Thursday, November 30, 2023

Finally. Someone Else is Bashing the Electoral College - Gail Collins


Gail Collins is an American journalist, op-ed columnist, and author, most recognized for her work with The New York Times.  As an online subscriber to the New York Times, I am allowed to give away 10 articles every month.  I thought my readers, especially Alan Seltzer, would enjoy this article where she bashes the Electoral College.  She concludes:

"Nothing is going to happen to fix the Electoral College. Can you imagine trying to get a change in the Constitution that enormous? It was a long haul just to pass an amendment to prohibit members of Congress from raising their own pay between elections."

It would take a vote of 2/3 in the House and Senate followed by approval by 3/4 of the state legislators to pass a constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Book Review: Jack Ruby: The Many Faces of Oswald's Assassin by Danny Fingeroth


Over the past 60 years there have been countless books, articles, and conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination.  Interest in this tragic event has likely piqued on its 60th anniversary although most people today were not yet born in 1963.  Danny Fingeroth, known as a cultural critic, comics writer, editor, educator and commentator, just wrote a detailed biography of Jack Ruby, the killer of Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.  He is noted as the biographer of Stan Lee best known for his work with Marvel Comics.  Danny was ten years old at the time of the murder of Oswald and, like millions of others, viewed it on live TV.

He interviewed some of Ruby’s nieces and nephews and Rabbi Hillel Silverman who knew him quite well. Many of the books written about the assassination and its aftermath were consulted.  It took Danny about ten years to research and write the book.  He describes Ruby’s early years in Chicago, his relationship with his family and Rabbi Silverman, and his business ventures before the historic events in Dallas. Danny details the actions of Ruby in the two days after the assassination, his murder of Oswald, his trial, and the events after the trial.  He succeeded in refreshing my memory of those events.  Ruby’s lawyers tried to use the insanity defense to acquit Ruby, but he was convicted and sentenced to death.  There was a successful appeal with a new trial at a location outside of Dallas.  Ruby died in January 1967 before a second trial could be held.

There are still many unanswered questions about the Kennedy assassination, but nobody has definitively proven a conspiracy.  The uniqueness of this book is the comprehensive study of Ruby’s life.  Danny is to be commended for a fine book.  Younger people should read the book to learn about the tragic events that changed history.

I became acquainted with Danny Fingeroth through a Bob Dylan video chat group that meets monthly.  There are a few Dylan references in the book including his recent song Murder Most Foul.



Monday, November 27, 2023

How I Would Change the Government


I can't change things independently, but here is what I wish would happen.

Federal Government

My proposals will never happen since a constitutional amendment would be required.  A 2/3 vote in the House and Senate followed by approval by 3/4 of the state legislatures would be needed.
  • Abolish the electoral college and the presidential election be decided by popular vote
  • The term for the House of Representatives be expanded to four years with the election held in even-numbered years when there is no presidential election.
  • Limit Senators to two six-year terms and Representatives to three four-year terms.
  • All Supreme Court justices can be appointed to one ten-year term that may not be renewed.
New York State Government
  • There should be term limits for the Governor, State Senate, State Assembly, Attorney General, and Comptroller.
New York City Government
  • Abolish the office of Public Advocate.  I need to see what the person in this position accomplishes.  Most previous incumbents have used this as a stepping stone to a higher office.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Sunday Afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)


A Picasso seen today

I thought it was time for a return visit to this fine museum as I hadn't been there since April 2021.  There was plenty to see over six floors.  Most of the views were cursory since there was so much to see.

One exhibit was ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN which features over 200 works—in mediums including painting, drawing, prints, photography, artist’s books, film, and installation—that make use of everything from gunpowder to chocolate.  

This work by Ruscha should amuse my radio friends.

Another exhibit was An-My Lê: Between Two Rivers - works of a Vietnamese artist.  The two rivers in the exhibition’s title refer to the Mekong and Mississippi River deltas.

A third exhibit was Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism explores how architects in the US responded to the environmental crisis of the 1960s and 1970s.

Here is one painting from the general collection

Friday, November 24, 2023

Tangled Up in Blue is Lee's Favorite Dylan Song

Tangled Up in Blue was voted the #1 Bob Dylan song by WFUV listeners two years ago.  Lee had the pleasure of hearing Dylan in concert singing it a few times in the past.


Original Studio Version from Blood on the Tracks

Concert Version From September 2000

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Murder Most Foul with Video by Bob Mori



 I am not allowed to show this video in my journal. Please click on the link to see it on YouTube.

