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Chieli Minucci & Special EFX at The Cutting Room again July 2, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel.
2 comments

I returned to The Cutting Room last Friday night to see Chieli Minucci & Special EFX perform.

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I last saw them at that venue in January 2014. I arrived close to show time and missed out on a good table. This time, I showed up before the doors opened to ensure better results. The plan worked. I sat at a small table right next to the stage.

Special EFX was led by co-founder Chieli Minucci on guitar:
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With Jay Rowe on keyboards:
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Jerry Brooks, who’s about to tour with Journey, on bass:
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…and Lionel Cordew on drums:
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Plus, special guest Alan Grubner on violin:
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SET LIST
1.
Courageous Cats
Originally heard on: “Jewels,” 1995 (Chieli solo album)

2. Speak to Me (preceded by Chieli’s intro)
Originally heard on: “Masterpiece,” 1999

3. Crazy Eights
Originally heard on: “Genesis,” 2013

4.Till the End of Time
Originally heard on: “Genesis,” 2013

5. George Can’t Dance
Originally heard on: “Catwalk,” 1994

6. Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers
Originally heard on: “Renaissance,” 1996 (Chieli solo album)

7. Cruise Control
Originally heard on: “Butterfly,” 2001

8. Your Smile, My Heaven
Originally heard on: “Genesis,” 2013

9. Kickin’ It Hard/Spain
Kickin’ It Hard” originally heard on: “Night Grooves,” 2003 (Chieli solo album); “Spain” is a Return to Forever cover

#2 and 9 featured occasional vocalizing from Chieli.
#8 and 9 featured special guest Alan Grubner.

Various shots of Chieli:
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Vocalizing on “Speak to Me”:
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Jay Rowe’s “Speak to Me” keyboard solo:
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Jerry Brooks’ “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” bass solo:
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Lionel Cordew’s “Speak to Me” drum solo:
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Alan Grubner’s “Your Smile, My Heaven” violin solo:
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Wide shots from “Kickin’ It Hard”:
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The last note:
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The end:
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It was yet another superb set. Until next time.

Triple Crown, at last! June 6, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Horse Racing, Media, Personal, Sports, TV.
2 comments

363 days ago, a day after California Chrome fell short at the Belmont Stakes, I bitterly suggested a Triple Crown retool. This was my plan:

Horses that win the Kentucky Derby should not be allowed to run the Preakness Stakes.  That will avoid future heartbreaking Belmont Stakes.  If they can’t run in the Preakness, they can’t possibly win it to set up Triple Crown talk.

It’s [a] ridiculous suggestion, I’m sure, and one that is born out of sour grapes, but I would love to see it happen.  The days of Triple Crown winners ended in 1978.  I don’t see it ever happening again.

I hereby retract my plan. Under an hour from posting this, American Pharoah did what seemed impossible: he won the Triple Crown! Larry Collmus’ triumphant call, which was heard inside Belmont Park and on NBC, went like this:

And here it is: the 37-year wait is over! American Pharoah is finally the one!!! American Pharoah has won the Triple Crown!!!!!!

American Pharoah is the 12th Triple Crown winner. After years and years of near misses, this win was very, very sweet. It was much sweeter for jockey Victor Espinoza, trainer Bob Baffert, and owner Ahmed Zayat. Congratulations and thank you.

I’ll conclude this post with several video links via nbcsports.com:
American Pharoah ends 37-year Triple Crown drought
Watch Larry Collmus as he calls the Belmont Stakes
Bob Baffert on ’emotional’ Triple Crown win
Justin Zayat ‘can’t believe it happened’
Belmont, Triple Crown trophy given to American Pharoah team
‘Third time’s a charm’ for Victor Espinoza
Bob Costas: No fan can forget American Pharoah’s rare feat
Bob Baffert: ‘I was prepared for a loss’

Will Donato at Houndstooth Pub May 11, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel.
2 comments

Houndstooth Pub was the place to be Saturday night as saxophonist Will Donato took the stage.

This was the first time I had seen Will since he performed with fellow saxophonist Elan Trotman a few years ago. Both times, a significant personal event occurred the same day. Then, it was the removal of a curbside tree at my neighbor’s house, one that had been there since I moved to Wantagh in July 1993. Saturday, it was the tenth anniversary of MikeChimeri.com.

