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2014 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony April 12, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in DVD, Interviews, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology, TV, Video.
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Previous Hall of Fame ceremonies: 2012, 2013

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:

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Pete Bellotti welcomed the audience shortly after 1PM:
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Images from the intro video, voiced by Jim Cutler:
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The ceremony was hosted by Jeff Kroll:
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Bill Mozer assumed the co-host position:
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Rita Sands could not make it to the ceremony, and instead pre-recorded an interview with Bernie Bernard:
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Bernie:
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Bernie and Jeff posed with Rita’s plaque:
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The second inductee of the day was Frank D’Elia:
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The view from my camcorder:
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Frank receives his plaque:
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Like Rita, Ted David was unable to attend the ceremony.  But he did record an acceptance speech:
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Dan Cox, WCWP station manager, spoke next:
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Dan brought up ceremony audio engineer Zach Parker to share the news of a generous donation to WCWP by Zach’s father:
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Then, reflections of Bill Epperhart began.  Dan shared his memories first, then Frank, Bill Mozer, and Jeff joined in.

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Dan Epperhart, Bill’s son, accepted his father’s plaque:
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And gave an eloquent, emotional speech:
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Then, Jeff Kroll and Bill Mozer tossed to other alumni in the audience to share their memories:
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Phil Lebowitz was first:
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Then, Mike Phillips:
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Neil Marks:
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Bruce Leonard:
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Roberta Epperhart O’Neil, widow of Bill’s brother Mike:
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Pete Vogel, Bill’s cousin:
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The last stroll down memory was provided by Jay Elzweig:
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Jeff wrapped it up:
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The only thing left to do was pose for pictures:
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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.

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One year with iPhone April 11, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Health, Internet, Media, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology, Travel, TV.
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A year ago yesterday, I boarded the iPhone bandwagon by switching from an LG enV3, which I had for 3 1/2 years, to an iPhone 5.  When I’m not texting or making a phone call, it’s a great alternative for internet access.  My workouts with the Nike Running app have gone further than I was going in my first iPhone post last July.  I’ve gone as far as 5.35 miles in one workout and broke 100 miles for the month of March.

When I need to comparison shop, I use shopping apps.  When I want to listen to the radio, I have the TuneIn app.  I’ve downloaded apps for several networks, network affiliates, and cable channels.

But I still wish the internal hard drive was bigger; maybe with the next iPhone.

My trip up Super Bowl Boulevard February 14, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Broadway, Football, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Last Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the Seattle Seahawks resoundingly defeated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII by the score of 43-8.  It was the Seahawks’ first Super Bowl championship in franchise history.

Two days before the Big Game, I headed to nearby Manhattan to walk the NFL’s Super Bowl Boulevard Engineered by GMC.  The “Boulevard” spanned Broadway between West 34th and West 47th Streets.  It was open to the public between Wednesday, January 29, and Saturday, February 1, the day after I was there.  I had my Nikon D5100 (and two lenses) along for the walk to take pictures with.

The pictures in this post were taken outside the remote studios of ESPN, NFL Network, and FOX Sports; inside the Xbox One tent; by the Super Bowl Toboggan Run; by Extra Points, where fans could kick footballs through a goalpost; and a few other landmarks along the way.

We begin at ESPN’s studio:
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The Xbox One tent:
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The CNN/Bleacher Report studio:
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The autograph stage:
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Super Bowl Toboggan Run:
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NFL Network’s studio at West 41st Street:
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The Vince Lombardi Trophy:
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One block north of Super Bowl Boulevard was M&Ms World:
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On the second floor, there was a massive array of tubes that contained milk chocolate, peanut, peanut butter, and pretzel M&Ms in a variety of colors.  Two of the tubes had milk chocolate M&Ms in the team colors of the Seahawks and Broncos.  I filled a bag of all kinds of M&Ms in all colors; 2.87 pounds worth.  It took me three days to eat it all.

The FOX Sports studio at West 46th Street:
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Megyn Kelly hosted her Fox News Channel show, The Kelly File, from this south-facing desk hours after I took this picture:
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The north side of the studio:
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A later shot of the south side:
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Extra Points:
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This kick was good:
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When I passed by NFL Network’s studio again, Joe Montana was on set with hosts Andrew Siciliano, Willie McGinest, and Heath Evans:
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Here’s how that looked on NFL Network:
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And when I passed by ESPN’s studio, NFL Insiders was on:
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From left to right: Bill Polian, Chris Mortensen, Adam Schefter, and Suzy Kolber:
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Macy’s Broadway entrance:
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Macy’s West 34th Street entrance near 7th Avenue:
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Once inside, I bought a Super Bowl XLVIII polo shirt, cap (second from the left above), full size football with the Seahawks and Broncos logos on it, and program.