Bob Mori, a video editor, did an excellent job of visualizing Bob Dylan's thoughts.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Six Versions of Bob Dylan's Maggie's Farm

 1. Original studio version from Bringing it All Back Home 1965

2. Newport Folk Festival 1965

3. Rolling Thunder Review 1976

4. Budokan 1978

5. Farm Aid 1985

6. Farm Aid 2023 with the surviving members of the Heartbreakers

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Book Review: Baseball From 3,000 Miles Away by Gary Mintz

In May 2016, I wrote a journal article about Lou Mintz, the Chief of Stack Maintenance and Delivery at the New York Public Library where I worked from 1983-90. Lou had the extraordinary responsibility ofensuring that millions of books and periodicals were shelved properly and could be retrieved and delivered to library patrons promptly. In the seven years that I had known Lou, I don’t remember discussing baseball or his family.  Lou came to my farewell party.  His son Gary discovered this article and contacted me.  I decided to go to a meeting of the New York Giants Preservation Society (NYGPS) to meet him.  In January 2017 I went to a meeting at Bergino’s and met Gary.  Over the years I went to a few of the in-person meetings at Bergino’s and Finnerty’s.  I attended a few Zoom meetings during and after the COVID-19 outbreak.  If I couldn’t attend the live meeting, I would often view the recordings on YouTube.

When Gary announced his self-published book “Baseball from 3,000 Miles Away”, I knew I had to read it.  Thanks to I was able to get it shortly after publication.  Gary was born a few years after the New York Giants moved to San Francisco.  His father was a big New York Giants fan and kept his devotion after the team moved to the West Coast.  Gary became a fan of the Giants out of his love and admiration for his dad.  I didn’t realize Gary’s devotion to the Giants until I read his book.

He talked about his first Giants game at Shea Stadium in 1969 and his trips to Philadelphia and San Francisco to see the Giants play among many other topics.  He discussed his difficulties in following the Giants caused by the time zone differences and limitations of radio and television during the first few decades of his faithfulness to the Giants.  Following his team became easier in this era of the Internet and Cable TV.  Readers will also find out about Gary’s career as a teacher.

Gary was absolutely thrilled in 2010, 2012, and 2014 when the Giants won the World Series. He certainly experienced many losses and disappointments over the years all followed the team.  He thinks about his late dad every day. He has always been devoted to his family.

I don’t want to give away too much in this review since I hope all the members of the NYGPS purchase the book.  Other fans of the Giants and baseball historians will also enjoy the book.


Friday, November 17, 2023

I Admire these People who are Bigger Dylan Enthusiasts than I Am


I am obviously a big fan of Bob Dylan, but I have encountered people who are even bigger devotees of the man from Hibbing, Minnesota.  I will list some here that don’t include scholars such as Greil Marcus and Clinton Heylin.  I apologize if I omitted anyone.

Laura Tenschert – among others, she made a trip from England to the United States to see Dylan three times in New York City.  She has a podcast called Definitely Dylan and brings a feminist perspective to the analyses of Dylan’s works.  I had the pleasure of meeting her at the World of Dylan Conference in Tulsa in 2019.

Rebecca Slaman – she is a young Dylan fan whom I sense has become a protégé of Laura.  She has become a Dylanolgist in a short period and has presented at conferences in Miami and Tulsa.  She was interviewed on many podcasts about Dylan.

Erin Callahan – I had the pleasure of meeting her at the 2019 Tulsa conference. She is a Professor of English at San Jacinto College.  She edited a very recent book titled ThePolitics and Power of Bob Dylan’s Live Performances.  She has appeared on several Dylan podcasts.

Danny Fingeroth – he has appeared at several of my Dylan online chats, but I still have not met him in person.  He is best known as a comic book writer and editor.  He also spoke at the 2023 Dylan Tulsa conference.  He made a trip to Hibbing, Minnesota.  He wrote a biographyof Jack Ruby that will be published shortly.

Harold Lepidus – his LinkedIn entry describes him as a music archivist, historian, retail buyer, journalist, columnist, foreign correspondent and web designer.  He is the author of Friends and Other Strangers: Bob Dylan Examined.  He also hosts the Boston Harald podcast.  He also offers short courses on Dylan.

Anne Margaret Daniel – is a writer and editor at The New School and Bard College.  She teaches a course on Bob Dylan.

Henry Bernstein – I met him by accident at the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa in July 2022.  He was wearing a t-shirt This is What a Bob Dylan Fan Looks Like that was offered by Laura Tenschert.  He made a special trip from Chicago to Tulsa to see the center.  He also traveled from Tulsa to NYC to see Dylan in concert.  He is also a big fan of the Chicago White Sox.

Ray Padgett – is the author of Pledging My Time: Conversations with Band Members.

Michael from Austria uses the Twitter handle False_Prophet44.  I enjoy his Tweets.  I guess I should call them Xs. 

