Audiobooking 2: Listen Up! November 12, 2015Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Basketball, Blu-ray, Christmas, Comedy, Commentary, DVD, Film, News, Personal, Politics, Sports, TV, Video.
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Early last December, I listed all the audiobooks I had listened to while working out between June and the day I wrote the post. I said “there [would] be more audiobooks to come in the weeks ahead.” This follow-up post will list those books, all of which I listened to on Audible.
Since my misadventure with Dick Cavett’s left-leaning
book collection of New York Times blog posts, I’ve only listened to apolitical or right-leaning audiobooks.
From last December to now, here is what has guided me through workouts, bedtime, and boredom:
- Rush Revere and the American Revolution by Rush Limbaugh & Kathryn Adams Limbaugh (read by Rush) – This was the first fiction audiobook – historical fiction, to be exact – that I listened to. Rush Revere and his talking horse, Liberty, take a boy named Cam back to the year 1775.
- All By My Selves: Walter, Peanut, Achmed, and Me by Jeff Dunham – Last December, I immersed myself in all things Jeff Dunham. I bought DVDs of his first three comedy specials – Arguing with Myself, Spark of Insanity, and Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special – watched The Jeff Dunham Show on Amazon Prime, and bought Blu-rays of his next three specials – Controlled Chaos, Minding the Monsters, and All Over the Map. Those got me through the last week of 2014 and the first few days of 2015. It was a refreshing change of pace after watching
allmost episodes of Wings on DVD for seven weeks. All By My Selves took up half of January. It was written back in 2010 and chronicles Jeff’s life from birth to meeting his now-wife Audrey, and all my favorite characters: Walter, Peanut, Achmed, Jose, and Bubba J. For the record, I’ve pre-ordered Unhinged in Hollywood on Blu-ray. It comes out next Tuesday, my 34th birthday.
- 41: A Portrait of My Father by President George W. Bush – A biography of the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush, as told by the 43rd. It was quite a journey. I know more about the Walkers and Bushes than I knew before.
- Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography by Rob Lowe – The title speaks for itself
- The YES Factor: Get What You Want, Say What You Mean, The Secrets of Persuasive Communication by Tonya Reiman – I bought this back in 2010, but I felt like listening to it again.
- Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off the Court by Jay Bilas – There was plenty of advice in this book, but one stands out in my mind: “Next play.” Toughness and The YES Factor were both published by Gildan Media, which meant the theme music was the same.
- End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun) by Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson – As someone that can’t stand the outrage culture, this book really spoke to me. I found myself agreeing aloud and nodding my head several times.
- Getting Real by Gretchen Carlson – Another autobiography.
- Daddy, Stop Talking! And Other Things My Kids Want But Won’t Be Getting by Adam Carolla – Adam’s take on parenthood, and certain musicians, with a little help from Sonny and Natalia, his fraternal twin children.
- Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard – It was late September, which meant it was time for the latest “Killing” book from O’Reilly and Dugard. While John Hinckley did not kill President Ronald Reagan, the assassination attempt did accelerate his Alzheimer’s disease. The book isn’t a deification, which has irked people like George Will, but I loved it. I also liked actor Robert Petkoff’s narration. This was the first audiobook I listened to that wasn’t read by the author. Bill O’Reilly did, however, read the introduction and epilogue.
- Yes, My Accent is Real, and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You by Kunal Nayyar – How do you follow up a historical thriller? With a lighthearted autobiography, of course. Each chapter is an essay, working in chronological order from Kunal’s youth in New Delhi to his marriage to Neha Kapur. I just finished listening yesterday while peddling rapidly on my portable elliptical machine.
I have many more audiobooks I plan on listening to between now and the next post, whenever that will come. Just today, I started Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes’ book on Jack Kemp. It’s called Jack Kemp: The Bleeding-Heart Conservative Who Changed America. After that, I’ll move on to the another Rush Revere book: Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner. Then, a series of autobiographies should keep me occupied through the summer. Until next time…
Don’t Be a Pinhead Tour at Westbury recap May 3, 2015Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, Books, Comedy, Commentary, Media, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Theatre, TV.
According to WordPress, this is my 350th post at MikeChimeri.com.
My dad and were seated in Section B, Row H.
The show was scheduled to begin at 8:00, but didn’t start until 8:09. At that time, Bill got on the P.A. system and directed the crowd to “please greet Dennis Miller!”