Despite the massive crowds and back stiffness that set in after an hour and a half, I had a great time walking Super Bowl Boulevard.

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks on winning Super Bowl XLVIII two nights later.

Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall January 17, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Football, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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Previous Lisa Hilton recap: June 2011

Last night marked the second time I saw jazz pianist Lisa Hilton perform.  The first time was about 2 1/2 years ago in Greenwich Village (see link above).  This time, I was uptown at Carnegie Hall‘s Weill Recital Hall.  It was my first time ever at Carnegie.

My journey began at around 4PM, when I left home to walk to the Wantagh LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) station for a 4:27 Penn Station-bound train.  I would have taken a later train, but I wanted to be safe in case any delays popped during my walk to the station.  That’s what happened the day before when I had to take a train to Rockville Centre.  But even though there were delays earlier in the day, there were none when I arrived.  My trip to Penn Station was smooth sailing.  No one sat near me after Freeport.  It was a peaceful journey as I took in the sights while listening to my iPod, not a noisy one where I’m surrounded by chatter from people of varying ages.  (The ride back was somewhat crowded, but not too noisy.  And it helps to have studio headphones.)

I was in a railcar near the back of the train, which meant I needed to walk a little extra from the train to the LIRR Terminal.  Once there, I had dinner at TGI Friday’s.  Then, I walked up to the subway terminal and took the E train uptown to 7th Avenue and West 53rd Street.  The second I emerged from the seemingly endless flights of stairs, I saw the Ed Sullivan Theater, home to the CBS late night talk show, The Late Show with David Letterman.  I whipped out my Nikon D5100 and took a picture:
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I was fortunate enough to attend a taping with my father back in December 2004, but that’s another story.

I arrived at Carnegie Hall just before 7PM.  Since photography wasn’t allowed during Lisa’s performance, these outside pictures will have to do:
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Thinking that the time when the doors to the hall are opened was the time to go inside, I waited outside the Weill Recital Hall entrance for 15 minutes.  Two couples went inside while I was waiting.  Finally, I opened the door and asked if I was allowed to come in.  Of course, I was.  I got my ticket, went up to the lounge adjacent to the hall, and waited for the hall doors to open.

According to my watch, I took my seat at 7:42.  The Weill Recital Hall was not what I was expecting.  It was an intimate hall with one row of orchestra seats, where I sat, and a balcony behind them.  There were three chandeliers on the ceiling; my seat was between two of them.

The hall was completely acoustic.  There were no speakers, no engineer, no amplification, nothing of the kind.  I was in for a unique experience.

Lisa entered at 8:06, joined by Ben Street on upright acoustic bass and Billy Hart on drums.  Lisa played a Steinway & Sons piano.

The set primarily featured music from her upcoming album, Kaleidoscope.  Here’s what the set looked like:
1. Kaleidoscope
2. Whispered Confessions – This one was my favorite.
3. Midnight Mania
4. Bach/Basie/Bird: Boogie Blues Bop
5. Sunny Side Up
6. Blue Horizon
7. Stepping Into Paradise – This was a solo piano piece.  Ben and Billy left the stage and took a break.  They returned for the rest of the set.
8. Getaway – This was another favorite.
9. Subway
10. When It Rains
11. Evening Song
12. So This Is Love

“Getaway” and “Evening Song” are from Getaway (2013).  “Subway” and “When It Rains” are from American Impressions (2012).  “So This Is Love” is from My Favorite Things (2005).
“Getaway” was first performed in a slightly slower tempo on In the Mood for Jazz (2003).  “Stepping Into Paradise” originated on Getaway.

After the show, I caught up with Lisa in the lounge, and even got to meet her daughter Fiona.  Fiona was nice enough to take our picture:
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My original plan for returning to Penn Station involving taking the M7 MTA New York City Bus back to 34th Street and walking to the LIRR Terminal from there.  But when I got to the bus stop, I had a clear view of Times Square.  I could see the Jumbotron, which still had up the “2014″ sign, complete with the New Year’s ball frozen in place above it.  Forget the bus, I thought.  I’m walking back and taking pictures.  And I did:
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42nd Street Subway Station:
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My last two pictures of the night came at the LIRR Terminal entrance:
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I initially boarded the wrong train: an express that didn’t stop at Wantagh.  Luckily, I was able to grab all my belongings quickly and exit the train (thanks to the doors not closing right away).  I quickly found the right train on a different track and barely boarded that one in time.  I was bound for home, capping a memorable night.  I opened my eyes and ears to a new experience and I enjoyed it.  Thank you, Lisa, Ben, and Billy.