I sincerely apologize for anyone I have omitted who is a more devoted Dylan fan than me.  There is only so much time in a day to write journal entries.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Bob Dylan at Kings Theater in Brooklyn


It was a long subway ride from Flushing, Queens to Brooklyn, but it was advisable to use public transportation since parking on the street is scarce in that neighborhood.  A few of my Dylan friends came from England to the series of concerts at the Kings Theater and the Beacon Theater.  I admire their enthusiasm for Dylan, but one concert is enough for me, especially since the set list is the same.  The theater was very ornate, and the acoustics were fantastic.  Below is the setlist posted by Bill Pagel minutes after the concert ended.  Most of the songs were from Rough and Rowdy Ways.  The songs not from that album were performed much differently from the original versions.  I especially enjoyed When I Paint My Masterpiece, I'll be Your Baby Tonight. and Gotta Serve Somebody.

Brooklyn, New York
Kings Theatre

November 14, 2023

1.Watching The River Flow (Bob on baby grand piano)
2.Most Likely You Go Your Way (and I'll Go Mine)
(Bob on baby grand piano)
3.I Contain Multitudes (Bob on baby grand piano)
4.False Prophet (Bob on baby grand piano)
5.When I Paint My Masterpiece (Bob on baby grand piano)
6.Black Rider (Bob on baby grand piano)
7.My Own Version of You (Bob on baby grand piano)
8.I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob on baby grand piano)
9.Crossing The Rubicon (Bob on baby grand piano)
10.To Be Alone With You (Bob on baby grand piano)
11.Key West (Philosopher Pirate) (Bob on baby grand piano)
12.Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob on baby grand piano)
13.I've Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You
(Bob on baby grand piano)
14.That Old Black Magic (Bob on baby grand piano)
15.Mother of Muses (Bob on baby grand piano)
--Band introductions
16Goodbye Jimmy Reed (Bob on baby grand piano)
17.Every Grain of Sand (Bob on baby grand piano)

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

I Recall Seeing Bob Dylan in Brooklyn Twice

 Tonight's the big night as I am going to see Bob Dylan at the King's Theater in Brooklyn.  There will certainly be a journal entry tomorrow.

There were two other times I saw Dylan in Brooklyn

August 2008 in Prospect Park

November 2012 at Barclay's Center

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Knicks 129 Charlotte Hornets 107 at Madison Square Garden


Tickets at Madison Square Garden are very expensive so I have to limit the number of games I can attend.  Since this was an afternoon game, we decided to see the Knicks.  It was a good game as the Knicks recorded season-highs in point and shooting percentage. R.J. Barrett scored 24 points; Jalen Brunson had 23 points while Julius Randle also scored 23 points to lead the Knicks.  The Knicks also took advantage of the poor Charlotte defense.

The Knicks are now 5-4, but it is a very long season followed by the playoffs.  It could be a successful season if the Knicks can play future games as they did today.  It has been 50 years since the Knicks last won the NBA championship.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Danny Fingeroth - Facebook Friend of the Day

This is the first time in years that I have honored a Facebook friend of the day.  I met Danny in the online Bob Dylan discussion group that meets monthly.  He presented at the Bob Dylan Symposium in Tulsa on a panel exploring Dylan's connection to comics.  Danny is best known for his expertise in comics as he has written several books about comics including a biography of Stan Lee.  He is a co-curator of an exhibit at the Center for Jewish History that I visited last month.

Right now, I am listening to an interview on Pod Dylan where he is talking about his forthcoming biography of Jack Ruby who murdered Lee Harvey Oswald, JFK's assassin.

I just ordered the book from  I watched the murder of Oswald on TV back on November 24, 1963.  Most people today were not living at the time of the JFK assassination.  Danny says he interviewed Ruby's rabbi and a few of his nieces and nephews.  In the podcast, Danny also discusses Dylan's song Murder Most Foul.


Thursday, November 9, 2023

More Random Thoughts - November 9, 2023

  • I am still debating whether I should upgrade to an iPhone 15.  My iPhone 8 is running just fine.  The only difference is the more sophisticated camera in the newer model.  They are certainly advertising it like crazy.
  • Likewise. My laptop is still running on Windows 10.  The general advice I received is not to upgrade to Windows 11 until it is absolutely necessary to do so.  I understand that Microsoft will support Windows 10 until October 2025.  Likely, by then I'll need a new computer.
  • I watched The Last Waltz on DVD again yesterday.  Garth Hudson is the only living member of The Band.


Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Random Thoughts of the Day - November 7, 2023

Today is Election Day, but there are very few races of interest.  In my district, there are elections for District Attorney and City Councilman.  When I went to the poll at 7:45 AM there must have been at least five poll workers for every voter.