I was thrilled to see Will. He’s a ball of energy, winding his way through the crowd, connecting with every audience member, including me. He even has a humorous side, which he displayed when speaking to the audience between songs.

Will was mostly on alto saxophone:
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Bill Heller on keyboard:
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Kenny Harris on bass:
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…and Chris Marshak on drums:
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SET LIST
1.
Kenny’s Groove (Kenny Harris)

2. New Life
Originally heard on:Will Power,” 2004

3. I’ll Be Around (The Spinners cover)
Originally heard on:Will Call,” 2007

4. Italia
Originally heard on: “Will Power,” 2004; “What It Takes,” 2010

5. Funkability
Originally heard on: “What It Takes,” 2010

6. Show and Tell (Al Wilson cover)
Originally heard on:Universal Groove,” 2014

7. Working Day and Night (Michael Jackson cover)

BREAK

8. Always You
Originally heard on: “What It Takes,” 2010

9. Jaywalkin’
Originally heard on: “Universal Groove,” 2014

10. You’ve Just Been Had (Kenny Harris)

11. Down & Loaded (Bill Heller)
Originally heard on:Find the Way,” 2014 (Bill Heller)

12. What Is Hip? (Tower of Power cover)

13 (Encore). Play That Funky Music (Wild Cherry cover)
Originally heard on: “Universal Groove,” 2014

Now that you know the set list, let’s move on to various pictures of Will in the audience and on stage:
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He switched to tenor sax for “Down & Loaded”…:
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…before returning to alto for the last two songs:
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Now for pictures of the rest of the band, starting with Bill Heller:
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Vocals on “Show and Tell”:
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Vocoder on “Working Day and Night”:
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…and “Play That Funky Music”:
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Kenny Harris:
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Vocals on “Kenny’s Groove”:
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…and “You’ve Just Been Had”:
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Chris Marshak:
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Wide shots:
“New Life”:
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“Down & Loaded”:
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“What Is Hip?”:
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“Play That Funky Music”:
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What a wild show this turned out to be. I had a blast. I spoke to Will and the band during the break and after the show, and before I left, Will and I posed for a picture:
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Thank you to Will, Bill, Kenny, and Chris for making this a night to remember.

Ten years of MikeChimeri.com! May 9, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Personal, Radio, Technology.
1 comment so far

Today marks ten years since I launched MikeChimeri.com. For its first seven years, it was a WYSIWYG site created with Yahoo SiteBuilder. Then, I merged it with the four-year-old Mike Chimeri Blog.

I originally created this site to replace InstrumentalInvasion.net, following my last Instrumental Invasion show at WGBB-AM a few days earlier.

I can’t believe it’s been ten years. Thank you to everyone that’s visited. Here’s to ten more years.

Don’t Be a Pinhead Tour at Westbury recap May 3, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, Books, Comedy, Commentary, Media, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Theatre, TV.
2 comments

According to WordPress, this is my 350th post at MikeChimeri.com.

Last night, for the first time in four years, I was at NYCB Theatre at Westbury to see Bill O’Reilly and Dennis Miller. This time, their tour had a new name: Don’t Be a Pinhead.

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
  • Obamacare
  • 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:

  • Baltimore
  • 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?”
  • “Volleyballtocracy”
  • 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, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Interviews, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology, TV, Video.
5 comments

Previous Hall of Fame ceremonies: 2012, 2013, 2014

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.

You can watch the ceremony at the end of this post, but first, the pictures:
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WCWP station manager Dan Cox welcomed everyone and tossed to an introductory video narrated by Jim Cutler:
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2013 inductee Bernie Bernard was this year’s MC:
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The first inductee of the day was Jeff Kroll, introduced by Bruce Leonard:
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The view from my camcorder:
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The same view from a different focal point:
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Bruce and Jeff swapped places as Jeff introduced Bruce:
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Neil Marks came up to say a few words:
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Then came Bruce’s acceptance speech:
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Joel Feltman was next a few words of his own:
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Joe Honerkamp listened as Joel reflected on how they were introduced:
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The third inductee of the day was Bobby Guthenberg, introduced by Bernie Bernard:
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Finally, Bobby introduced Mike Riccio:
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Bobby’s gift to Mike:
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Mike’s acceptance speech:
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2013 inductee Bill Mozer was repeatedly referenced throughout the ceremony. He came to the stage after Mike spoke:
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2014 inductee Frank D’Elia’s turn at the mic:
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Bill returned with a few more words:
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Dan Cox returned to wrap of the ceremony, bringing along a copy of the Hall of Fame sign, as posted in the background, to be autographed by the four inductees:
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Jeff’s wife Pat bought a cake for the ceremony:
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The ceremonial cutting:
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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!