Whose Line picked up for another season! August 2, 2013

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Internet, Media, News, Personal, Theatre, TV.
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After only three weeks on the CW, the reboot of Whose Line is it Anyway? has been renewed for another season!  This one will be 24 episodes long.  Jonathan Mangum tweeted the great news on Monday (one day before the airing of an episode he performed in):

Whose Line is it Anyway picked up for 2nd season! Congrats @waynebrady@colinmochrie@aishatyler@1DanPatterson and Ryan [Stiles]!!

When news broke of Whose Line‘s return back in March, I said this:

It’s a 10-episode run, but could be more if renewed or less if canceled.  Based on the failures of the Green Screen Show, Improv-A-Ganza, and Trust Us With Your Life, I’d say the latter is more likely.  But as usual, I’m prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

Consider me pleasantly surprised.  Best wishes to Whose Line, which is thus far thriving in its second life.

Boarding the iPhone bandwagon July 6, 2013

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Media, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology, Travel, TV, Weather.
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On an unseasonably hot day in mid-April, I switched from an LG enV3 (VX9200) to an iPhone 5.  Soon after, I bought an Otterbox Defender case for it (which includes a belt clip holster) and a Logitech wireless headset for extended phone calls.

I’ve downloaded 30 apps so far.  Among them are two for radio, nine for sports, three for news, three for weather, and three social media.  I bought two apps: a tip calculator (which was standard on my old phone) and the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

On the first day I had the iPhone, it took a few hours to load all my contacts to iCloud.  But they’re in and some are categorized by ringtone, something I hadn’t done with my previous phones.

The Nike Running app has been instrumental in getting me to run three miles (or more) every day.  Most of the runs have been outdoors, but I ran on my treadmill on a rainy day last month.  And with temperatures now hovering near 90 degrees each day, I may have to do more indoor runs on my treadmill or step machine.

The iPhone’s camera has come in handy when I don’t have my Nikon D5100 on me.  Most of the pictures taken with the phone are of recently replaced Town of Hempstead street signs and new traffic lights.  Some examples:

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The one downside is the internal drive is only 13.5 GB (gigabytes) (billed as 16 GB).  It makes me wish there was a microSD slot for an additional 16 GB, or even 32.

Regardless of that, I’m glad I finally boarded the iPhone bandwagon.  I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.

The end of Manor East June 16, 2013

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Media, News, Personal, Travel, TV, Video.
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A piece of my early teens – and my sister’s, as well – is no more.  Thursday, without warning, Manor East in Massapequa closed down (WABC-TV, WNYW-TV, CBSNewYork.com, Bellmore Patch).  The catering hall at the corner of Jerusalem Avenue and North Broadway was home to my Bar Mitzvah reception in November 1994 and my sister’s Bat Mitzvah reception in September 1996 (two months after her birthday).  (Our services were at the now-defunct Union Reform Temple in northwest Freeport.)

I pass by it whenever I take the n55 NICE Bus to Sunrise Mall or on the way to Lumara Salon for my monthly haircut.  I can’t imagine what will take its place.

I feel terrible for those that paid for parties and receptions at Manor East and are left scrambling to find alternate locations.

Here is home video that I shot outside Manor East in February 1995 before going in for my friend Rob’s Bar Mitzvah, three months after mine:

(Sorry about the poor camerawork.)

2013 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony April 20, 2013

Posted by Mike C. in Interviews, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, TV, Video.
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Previous Hall of Fame Ceremony: 2012
Later Hall of Fame Ceremony: 2014

The second annual WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony featured the inductions of Maura “Bernie” Bernard, Steve Radoff, Harry Lowenthal, and Bill Mozer.  Like the inaugural ceremony last year, this year’s ceremony was held at the Tilles Center Atrium.  Unlike last year, the sun was shining brightly outside.

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The Hall of Fame plaques:
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Scott Perschke captured a conversation between Bill Mozer, Harry Lowenthal, and Harry’s son James:
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Hank Neimark (who inducted Steve Radoff and Harry Lowenthal) and Pete Bellotti:
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Pete and Bill Mozer:
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Pete and Steve Radoff:
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Pete and Bernie Bernard:
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Pete and Harry Lowenthal:
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The ceremony began with WCWP station manager Dan Cox introducing an opening video:
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Jay Mirabile was the Master of the Ceremony:
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Bill Mozer’s induction of Bernie Bernard came in the form of an interview:
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A captive audience:
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Next, Tracy Burgess conducted an interview with Bruce Leonard…
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…and handed the mic to Jeff Kroll who read a statement from Joel Feltman:
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Hank Neimark inducted Steve Radoff:
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Steve’s speech:
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Next, Hank inducted Harry Lowenthal:
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Harry’s speech:
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Dan Cox returned to induct Bill Mozer…
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…but he wasn’t the only one.