The Met hired the Yankee's bench coach Carlos Mendoza as manager.  He has no major league managerial experience but held several positions for the Yankees over the years.  Craig Counsell who was the favorite to land the position with the Mets, just signed a contract to manage the Chicago Cubs for $40 Million over five years.  No manager should be paid that much.  Mendoza will get $4.5 Million over three years, but will he last that long?  Only time will tell how he will work out as manager.

I cannot understand how anyone in his right mind could want Donald Trump as President.  He was indicted on 91 counts in four jurisdictions. He belongs in jail.


Sunday, November 5, 2023

Mazel Tov to Al Kooper on His Induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame


I have followed Al Kooper's career since 1965 when he led the Blues Project some people called the Jewish Beatles.  After that he founded Blood, Sweat, and Tears.  I fondly remember Super Session when he recorded with Stephen Stills and Mike Bloomfield.  He recorded several albums as a solo artist.

I saw him twice in concert:
He played on Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone session in 1965 and appeared with Dylan at the August 1965 at Forest Hill when the folk purists booed him.  He discovered and produced Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Al played on recordings by Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, Paul Butterfield, BB King, Tom Petty and dozens more.

Here are some websites of interest:
A hearty Mazel Tov to Al

Saturday, November 4, 2023

The Gateway Project is Finally Moving Forward


The Gateway Project involves the building of two new railroad tunnels between New York and New Jersey for Amtrak and New Jersey Transit. The two old tunnels are in such poor condition that trains running into and out of the city are often delayed by signal failures and problems with the overhead wires that provide power to their engines.  If you read my companion commuting blog  you know that umpteen times between 1992 and 2017 when I commuted to Newark, I encountered delays.  When one tunnel was down, there would be single tracking when Amtrak trains were given preference over New Jersey Transit trains.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the alleged criminal Donald Trump delayed this project for years.  New York Senator Chuck Schumer has lined up over $10 Billion for the project also supported by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and President Biden.

The project will not be completed until 2035.  It obviously won't do me any good, but future commuters will be spared miserable delays.

The story was documented in the New York Times.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

I Have Lost Confidence in Our Government


Adlai Stevenson ran for president in 1952 and 1956 and lost to Dwight Eisenhower both times.  I found this quote of his that strikes close to home.  I was aghast to find out that a majority of the members of the House of Representatives voted against expelling George Santos.  This man blatantly lied about his credentials when he ran for office.  That alone should cause his colleagues to expel him. He also faces 23 felony counts of crimes including wire fraud, credit card fraud, aggravated identity theft, and falsifying records.  He is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but I expect the utmost integrity in all elected and appointed governmental offices.  I am glad that my representative, Grace Meng, voted for expulsion.

Likewise, I cannot believe that so many elected officials believe Donald Trump's claim that the 2020 election was stolen.  The voters are stupid for supporting a man who is under indictment for 91 counts in four jurisdictions.  I pray for the sake of our democracy that he is never again President of the United States.  

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Is Handy Dandy an Autobiographical Sketch of Bob Dylan?

I am currently reading Mixing Up the Medicine as I approach a contribution by Larry "Ratso" Sloman about Handy Dandy which he believes is an auto-biographical sketch of Dylan.  Listen to the song and read the lyrics and you can decide.

Handy Dandy

Handy Dandy, controversy surrounds him

He been around the world and back again

Something in the moonlight still hounds him

Handy Dandy, just like sugar and candy

Handy Dandy, if every bone in his body was broken he would never admit it

He got an all-girl orchestra and when he says

“Strike up the band,” they hit it

Handy Dandy, Handy Dandy

You say, “What are ya made of?”

He says, “Can you repeat what you said?”

You’ll say, “What are you afraid of?”

He’ll say, “Nothin’! Neither ’live nor dead.”

Handy Dandy, he got a stick in his hand and a pocket full of money

He says, “Darling, tell me the truth, how much time I got?”

She says, “You got all the time in the world, honey”

Handy Dandy, Handy Dandy

He’s got that clear crystal fountain

He’s got that soft silky skin

He’s got that fortress on the mountain

With no doors, no windows, no thieves can break in

Handy Dandy, sitting with a girl named Nancy in a garden feelin’ kind of lazy

He says, “Ya want a gun? I’ll give ya one.” She says, “Boy, you talking crazy”

Handy Dandy, just like sugar and candy

Handy Dandy, pour him another brandy

Handy Dandy, he got a basket of flowers and a bag full of sorrow

He finishes his drink, he gets up from the table, he says

“Okay, boys, I’ll see you tomorrow”

Handy Dandy, Handy Dandy, just like sugar and candy

Handy Dandy, just like sugar and candy
Copyright © 1990 by Special Rider Music

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