Dennis’ first joke was “Hi, #Hello #GoodEvening.” Here are some of the topics of his 35-minute set:
- Hillary Clinton
- James Carville
- Other potential Democratic presidential candidates
- Bill Ayers
- John Kerry
- Potential Republican presidential candidates
- John Boehner
- Green hotel
- Apple Watch
- Weird sports day – “Floyd Mayweather won the Kentucky Derby”
- Harry Reid
- Pope Francis
- Nancy Pelosi
After the last Pelosi joke, Bill walked toward the stage and exclaimed, “Dennis Miller, everybody!” Bill’s 35-minute set included:
- His hard scrabble upbringing in Levitttown
- Hillary Clinton
- President Barack Obama
- One poll on each of the two
- James Carville
- The previous two presidential campaigns (McCain, Romney)
- Romney’s 2012 primary opponents
- How Bill got the five living presidents to sign pictures of them to raise money for track chairs
Intermission was 15 minutes, after which Bill and Dennis returned to the stage for Q&A. Once again, they sat in chairs while the stage rotated. Highlights of this part were:
- A question from Barry in Syosset led Dennis to joke “Barry’s got Syosset?”
- Dennis’ nicknames for Vice President Joe Biden: “Jar Jar Biden,” “Plugs MacKenzie”
- The Saturday Night Live parody of Hillary Clinton’s campaign launch
- Bill and Dennis won’t endorse any candidates for 2016
- Dennis’ stories of traveling with Pres. George W. Bush
- Stories from Bill and Dennis’ trips to Iraq
- A plug for the Rockin’ the Boat benefit on May 21
- What is a pinhead?
- The Killing books (Dennis’ book: Killing Lincoln Logs)
- Bill’s infamous appearance on The View in October 2010
And with that, the night was over. Bill and Dennis left to a standing ovation. Dennis paraphrased Jackie Gleason by saying “Long Island audiences are the greatest audiences in the world.” It was certainly an entertaining two hours.
If you want to see the Don’t Be a Pinhead Tour, get your tickets fast because the shows sell out in a hurry. The next three shows in Cleveland and Memphis next month, and Atlantic City in August, are all sold out. I recommend watching the Miller Time segment every Wednesday on The O’Reilly Factor to see if new dates are added. So far, Atlantic City is it.
If any viewer e-mails from audience members are read on The Factor this week, I will update this post with those e-mails and Bill’s replies.
5/8 UPDATE: There weren’t any viewer e-mails from audience members this week, but dates were added to the tour this fall. You can find them here.
2015 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony April 28, 2015Posted by Mike C. in Interviews, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology, TV, Video.
Saturday afternoon, the WCWP Hall of Fame inducted four more alumni in a ceremony inside the Goldsmith Atrium at LIU Post’s Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. In order of induction, this year’s inductees were Jeff Kroll, Bruce Leonard, Bobby Guthenberg, and Mike Riccio.
It was the third year in a row where the ceremony coincided with bright sunshine outside, allowing for plenty of natural light to illuminate the atrium.
I arrived about 90 minutes early following a drive of the same length from the Hampton Inn in Milford, Connecticut, after attending the first night of Smooth Jazz for Scholars. Slowly but surely, the inductees, their families, and fellow alumni filled the atirum and the ceremony began.
Now that you’ve seen the pictures, enjoy the video:
Congratulations to Jeff Kroll, Bruce Leonard, Bobby Guthenberg, and Mike Riccio, the 2015 WCWP Hall of Fame class!
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In a 52-hour period, my area went from snow to sleet and freezing rain to rain and back.
It all began late Tuesday afternoon. A couple of inches of snow fell before the evening changeover, but it was washed away by the rain. Temperatures got as high as the mid 40s on Wednesday, allowing me to clear any slush set into the driveway by tire tracks.
For a while, it seemed like there wouldn’t be too much snow on Thursday. Computer forecast models were pushing the snow south. But as night fell, the models yanked the storm back north and had it starting and ending later. 4 to 8 inches of snow were forecast, with News 12 Long Island upping that to 5 to 10 on Thursday morning.
The rain changed to wet snow at around sunrise, switching to regular snow as the morning progressed and temperatures fell.
By afternoon, temperatures were down in the mid 20s and the snow continued to accumulate. I periodically brought my standard ruler to the driveway to measure. There were 2 inches at 11:40 AM, 4 1/2 inches at 2:22 PM, and 7 inches by 4:12.