SJFS 2015 Night 1 recap April 27, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, Video.
12 comments

Other SJFS recaps: 2008, 2008 meet-and-greet, 2009, 2010, 2011, 20122013 Night 1, 2013 Night 2, 2014 Night 1, 2014 Night 2

To borrow guitarist Jay Dobbins’ song title, it was “That Time Again” on Friday – time for me to head up to Milford, Connecticut, for Jay Rowe‘s Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit concert. This was the 13th year of SJFS and the third with two nights of shows. Unfortunately, I could only make the first night this year because of the WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony on Saturday.

The headliners on Friday night were Peter White, Marion Meadows, and Vincent Ingala.

As always, Kevin McCabe had a few opening remarks:
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Then, Jay Rowe took the stage. Jay was on keyboards:
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Dave Anderson played bass:
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Trever Somerville on drums:
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Steve Scales on percussion:
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…and for nine songs, Rohn Lawrence on electric guitar:
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SET LIST
1. That Time Again (Jay Dobbins)
Originally heard on: “Anything for You,” 2013
Featured musicians: Jay Dobbins (electric guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboards)

2. Pleasure Island (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: “Laugh Out Loud,” 2001
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Vincent Ingala (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

3. Can’t Stop Now (Vincent Ingala)
Originally heard on: “Can’t Stop Now,” 2012
Featured musicians: Vincent Ingala (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

4. Kimi Trick (Vincent Ingala)
Originally heard on: “Can’t Stop Now,” 2012
Featured musicians: Vincent Ingala (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

5. Real Time (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: “Soul Traveler,” 2015
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Vincent Ingala (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

6. Humanity (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: “Soul Traveler,” 2015
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

7. Caravan of Dreams (Peter White)
Originally heard on: “Caravan of Dreams,” 1996
Featured musicians: Peter White (acoustic guitar), Vincent Ingala (tenor sax)

8. Bright (Peter White)
Originally heard on: “Good Day,” 2009
Featured musicians: Peter White (acoustic guitar)

9. How Deep is Your Love (Peter White; The Bee Gees cover)
Originally heard on: “Reflections,” 1994
Featured musicians: Peter White (acoustic guitar)

10. In Rainbows (Peter White)
Originally heard on: “Smile,” 2014
Featured musicians: Peter White (acoustic guitar), Vincent Ingala (soprano sax)

11. Here We Go (Peter White)
Originally heard on: “Here We Go,” 2012
Featured musicians: Peter White (acoustic guitar), Vincent Ingala (tenor sax)

12. Wish I Was There (Vincent Ingala)
Originally heard on: “Can’t Stop Now,” 2012
Featured musicians: Vincent Ingala (electric guitar)

13. Coast to Coast (Vincent Ingala)
Originally heard on: “Coast to Coast,” 2015 (released five days later [tomorrow])
Featured musicians: Vincent Ingala (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

14. Suede (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: “Player’s Club,” 2004
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)
Unlike previous performances, Marion did not start in the audience and work his way to the stage.

15. Treasures (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: “In Deep,” 2002
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

16 (Finale). I’ll Be Around (The Spinners cover)
Featured musicians: Everyone

Now for various pictures of each musician.

First, Jay Rowe:
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Dave Anderson:
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Trever Somerville:
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Steve Scales:
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Rohn Lawrence:
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Making his SJFS debut, Jay Dobbins:
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Vincent Ingala:
Tenor sax:
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Soprano sax:
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Electric guitar:
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Marion Meadows:
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Peter White:
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On to wide shots, starting with “Pleasure Island”:
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“Kimi Trick”:
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“Real Time”:
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“Humanity”:
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“Caravan of Dreams”:
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“Bright”:
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“In Rainbows”:
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“Here We Go”:
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“Coast to Coast”:
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The finale – “I’ll Be Around”:
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The last note:
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With the night complete, Jay gave thanks:
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Afterward, I packed up my equipment and headed for the meet and greet in the lobby.

