Author Archives: B.P.

If You Think Amazon’s Alexa Is Ruining The World, You’ll Love This Song

Alexa (Can You Hear Me?) – Beans On Toast’s Brilliant Song

Beans on Toast, a British musician came up with what I think is the best song (at least lyrically) in the last year.

Here is the video for Alexa —

In late 2014 a scandal emerged when Samsung’s Smart TV voice command recorded and shared everything within earshot, when the feature was activated. Samsung’s privacy policy (which almost no one read) warned, “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party,”  Some people were outraged.

Yet soon after, millions of people began to voluntarily install a true digital spy in their home, Amazon’s Alexa. It is sheer madness that people are willing to be monitored, quantified and algorithimed, but are not alarmed by the ultimate repercussions of the loss of privacy.

About Beans On Toast

Beans’ real name is Jay McAllister who hails from Braintree, Essex.  Since 2009 McAllister has annually released an album on his birthday, December 1.  Alexa is off of McAllister’s tenth  studio album, 2018’s, “A Bird In The Hand.”  Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #102 – Mott Street

A Scene On Mott Street c. 1905

The Detroit Publishing Co. photographer was probably intrigued by the spectators lining the sidewalk. This undated scene is from around 1905 based on the clothing and vehicles seen. We are looking north on Mott Street from Worth Street and something worth watching is going on.

A horse drawn coach is carrying a large model of a building upon it. It may have something to do with the building with the steeple in the background, which is the Church of the Transfiguration.

The model building has crosses on it and appears to be ecclesial. The fact that the horses are draped in white fabric signals this is a religious ceremony, rather than a funeral. The other horse drawn vehicles following the procession which are dark, does make the scene look funereal however.

In the foreground, a peanut cart is selling three measures of fresh roasted nuts for a dime. Continue reading

Hope For Rock N’ Roll? Amazing Kids Playing Deep Purple’s “Burn”

There Are Kids Who Are Learning What Music Really Is

Maybe There’s Hope For The Appreciation of Rock n’ Roll

Believe it or not I’m not that old. But I have lived long enough to have witnessed the virtual death of rock ‘n roll and the talent that is necessary to compose and perform it. To clarify, perform on an actual instrument, not a computer. An instrument that requires thousands s of hours of practice to not just have competence but to excel and display true talent.

Yet, when you go into almost any store like Sephora, Pac Sun or Hollister, in any mall in America you are bombarded by some loud sounds emanating from the store’s sound system. It’s the popular music of today.

It’s an assault on any adult entering with kids but that is why they are playing; A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Bebe Rexha, Rich The Kid, Lil Dicky, or Nipsey Hussle.

The stores play the Billboard Hot 100 pop dreck, hip-hop, or heavily computerized, synthesized autotune junk that appeals to kids and teens. Stores want them to shop there and that is what kids listen to and have grown up on for the last three decades. These kids and many of their elders know no other form of what they think passes for music. They like the instrument-less, undifferentiated ear candy which has permeated the minds of malleable Millennials  and Generation Z for over 30 years.

But not all kids.

Here is the evidence. In Easton, PA in 2017 Houseband, apparently from the local School of Rock comprised of teens, playing Deep Purple’s “Burn.”

Realize, throughout history every adult generally despises music that is popular with their kids. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #79 – Dana Andrews, Harry Morgan & B.S. Pully

At A Nightclub Dana Andrews and B.S. Pully Start To Shave Harry Morgan (Sans Shaving Cream)

Harry Morgan Dana Andrews BS Pully at nightclub 1946 photo Nat Dallinger King Features

Attending a night club with a full beard which he wears for a current film role, actor Henry Morgan, was quickly spotted by fellow actors B.S. Pully, left, and Dana Andrews who proceeded to attempt a dry-shave to the delight of other patrons. Many film actors prefer to raise their own beards rather than spend hours in studio makeup rooms having false whiskers applied. Furthermore it adds a touch of realism to the actions of the wearer. photo Nat Dallinger for King Features Syndicate.

Although undated this photograph was probably taken sometime in 1944. Andrews, Morgan and Pully all appeared together in the film Wing and a Prayer. Morgan was bearded for his role as Ensign Malcom Brainard. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #101 – Lunch Carts In The Financial District

Lunch Carts Serve Customers At The Corner Of Broad & Beaver Street 1906

Lunch carts 1906 Broad StreetA Detroit Publishing Co. photographer preserved this scene in 1906 at the corner of Broad and Beaver Street.