But at 4:40, even though it was still snowing, I went out to the driveway and began shoveling. My sister came home ten minutes after I started and helped me shovel. We finished at 5:30.
After an hour break, which included a dinner of pasta and homemade ground turkey meat sauce, I went back outside for more shoveling. By now, the snow had ended. Another inch had fallen on top of what I shoveled earlier. This time, I only took a half hour.
The 8 inches of snow in my driveway matched the snow totals in Levittown, North Merrick, and Rockville Centre, according to the National Weather Service. Melville and East Northport ended up with 9 inches.
Below is a photo timeline of the snow from beginning to end, and then the day after (today).
Temperatures were in the low 20s, but the March sun was strong enough to melt the snow anyway. The high today was 30 degrees.
This is the last day with high temperatures below freezing for the foreseeable future, and maybe even for the season. And if this turned out to be the last snow of the season, it went out on a high note.
Five days of scanning January 30, 2015Posted by Mike C. in Bowling, Education, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology.
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As snow fell outside Monday afternoon, I was going through a drawer in my room where I keep some personal mementos. Then, I was struck with inspiration. I had been using my Epson WF-3520 All-in-One Printer in the guest room to copy a few documents this month, via the printer’s sheet feeder. Why not use that sheet feeder to scan any personal mementos that were on letter-size paper? That’s what I did all this week.
I started with bowling scorecards between 1998 and 2006, plus a handful more between September 2007 and September 2014. Then, I moved on to my final college transcript, a paper I wrote for Introduction to Journalism, an e-mail reply from Tom Snyder, two e-mail replies from voice over talent Dan Chandler, a flyer promoting my Mike Chimeri Show interview with Colin Mochrie, and radio show and Live365 radio station playlists. I scanned anything that wasn’t letter-size on the traditional scanner platen. This included dot matrix score sheets from AMF Wantagh Lanes and two desk calendar pages that were dated September 11, 2001. Playlists that were handwritten on letter-size legal paper had to be scanned on my Canon CanoScan LiDE210 in my room. Since what I wrote on the other side could be seen, I had to scan in black and white – not grayscale – giving the scans an old photocopy or fax look.
The radio show playlists spanned my career to date: The Mike Chimeri Show, The Instrumental Invasion, MCJN (Live365 station), a few demos, the night I filled in for Martin Phillips on the defunct Thursday Night Jazz show, Evening Jazz, CJazzPlus (Live365 station), and all my homecoming weekend shows.
In addition to the copy of my Intro to Journalism paper, I also saved papers by two of my classmates. The paper had us write a profile of a few of our classmates, based on press conference-style interviews our professor, Bernard Bard, previously a reporter for the New York Post, had arranged one week in mid-semester. I remember little about my presser, but there was one quote each of the classmates that wrote about me used:
Broadcasting is my thing, my calling. I belong in that field.
This was in March 2001. Seven months later, I began at WCWP. While I may have had volunteer success, I’m still waiting and hoping for professional success. If “my thing, my calling” doesn’t pan out, at least I have photo and document scanning to make a career of.
January 26-27 blizzard pictures January 28, 2015Posted by Mike C. in News, Personal, Photography, Weather.
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The first major storm of this winter hit Long Island from Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon. It was shaping up to be a catastrophic blizzard with snowfall amounts near three feet. But Nassau County was spared the worst, with amounts averaging to a foot and a half on the east side of the county and less than a foot on the west side. Like with the February 2013 blizzard, Suffolk County got more snow, especially on the East End. New England got what I feared we would get: two to three feet of snow. It makes me feel bad that my area was spared the worst.
What follows is a photographic timeline from the first of the storm’s effects to the last of them.
About a half hour later, I went outside to shovel what had fallen so far. I only shoveled the front end of the driveway. At the time, I assumed I would have another two feet to shovel the next day.
As the night progressed, computer forecast models pushed the storm further and further east, which meant less snow by us.
Judging by the snowfall total for nearby Seaford (16.6 inches) and Massapequa (17.8 inches), I figure there was about 15 inches in Wantagh.
The shoveling was a team effort between me and my parents. We shoveled the driveway, including the curb, and I shoveled a path to the oil tank cap on the side of the house. I thought about shoveling the sidewalk, but my dad talked me out of that. I saved that for the next day.
I kept my word and shoveled the sidewalk, but only as far as the property line. My neighbor took care of his side.
