Category Archives: Commentary

If The Strand Bookstore is Not Doomed, Then What’s Going On?

The Legendary Strand Bookstore Sure Looks Like It Will Soon Be Out Of Business

The Writing Is Not On The Wall, But On The Shelves

Outside Strand Bookstore April 2021

Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 was playing over the sound system at the Strand Bookstore on Broadway and 12th Street this week. It’s a classical composition heightened with drama and a dirge-like quality. And unfortunately it suits the current state of Strand.

The atmosphere of Strand now resembles a morgue. It’s a shell of what it has been to generations of New Yorkers.

A Store In Trouble

While the pandemic has put thousands of retail shops down for the count permanently, the 94-year-old Strand has tenaciously hung in there. Labor disputes at the store have been featured in the news and an appeal to buyers to support the Strand made International news headlines in the autumn.

But from what I’ve seen, it appears that saving the Strand will be difficult. Continue reading

5 Bands With Songs That Sound Like Led Zeppelin

Hey Is That Led Zeppelin?

Bands That Can Sound A Lot Like Led Zeppelin

Maybe this article should be titled “bands that sound like Robert Plant” as it is Plant’s unique vocals that are being channeled.

Plant himself has never been a big fan of others trying to sound like Led Zeppelin. Plant called Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page’s 1993 pairing with Whitesnake / Deep Purple lead singer David Coverdale – David Cover Version.

If you heard any of the following songs without knowing who it was, you might think it’s Led Zeppelin.

Unsurprisingly the lead singers of these bands can do pretty good cover versions of Zeppelin. We’ll have two samples from each band – one original composition and one Zeppelin cover if they have ever covered the mighty Zep.

Great White

To me, Jack Russell of Great White naturally sounds more like Robert Plant than any other professional singer.

This song Save Your Love is from the 1987 album Once Bitten.

This 2011 live version of Led Zeppelin’s Ramble On is spot on vocally even if the rest of the band doesn’t capture the Zeppelin magic. Russell’s intonations on certain lyrics like “I’m much o-bli-ged, such a plea-sant stay,” sound exactly like Plant. A great cover.

Zebra

The next band is a label-mate of Led Zeppelin. Continue reading

Rare 1971 Tonight Show Clip With Johnny Carson & The Hilarious Bob Uecker

Johnny Carson Looks At Press Photos With Bob Uecker, Going Over Bob’s Legendary Baseball Career

In the mid-90s actor Leslie Nielsen was doing publicity for a comedic book “Bad Golf My Way.”  The radio stations who set up interviews with Nielsen expected the star of “Airplane” and  “Police Squad / The Naked Gun” to be as witty as the man who was in those movies.

While Leslie Nielsen had a sense of humor he was not a funny man. The public seems to forget that writers write those funny lines for actors to say.

Nielsen did his best, doing four hours of back to back interviews with FM stations across the country. But the radio hosts mostly got a reality check. Just because you’re a comedic actor does not translate into being a funny guest.

On the other hand Bob Uecker was a professional baseball catcher for six seasons in the 1960s who had a career .200 batting average. While Uecker was by his own estimate not a particularly good ballplayer, he was very funny. Uecker parlayed his natural sense of humor into a fifty year career as a baseball announcer and talk show guest, and he is still going strong, The 87-year-old Uecker remains the radio voice of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Here is Uecker’s seventh appearance on The Tonight Show, September 23, 1971.

What makes this clip rare is that for the first 10 years that Carson hosted The Tonight Show from New York, almost every tape was subsequently erased. Continue reading

Capitals Tom Wilson Injures Bruins Brandon Carlo – How The NHL Should Punish Players

Washington Capitals Tom Wilson’s Vicious Hit On Bruins Brandon Carlo Draws A Light Punishment

A Simple Solution On How The NHL Should Determine Future Suspensions

Capitals Tom Wilson (43) about to slam Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo’s (25) head into the plexiglass. March 5, 2021

It’s not like a ton of people watch hockey or care about it. But for those who do love the game they like it to be played clean. Yes there are occasional fights, but generally the game requires a substantial skill set and most of the time dirty play is absent from hockey.

Hockey is inherently a fast and sometimes violent game. On Friday, March 5, the Washington Capitals Tom Wilson hit Boston Bruins Brandon Carlo with a vicious slam to the head.

Upon review, this play was reckless. It appears not to be a heat of the moment hard check on Wilson’s part, but an intentional attempt to disable. From this play there could be long term implications for Carlo’s health and playing career. Wilson and his teammates believe that this was a “clean hit.”

