 AM or the iHeart Radio app.  His show on SiriusXM was limited to subscribers.

Cousin Bruce was heard on WABC from 1961 to 1974 so he come full circle.

I wish him all the best.

Game of Love by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders

I guess the writer's cramp has set in today, so I will just post an oldie.  Last week I heard that British rock star Wayne Fontana passed away at 74.  He recorded as a solo artist and as leader of the Mindbenders.  My favorite was Game of Love which was a hit in 1965.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Being an Administrator of Fan Groups on Facebook

Over the years I have initiated a handful of fan groups on Facebook.  Once in awhile, there will be inappropriate comments that need to be deleted, but those are minimal.  I will list the groups with a few comments:

  • Fans of Cousin Bruce Morrow - I started this group in the early days of Facebook around 2007.  It actually pre-dates Cousin Bruce's Official Friendship Group that was started by his staff at SiriusXM.  It now has 7900 members and has grown tremendously since Brucie announced he was leaving SiriusXM.  There is speculation that he will be doing a Saturday Night show on WABC.
  • Fans of Harry Harrison - I also started this in the early days of Facebook.  It now has 2570 including Harry's daughter Patty who is very active in this group.  There were numerous posts at the time of Harry's passing in January 2020.
  • NYC Oldies Radio Enthusiasts -I formed this group as a place for those attending the Oldies Meet and Greets to hang out.  It did not turn out this way as people with oldies shows on internet radio are using it to promote their shows.  It has 1100 members including many not from the NYC area.
  • Fans of WMCA Good Guy Radio -  WMCA was a popular Top 40 station in NYC from 1962-70.  In a short period of time, it has grown to 1100 members.  Some people post airchecks of various DJs.
  • Bob Dylan fans in NYC - this has only 40 members.  I guess there are just too many Bob Dylan fan groups on Facebook.

Friday, August 7, 2020

I Remember This Silly Commercial from Six Flags

I warned you this is silly.  That man reminds me of a former boss.  I guess I am not in the mood for writing today.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Stephen Bogart Lebow and Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists

A week or so ago I remarked on Facebook that I have not even met in person most of my 611 Facebook friends and that I should determine that number.  Stephen Bogart Lebow is CEO at New Spirit Broadcasting and Global Broadcasting.  I remember friending him c.2007 after I said something positive about his father the late Guy Lebow who was a sportscaster and radio station owner in NYC.  In 1971 I phoned Guy who was sitting in for Jack Spector on his sports talk show on WMCA.

Anyway, yesterday it was announced that New York City newspaper legend Pete Hamill just passed away.  I was perusing my Facebook feed and observed a thread about Pete Hamill.  One of his Facebook friends posted about a documentary called Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists.  This piqued my curiosity and since I had access to this film through HBO Max, I thought I would view it.

The documentary made me realize what excellent journalists Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill were.  The film highlighted many of the significant stories that the two covered over the years.  It also reminded me of the great influence that newspapers had during my years growing up in Queens.  When I rode the subway to CCNY in the late 1960s, most people were reading newspapers while most subway riders today are engrossed in their cell phones.  I highly recommend my readers view this documentary.  I will try to read some publications by these two distinguished journalists.  I remember reading  Can't Anyone Here Play this Game by Jimmy Breslin as he documented the futility of the 1962 New York Mets.

The New York Times, New York Post, and Daily News are still being published, but their influence is minimal today as people rely on the internet for news.  I believe those publications are now emphasizing their online versions.

I made Facebook friends with people who share common interests even though I've never met.  Stephen Bogart Lebow and I share an interest in radio.  I guess I should not drop Facebook friends as I may learn from them.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Cousin Brucie is Interviewed by the Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame

I was searching Youtube to see if someone had posted a recording of Cousin Brucie's last show on SiriusXM.  Instead, I found this interview of the Cuz by the Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame.  It was posted February 2020, so I assume I was done within the last year.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Goodbye Yoenis Cespedes - You Have No Class

While I was watching today's Mets game, it was revealed that Yoenis Cespedes stated did not come to the stadium to be with the team.  After the game, it was announced that he opted out of the rest of the season due to COVID-19 concerns.  This is understandable that he is afraid of contracting this dreadful disease,  It was his lack of proper communication that is upsetting.  He didn't have the class to contact his management directly.  He ran away as his agent informed the Mets of his decision.

In the 8 games that he played in this strange season, he had 5 hits in 34 at-bats with 2 home runs.  He wasn't exactly a ball of fire.  When I look at his statistics, he really didn't do anything recently for the Mets especially after being out for 2 years from injuries.  The Mets would not have reached the World Series in 2015, but that was 5 years ago.  What have you done for me lately?

A few days ago he spoke in Spanish at a news conference.  With all the money he made and two years on the sideline, he could hire a tutor to teach him conversational English.  This guy has no class and will not be missed by this Met fan.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Blonde on the Tracks by Emma Swift - Another Collection of Bob Dylan Covers

I was listening to John Platt on WFUV last Sunday at about 5;30 PM when he played Queen Jane Approximately by Emma Swift.  I was curious and did some "Google research" and found out that she released a new album called Blonde on the Tracks.  I read the description and thought of buying the CD.  I have done this a number of times after hearing Dylan covers on WFUV or WBGO.  Off the top of my head, I have bought cover collections by Ben Sidran, and Bettye Lavette after hearing a sample on one of those fine radio stations.  I never even heard of Emma Swift, but I bought the CD.

I originally thought it would feature covers from Blonde on Blonde and Blood on the Tracks, but it includes songs from several Dylan albums including the very recent Rough and Rowdy Ways.  Emma is a blonde, so the title makes sense in another way.
  • Queen Jane Approximately 
  • I Contain Multitudes 
  • One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)
  • Simple Twist of Fate
  • Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands
  • The Man In Me
  • Going Going Gone
  • You're A Big Girl Now
I found this short bio of Emma Swift on the Wikipedia:

Emma Swift is an Australian singer-songwriter. Her self-titled EP, recorded in Nashville with producer Anne McCue, was nominated for a 2014 ARIA Award for Best Country Album. She relocated to Nashville in 2013. 

I enjoyed this CD and recommend it those who enjoy Dylan covers.  I may be the exception to the rule, but I do buy music that I hear on the radio.  That phenomenon was much more common the 1950s and 1960s.  I vaguely remember the payola scandals.

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