A clipper is set to drop a quick inch or less tomorrow night. We may or may not have another winter storm Super Bowl Sunday night into Monday. If you don’t see a recap titled “February 1-2 winter storm/blizzard,” then the storm missed us to the south, as is currently forecast. I hope that’s the case.
2/3 UPDATE: It wasn’t the case. We got it.
Audiobooking December 2, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Baseball, Basketball, Broadway, Comedy, Commentary, Film, Health, Media, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Sports, Theatre, TV.
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While I may have indefinitely suspended photo album picture scanning, one constant since June has been audiobooks. What I’ve usually done is listen to a whole chapter while working out in the morning or on my portable elliptical machine in the afternoon. I only buy nonfiction and prefer that they are read by the author. I want to hear their words in their voice, not someone else’s, even if the author’s delivery is subpar.
This isn’t the first time I’ve listened to audiobooks. That goes back to a road trip with my parents and sister in January 1997, as we drove back from Florida. To show you how long ago that was, the audiobook was on cassettes. That book, The Hobbit, was the only time I’ve listened to fiction. It’s been all nonfiction since.
Between December 1997 – when I listened to The Big Show: A Tribute to ESPN’s SportsCenter – and June 2014, I would get an audiobook here and there, but I wasn’t a regular buyer. I didn’t exercise in the morning, either. That began in late March. It’s always best to get tough tasks out of the way early because your willpower drops as the day progresses. It helps to have something interesting to listen to while you’re working out, not something aggravating like politics and sports debate and discussion.
With all that in mind, I’ve listened to the following audiobooks, on CD or through Audible, since June:
- President Me: The America That’s In My Head by Adam Carolla (via CD) – an outline of all the things Adam would do to improve the United States if he were president
- Not Quite the Classics by Colin Mochrie (via Audible) – improvised stories based on the first and last lines of select novels and poems
- I’ll Be Back Right After This: My Memoir by Pat O’Brien (via Audible) – Pat’s memoir chronicled his early life, television career, and struggle with addiction. Knock on wood, Pat has been sober for six years and counting.
- Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (via CD) – This is the latest in Bill and Martin’s “Killing” series that factually recounts the events of historical figures leading up to their tragic deaths. Their previous books focused on Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Jesus of Nazareth, respectively.
- Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? by Billy Crystal (via Audible) – Billy’s memoir ran the gamut of emotions, from funny to heartbreaking, recalling major events in each decade of his life as of publication last year. I learned things I never knew and recalled fond memories of what I already knew. The only downside to the book is that Billy peppered his liberal ideology throughout it, outlining his liberal points of view and maligning right-leaning personalities and media. I’m not a lockstep conservative, but I do tend to take criticism of or jokes about people, places, and things that I like personally. But I didn’t let that completely ruin the listening experience.
- Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large by William Shatner with Chris Regan (via CD) – When I was searching for the next audiobook to listen to, as Still Foolin’ ‘Em was winding down, I recalled William Shatner had a memoir out called Up Till Now: The Autobiography. But then I noticed that Shatner Rules had come out later than Up Till Now. So, I opted for Shatner Rules instead. The big message I took from the book was to say “yes” to as many things as possible. “‘No’ closes doors,” William said. “‘Yes’ kicks them wide open.” Shatner briefly drifted into politics, too, but the environmental kind. His doomsday scenarios were frightening. I didn’t let that completely ruin the listening experience. (ding) Rule: I highly recommend Shatner Rules as either the written book or spoken audiobook.
- Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks by Dick Cavett (via Audible) – It was here that I did let politics completely ruin the listening experience. This is not a memoir. It is a compilation of Dick’s columns at The New York Times’ Opiniator blog. That structure is similar to that for Things That Matter, a compilation of Charles Krauthammer’s columns over his 30-year career to date. Charles is Dick’s polar opposite. But I didn’t know any of that until my second day of listening. And it was this rant of a column that Dick read for Brief Encounters – combined with frustration that the book was not what I expected – that led me to request a refund from Audible. Thankfully, they granted it. I did learn a few things, though, about Dick’s days writing for The Tonight Show. I also learned that Arthur Godfrey preferred to address only one member of the listening or viewing audience (“you”), not the entire audience (“everybody”).
- Scribe: My Life in Sports by Bob Ryan (via Audible) – I bought this in place of Brief Encounters. I’ve been listening for nearly a week and I’m enjoying it.