The musician I met and greeted was Peter White:
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It had been five years since I last saw him in person, aboard the Guitars and Saxes Smooth Cruise in 2010.

After speaking with Peter, I moved on to Marion Meadows, Rohn Lawrence, and Vincent Ingala.

Here I am with Vincent:
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Rohn and Jay Dobbins:
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While waiting in line, Jay Rowe asked if anyone had a Sharpie he could use for autographing. I gave him the one in my backpack and let him keep it. I can always get more.

I said my goodbyes and headed to the nearby Hampton Inn for the night. I left for LIU Post in the morning.

My 2015 MLB Predictions April 5, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Personal, Sports.
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Back in September, I went public with my annual NFL season predictions after years of posting them on Facebook. Another personal tradition is predicting the Major League Baseball season.

Here are my predictions for 2015:

NL (National League) East

  1. Nationals (2)
  2. Braves (Wild Card 2)
  3. Mets
  4. Marlins
  5. Phillies

NL Central

  1. Cardinals (1)
  2. Pirates (Wild Card 1)
  3. Reds
  4. Cubs
  5. Brewers

NL West

  1. Dodgers (3)
  2. Giants
  3. Diamondbacks
  4. Padres
  5. Rockies

AL (American League) East

  1. Orioles (2)
  2. Red Sox
  3. Yankees
  4. Blue Jays
  5. Rays

AL Central

  1. Indians (1)
  2. Tigers (Wild Card 1)
  3. Royals (Wild Card 2)
  4. White Sox
  5. Twins

AL West

  1. Athletics (3)
  2. Angels
  3. Mariners
  4. Rangers
  5. Astros

Playoff predictions:
NL Wild Card Playoff

Braves defeat Pirates

AL Wild Card Playoff
Tigers defeat Royals

NL Division Series
Cardinals vs. Braves: Cardinals win 3-1
Nationals vs. Dodgers: Dodgers win 3-0

AL Division Series
Indians vs. Tigers: Tigers win 3-2
Orioles vs. Athletics: Athletics win 3-0

NL Championship Series
Cardinals vs. Dodgers: Cardinals win 4-1

AL Championship Series
Athletics vs. Tigers: Tigers win 4-2

World Series (AL home field advantage via All-Star Game win)
Cardinals vs. Tigers: Cardinals win 4-1

As with my Patriots prediction, pessimism drove me to pick the Cardinals to win the World Series. The 2006 NLCS, in which the Cards defeated the Mets in seven games, turned me against them.

I will update this post after the World Series with results italicized in parentheses. Play ball!

Winter’s second encore March 29, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Personal, Photography, Weather.
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A second encore performance of snow affected my area yesterday. We were on the western fringe of a storm that left at least 2 to 4 inches of snow in Central and Eastern Suffolk County. Here in Nassau, snowfall was minimal.

We were treated to intermittent snow showers during the day that barely accumulated:
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There was a little more snow at night that left a solid coating:
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Here’s what the coating looked like at around 8:30 this morning:
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The late March sun has already melted most of it. Surely this was the last snow of the season, right?

Winter’s encore March 21, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Personal, Photography, Weather.
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The snow of two Thursdays ago turned out not to be the last snow of the season. An encore performance came through yesterday. This time, it was entirely wet snow. Thanks to two weeks of above-freezing temperatures, in addition to the strength of the mid-March sun, not much snow stuck on pavement. I measured an inch in the driveway last night as the snow was tapering off. The front lawn accurately represented the snowfall: 5 inches.

Below is a timeline of the snowfall from start to finish, followed by today’s rapid melting.

March 20
1:29 PM:
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2:59 PM:
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4:31 PM:
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6:40 PM, five minutes before the vernal equinox:
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8:05 PM, 80 minutes into spring:
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9:49 PM, as snow tapered off:
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March 21
8:36 AM, during a remnant snow shower:
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9:24 AM:
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1:21 PM:
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3:19 PM:
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4:13 PM:
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There may not be any snow left on the ground by Monday, and that may be the last we see until late fall. Happy spring.

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