Tuesday, August 9, 2022

If Not for You by Olivia Newton-John

Yesterday, we got the sad news that Olivia Newton-John died at age 73 after a long battle with breast cancer.  Did you know that her first hit was a cover of a Bob Dylan song that charted in 1971?  It only reached #25 on Billboard but was the first of many hits that spanned several decades.  May Olivia rest in peace.


Monday, August 8, 2022

There is a Plan to Reconstruct NY Penn Station, but it Will Be Several Years Too Late for Me


For 25 years as I commuted from Flushing to Newark, I had to stop at Penn Station to change for New Jersey Transit.  During rush hours it was usually crowded as seen in the photo above.  I especially hated the Seventh Avenue entrance to New Jersey Transit which was poorly designed.  It was especially difficult for reverse commuters who had to go against the flow.

Governor Kathy Hochul's plan calls for replacing the current cramped Penn Station with a 250,000-square-foot, single-level facility. It will be easier to navigate and have more room for passenger circulation. It will feature a new, light-filled train hall that would be the size of both Moynihan Train Hall and Grand Central Terminal’s main concourses if combined.

More details.  No target date is given for the completion of this endeavor.  It is obviously many years too late for me as I retired in December 2017.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Mets 8 Braves 5 in Game 1 of a Day-Night Doubleheader


Many years ago, I would regularly attend Sunday doubleheaders at Shea Stadium.  I attended the first part of a day-night doubleheader for the first time today.

Spot starter David Peterson did his job as he allowed no runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings.  However, the bullpen performed poorly and allowed five runs to make the game close.  Buck Showalter reluctantly had to bring in Edwin Diaz to close the game.  Francisco Lindor was the hitting star for the Mets as he was three for four including a double off the padding in center field that drove in two runs.  Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and James McCann had RBI singles.

For the time being the Mets have a 4 1/2 lead over the Braves in the NL East.  There are two more games left in the series with Scherzer and deGrom pitching.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • A car service ride from my home in Flushing to LaGuardia Airport cost $27.50 without the tip.  On the way home, a yellow cab charged me $16 for the same ride.
  • Many branches of banks have closed since so many transactions can be done online.  Today a CD from a bank that used to have a branch in my neighborhood closed.  I had to make a short trip to Whitestone to close that account and take the check to another bank that offered much higher interest.
  • Thankfully, the trade deadline in MLB has come and gone.  I was tired of reading articles speculating about trades that were never made.  In any event, the salaries that professional athletics are getting are so outrageous.
  • I read an article in New York Magazine about the dating app, Tinder.  Most of their users were kids under 25.  I guess dating apps have replaced the singles dances of the 1960s and 70s.
  • I attended a few meetings of seniors in eastern Queens.  The topics of discussion were so boring.  I'll try this group one more time before deciding whether or not to stay with them.  I just hate it when people talk about their medical problems.


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Baseball in Tulsa


In recent years my vacations have been to museums during the day and baseball at night.  This year was no exception since ONEOK Field, the home of AA Tulsa Drillers affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers was within walking distance of our hotel.  I was able to get seats behind home plate for $18.  There was a family-friendly environment in the stands.

I was very pleased to see a pitch clock which helped prevent delays in the games.  There must be a pitch within 14 seconds with nobody on base and 18 seconds with a runner on base.  Also, infield shifts were not permitted.

On Thursday, July 28th we saw the Tulsa Drillers defeat the Arkansas Travelers 4-2 in a game that was completed in 2 hours.  Box Score

We returned the next night to see the Drillers beat the Travelers 7-5 as the game ended with a walk-off home run by Jonny DeLuca.  Box Score

Visit to the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa


I visited the Woody Guthrie Center for the first time in 2019 when I attended the World of Bob Dylan Symposium.  Since it was right now the street from our hotel, I thought it was worth a second visit.  There were exhibits tracing his life from his birth in Oklahoma in 1912 to his death from Huntington's Disease in 1967.  The collection includes more than 10,000 items and continues to grow.

There was an excellent exhibit about Bruce Springsteen who was influenced by Woody.  It provides fans with an intimate look into Springsteen’s creative process, shedding light on how he became—and remains— one of the greatest live performers in rock and roll history.  It includes clips from many of Springsteen's concerts over the years.  It will be at the Guthrie Center until September 25.