There will be more audiobooks to come in the weeks ahead as I continue to try to keep myself in shape.
Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk September 29, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Fire, Health, Internet, Military, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Police, Travel, TV.
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I was in New York City yesterday for the annual Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk. I signed up back in May after my dad recommended it to me. He was impressed by all the running I had done, and at such a fast pace. The fast pace back then occurred on the treadmill, but that has extended to the outdoors since I signed up. September alone was a landmark month for me, as I routinely ran 3.6 miles in about 38 minutes. Conditioning like that prepared me for yesterday.
The day began dark and early at 4:30 AM when my alarm clock woke me up. I tried to go to sleep early and get a decent amount of hours in, but I was only able to get about three hours of sleep. I spent about an hour getting ready and was out the door with my dad at 5:30.
We traveled to Point Lookout with eleven others from Dad’s firehouse, Freeport Excelsior Hook and Ladder Co. 1. There, we joined a bigger team from Point Lookout Lido Fire Department’s 2nd Battalion.
I didn’t bring my Nikon D5100, settling on my iPhone 5 for all pictures seen in this recap.
Three buses took us to Red Hook, Brooklyn. Our Freeport team boarded first of those three.
We arrived in Red Hook shortly before 9:00.
20 minutes later, we began the long stop-and-go walk to the starting line.
Along the way, we passed Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic Church:
Their bell rang as we passed by.
And away we went!
I didn’t think I’d be able to run because of the amount of people participating. But once we crossed the starting line, I did run, though not for the entire 5K.
As I ran and walked through the tunnel, music was pumped in through speakers and various runners yelled patriotic chants. It was surreal, but I enjoyed it.
The tunnel seemed to go on forever. While 1.73 miles is a mere two minutes by car, in light traffic, I was in there for 25 minutes on foot.
My official time, listed here (search chimeri), was 0:50:36.
On my way back, there were two early buses and one late bus. The early buses were full, so I and most of the Freeport team had to wait for the late bus. While we waited, we had lunch at Greenwich Street Tavern in TriBeCa.
We were finished eating just in time to board the late bus back. It took nearly two hours to return to Point Lookout due to heavy traffic, and a half hour to return home to Wantagh.
The Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk was an amazing and awesome (in the literal sense) experience. If you haven’t signed up for it before, I recommend you try it at least once.
9/30 UPDATE: The full text results can be seen here.
June 17, 1994 June 17, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Basketball, Education, Golf, Hockey, Media, News, Personal, Sports, TV, Video.
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I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the white Bronco in the room (as opposed to an elephant). Many things occurred 20 years ago today, as the June 17, 1994 ESPN 30 for 30 film – which is not affiliated with this post – documented:
- The New York Rangers’ ticker tape parade along the Canyon of Heroes and ceremony at New York City Hall, three nights after winning the Stanley Cup
- Arnold Palmer’s last round at a U.S. Open, held that year at Oakmont Country Club (the last U.S. Open carried by ABC; covered that day by ESPN)
- Game 5 of the 1994 NBA Finals, in which the New York Knicks defeated the Houston Rockets at Madison Square Garden to take a 3-2 series lead (they went on to lose the last two games in Houston)
O.J. Simpson and Al Cowlings in a slow-speed police chase in O.J.’s white Ford Bronco
Also that day was:
5. One final exam for me at Wantagh Middle School (I’m not sure what subject; probably Social Studies)
For more on #4, I refer to video of ABC News’ coverage of the chase and a retrospective report from Fox News Channel’s Shepard Smith Reporting.
This concludes my obligatory acknowledgement.
2014 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony April 12, 2014Posted by Mike C. in DVD, Interviews, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology, TV, Video.
Last Saturday, the WCWP Hall of Fame welcomed four new inductees in a ceremony in the Goldsmith Atrium at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. This year’s inductees were Rita Sands, Frank D’Elia, Ted David, and the late Bill Epperhart.
You can see videos of the ceremony at the end, but first, the pictures:
Then, reflections of Bill Epperhart began. Dan shared his memories first, then Frank, Bill Mozer, and Jeff joined in.
Ceremony Part 1:
Ceremony Part 2:
As you can see, this year’s WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony ended up running for a little over two hours. Memories were shared and praise was heaped. It was a day I won’t soon forget. Congratulations to Rita Sands, Frank D’Elia, Ted David, and Bill Epperhart.