The Hit

Decide for yourself if this was clean or dirty:

Without leaving his feet Wilson angles his entire body up towards Carlo then piledrives Carlo’s head into the glass. Carlo grabs his head and then collapses. As one commenter on youtube wrote “It was an unnecessary, malicious, intentional, cowardly hit on an unaware player who was playing the puck.” Continue reading

The Soon Not To Be Cleveland “Indians” At Spring Training 1954

Indians About To Tackle The Cameraman? No, Just A Foot Race At Spring Training 1954

Here we see the Cleveland Indians at spring training in 1954. The news slug reads:

Tucson, Arizona: Speed is what manager Al Lopez wants and these three outfielders got it. They are left to right – Larry Doby, Gale Wade and Dave Philley. photo : UPI Telephoto 3/5/54

They’ve been called the  Cleveland Indians since 1915 but the team will abandon their moniker after the 2021 season.

Are Native Americans truly offended by the name Indians? With partisan and politically motivated surveys and popular polls there is contradictory evidence that self-identifying Native Americans are bothered by the name “Indians.” Continue reading

What Happened To Celebrating George Washington’s Birthday?

The United States Used To Celebrate George Washington’s Birthday

Now It Is Ignored

How We Stopped Honoring One Of The Greatest Americans

The Life of George Washington Harper’s Weekly February 27, 1864

Growing up in the seventies, we didn’t get a “winter break” at school in mid-February for a full week. School in February was closed on two days: February 12 for celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday and February 22 for George Washington’s Birthday. That is if one of the days didn’t fall on a weekend!

Grammar school teachers made a big deal out of our two great presidents. We learned all about Washington and Lincoln leading up to the holidays. Washington secured our liberty and Lincoln preserved it. The two were somewhat distant historical figures, yet their importance was still to be held in some amount of reverence.

From the time he came to prominence during the Revolution, George Washington, The Father of our Country was practically worshiped by its citizens. This was true for nearly two hundred years, Washington was thought of and remembered as a great American. He was honored with place namings and later his own holiday.

That is until the late twentieth century when George Washington’s Birthday became the victim of bureaucrats.

How Washington’s Birthday Became A Holiday

George Washington’s Final Birthday 1799 Harper’s Weekly Feb. 25, 1899

George Washington’s Birthday was the first federal holiday to single out an individual’s birth date. Continue reading

The Average New Car Cost $814 & Other Fascinating Factoids From 1924

In 1924, 3,650,000 Cars Were Produced In The USA Costing An Average of $814

10 Factoids From The New York Merchants’ Association

A typical fact filled issue of the Greater New York Bulletin of the Merchants’ Association of New York The February 16, 1925

The defunct weekly trade magazine Greater New York – Bulletin of the New York Merchants’ Association contains news and articles related to business affairs. The Bulletin did not just limit themselves to New York related items, but highlighted national and international stories.

Paging through the 1925 issues of the magazine, I found beneath the feature articles some very interesting two and three line factoids concerning statistics from previous years.

Here are 10 of these factoids with headlines reprinted verbatim, with my comments below them in blue.

1- Use of Telephones
The City of New York contains more telephones than all of South America, Africa and Oceania combined. Within this area lie the great English speaking commonwealths of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and the rapidly growing republics of Brazil, Argentina and Chile. There, too, lie great cities, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Capetown, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland.

Verizon abandoned their copper lines in New York City a few years ago. How many years before there are no landline telephones, just cellular phones?

2- Nine Big Incomes
Only nine persons reported net incomes of $3,000,000 or greater for 1922, and four of these reported that their net incomes were greater than $5,000,000. Two of these in the 5,000,000 class lived in Michigan, one in New York and one in New Jersey.

Hmmm. Michigan? Calling Mr. Henry Ford? By contrast according to the IRS, in 2012, the top 400 earners in the USA reported average income of $335.7 million. Continue reading

A New York City Snowstorm In 2021 & 1857

Big Snowstorm. Big Deal. New York City – Then and Now 1857 & 2021

New Yorkers making their way along Centre Street during a huge snowstorm. The building is the Tombs prison.  February 1857 Ballou’s Pictorial Magazine 2-21-1857

“Congealed rain, frozen particles, precipitated from the clouds, and preserved by the coldness of the atmosphere in a frozen state until they reach the earth.” Continue reading

The Last Daughter of The American Revolution Died 160 Years After The End Of The Revolution

The D.A.R.’s Last “Real Daughter” Died in 1943, 160 Years After The Conclusion of the American Revolution

You may think that the Daughters of the American Revolution is a moribund organization that no one cares about anymore.

If that is the popular perception, then of course we at Stuff Nobody Cares About would care.

Louisa Capron Thiers as a young woman  photo: Daughters of the American Revolution

I had given the Daughters of the American Revolution as much thought as the nocturnal habits of the ocelot. That is until I ran across a 1925 article about Mrs. Louisa Capron Thiers who was celebrating her 111th birthday. Continue reading