Monday, August 1, 2022

My Thoughts on the Bob Dylan Center

I felt like a kid in a candy store.  I went through each exhibit very slowly and listened to every recording that was available.  On day #1 I concentrated on the first floor while on the second day I viewed the exhibits on the second floor in great detail.  I thought about visiting an art museum but decided against it since I would have to take a cab there and back to my hotel which was within walking distance of the Dylan Center.  On the third day, I viewed a few exhibits that I missed and did an overview of everything else.  I spent 14 hours over the three days there.

I could not tell if the visitors were locals or tourists like myself who made a special trip to Tulsa to see the Center.  I spoke to one young man who came from Chicago.  I observed some visitors who appeared to view the museum in a cursory manner.  I don't know if the Center will appeal to casual Dylan fans who may be overwhelmed.  I don't know if the Dylan Center will attract tourists from afar.  I am certain the diehard Dylan fans are likely to come regardless of the cost.

There are archives that are only open to Dylan scholars and must be seen by appointment.

Most museums have permanent and temporary exhibits.  I assume that different exhibits will eventually come to the second floor.


Three Days at the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa


In March 2017 I reported in this journal that the Bob Dylan Archive opened at the University of Tulsa.  I got this information from an article in Rolling Stone stating that select items from the collection will eventually be exhibited at the Bob Dylan Center, the primary public venue for the archive.  The Bob Dylan Center opened to the public in May 2022.  Of course, I had to go.

Lee is standing in front of the entrance

Since I became a member of the Center, I was able to get in for free.  I gave them a donation of $100. All visitors are given an iPod used to listen to recordings and see videos and recordings throughout the center. You enter through the gift shop and then into a corridor where there is a big picture of Bob and Suze Rotolo.

There is a large room where there are continuous videos of Dylan in different stages of his 60-year career.  There are some interviews of him taken from the documentary No Direction Home.  From there, visitors enter a large room.  Artifacts from Dylan's career are arranged in chronological order on the wall.  In the middle of the floor, there are kiosks devoted to several songs including:
  • Like a Rolling Stone
  • Tangled Up in Blue
  • Chimes of Freedom 
  • Jokerman
  • The Man in Me
Each kiosk describes the song in detail and shows typewritten lyrics with handwritten revisions.  Visitors can also hear alternative versions.
Lee is Standing at the Kiosk for
Tangled Up in Blue, his favorite Dylan Song

Elvis Costello provided a jukebox where he chose Dylan songs, covers of Dylan songs, and other recordings he thought would be of interest to visitors.  In the corner, visitors can view how recording sessions for 5 songs progressed.

Above is my favorite photo from the first floor.  This may be an outtake from the documentary Don't Look Back as Dylan brought a typewriter to a gathering.

Now up to the second floor where there is a long wall with 92 items that include Christmas cards from the individual Beatles and a sack of fan letters that were sent to Dylan in 1966-67.

There was also an exhibit titled Jerry Schatzberg: 25th & Park.  This exhibition of photographs and related materials provides a look inside the studio at 333 Park Avenue South, a nexus of New York art and society where Jerry Schatzberg created some of his most extraordinary images and influenced the trajectories of photography, pop music, fashion, cinema, theater and literature during the turbulent, culturally rich 1960s.  Schatzberg also took photos that appeared on the Blonde on Blonde album cover.

Traveling to Tulsa after Hearing About Flight Delays and Cancellations

In May 2019 before I went to Tulsa for the World of Bob Dylan Symposium there was anxiety since there were heavy rains and flooding in the area.  Everything worked out as I had no problems with travel.  This year was aware of numerous flight delays and cancellations in the country as the airlines had staffing problems.  We arrived at LaGuardia Airport two hours before the scheduled time and sat at the gate.  We were advised that the plane would be late arriving since it came from Miami where there were morning thunderstorms.  The plane left one hour late and arrived in Dallas where we had to make connections late. Since the airport in Dallas is so large, we had to take a train to get from one terminal to another to make connections.  Fortunately, we arrived 20 minutes before our connecting flight started to board. There were absolutely no problems on the way home


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