Then as now, food carts set up and do a brisk lunch business. This slice of life in old New York has many elements that can be seen by looking closer, so let’s examine them.

Frankfurters are advertised at 3¢ each or two for a nickel! The same sign informs (warns?) purchasers of an interesting caveat: “No frankfurters sold during the summer.” Hmmm. Possibility of food poisoning? I could not find any explanation in contemporary literature to why a sign would say this.

How profitable was it to be a hot dog vendor? Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #100 – Broadway From Broome Street c.1870

Broadway Looking North From Broome Street On A Rainy Day C. 1870

Our scene is a rainy day in New York City and that is what makes this photograph a little unusual. Setting up the large bulky cameras then available required patience, time and usually nice weather. The last thing you’d want is to get your expensive camera wet!

The photographer for this 1870s stereoview set his camera up on the 2nd floor of a building on Broome Street and Broadway. Perhaps an overhang protected him from the elements. Broome Street was named after John Broome, a veteran of the Revolutionary War and later a city alderman. Continue reading

Oh Brother! Could They Pitch – The Dean, Perry, Martinez & Niekro Brothers

Winning Brothers, Dizzy & Daffy Dean

Dizzy & Daffy Dean 1935

Hold Chat On Bleachers

Dizzy and Daffy, those two Dean boys. Paul on the left looks a little skeptical as Dizzy shows his brother the way a ball is held for a “hook”. Just before the Giants and Cardinals got going  March 15 at Flamingo Park, Miami Beach, Florida, these two boys held a chat on the bleachers. The Giants defeated the Cardinals 2-0. — 3/17/1935 Associated Press Photo

In the history of Major League Baseball there have been many brothers who have each taken the mound to be pitchers. For both of them to be successful however, is another story. Continue reading

Brooklyn Dodgers And Fans Avoid A Foul Ball In Spring Training 1953

Look Out! – No Screens, Fences or Protection For Brooklyn Dodgers Players or Fans At Spring Training

Clearwater, FL, March 26, 1953 – Brooklyn Dugout and Fans Dodge Fly Foul Ball – George Shuba, Ben Wade and Coach Jake Pitler cover up. photo: International News

Ah, the baseball spring training of yesteryear.

Note the deluxe dugout and lavish seats for the players.

Behind coach Pitler, as the fans scatter, Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella tracks the foul ball which is headed into the stands. It appears that there are only a couple of hundred people in attendance for this spring training game. The fans sit in bleacher type seating with no backs

Today many spring training games attract thousands of fans in souped-up ballparks offering fancy amenities. Fans are also now “protected” from foul balls with an obstruction called a “safety net.”

To show you how much the game has changed, Dodgers starting pitcher Preacher Roe Continue reading

In The Early 1900s Americans Celebrated the 4th Of July Exuberantly, Though It Killed & Maimed Lots Of ‘Em

At The Turn-Of The Century, 4th of July Celebrations Injured Thousands and Killed Hundreds of Revelers

4th of July Accidents - 1915 World AlmanacThis small informative chart was reprinted in the 1915 World Almanac. The Journal of the American Medical Association provided the statistics of accidents occurring during Fourth of July celebrations from 1904 – 1914.

According to the AMA the most accident prone cities were:

Pittsburgh, PA
Cincinnati, OH
Providence, RI
Worcester, MA
Syracuse, NY
Omaha, NE
Grand Rapids, MI
Hartford, CT
Reading, PA
Wilmington, DE
Des Moines, IA

In a large city, like Philadelphia, PA, 22 were killed and 422 injured on July 4, 1907. Usually the cause was fireworks related.

Do's and Don't of Fireworks New York Tribune 1908

A fireworks warning to children (who were smart enough to read a newspaper?) from The New York Tribune, 1908

Foolish acts by children causing injuries included pinning a string of firecrackers on to the back of another unsuspecting child. Another dim-witted act was throwing a lighted firecracker or shooting a roman candle at somebody. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #99 – The New York City Newsstand

The New York City Newsstand – 1903

New York City Newsstand 1903

Underneath the elevated train station stairs we see the prolific New York City newsstand.This photograph comes from one of our standby sources, the Detroit Publishing Co. archives held by the Library of Congress.

Besides the caption “A Characteristic Sidewalk Newstand, New York City,” there is scant information about the scene. At least the photograph is dated 1903. Continue reading