Ted David pre-recorded an induction speech from Florida:
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Then came a slideshow set to “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor:
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It was finally time to bring Bill to the podium:
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It was an emotional speech.

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There was one more special video message for Bill…
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…from Fred Gaudelli:
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There was still one more announcement to make…
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…and that was made by Pete Bellotti:
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The unveiling of the Hall of Fame plaque with the induction years and inductees listed on it:
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“Let’s hear it for the 2013 WCWP Hall of Fame Class!”

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Later at WCWP, Dan gave a tour of the newly renovated Studio 1:
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It was quite a day!  Congratulations to Bernie, Steve, Harry, and Bill: the WCWP Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

A March nor’easter and its wet snow March 8, 2013

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Media, News, Personal, Photography, TV, Weather.
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It’s been a trying nine days for me.  It all began last Wednesday night.  Meteorologists began warning of a big nor’easter for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic one week later.  It would bring high winds and wet snow, a volatile mix.

In the days that followed, weather computer models from various media and meteorological organizations projected different paths for the storm to take and where it would meet up with a low moving from the Pacific to the Tennessee Valley.  The center would be over Cape Hatteras or the Delmarva Peninsula.  From there, it would go east, southeast, or northeast.

Meteorologists hedged their bets by making their forecasts based on what the most models were predicting at the time, but made clear that the forecast could change.  It did.  Long Island went from missing the nor’easter entirely, except for gusty winds, to getting its northern fringe.  Worse yet, the storm was going to take longer to push east than originally expected.  Thus, a one-day nor’easter became a three-day nor’easter.

March has seen its share of major nor’easters:

The worst of the 1993 and 2010 storms came through Long Island on the same date: March 13.  When the ’93 storm hit, I was living in Freeport, three blocks away from Baldwin Bay.  My cousins, aunt, and grandmother stayed over while my parents were in St. Maarten.  They left two days before the storm and came back two days after.  A few months earlier, there was an equally strong nor’easter.  At the afternoon high tide, a few inches of water came into the first floor of the house.  I was too young to remember our house flooding during Hurricane Gloria.  So this was traumatizing.  I don’t recall if water got in during the SotC, but I do know the first floor lacked a carpet for the rest of our time in the house.  I also remember we had snow that was followed by rain.  And according to AccuWeather, Freeport was in the 10-to-20-inch range:


1993 SotC snowfall

For the next week or two, the backyard looked like the North Pole because the rain-and-flood-soaked snow froze over.  Air temperatures were stuck below freezing for a week.  So, snow didn’t completely melt in some areas until the end of the month.

My family and I moved (for unrelated school reasons) to the Wantagh Woods section of Wantagh in July 1993, over a mile inland, where I live to this day.

Back in the present, as it became clear we were getting this nor’easter, visions of Sandy began dancing in my head as I feared the worst, even though the highest gusts would be nothing like Sandy.  And the nor’easter’s duration brought me back to what began my high wind fears in the first place: a stronger nor’easter that began three years ago next Wednesday.  I was without power then, due to uprooted trees, for two days.  Then, in poker terms, Irene saw those two days and raised me five and a half.  Sandy saw those five and a half days and raised me nine.

I also thought of a similar wet snow-producing nor’easter that came exactly one year before Sandy.  New Jersey, Connecticut, and the Hudson Valley received a lot of wet snow, which weighed down still-leaved tree limbs, taking many of them down, or whole trees down, and the power out with them.  The post-Sandy nor’easter also brought wet snow that weighed down still-leaved tree limbs – Sandy didn’t blow all of them off – but the ones in my neighborhood did not break off nor did they come down.

This week’s nor’easter came in under cover of darkness early Wednesday morning.  The winds gradually increased, as did the gusts.  Gusts of around 40 miles per hour plowed against my east-facing bedroom wall.  But precipitation was scarce.  As the day progressed, the wind direction shifted from the east to the north-northeast.  The wind was no longer pushing against the wall, but I could still hear it.

As the night progressed, I was prepared for power to go out at any moment.  I went to sleep around midnight and woke up seven hours later with the power still on.  Not only that, but the wind diminished and there wasn’t any snow on the ground.  Up to 6 inches of wet snowfall was originally expected for Wednesday night into yesterday, the first part of the nor’easter, but by mid-afternoon, the forecast dwindled to an inch or two.  With little or no snow for Wednesday night, the concern shifted to last night into today when heavier wet snow was expected.

As you can tell by the pictures below, we didn’t get much:
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More snow fell to my north and any area that received heavy snow bands.  According to Newsday (subscription required), Syosset received 8 inches of wet snow and Jericho got 6 inches.  Levittown, to my immediate north, received 4.5 inches.

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The wet snow melted on most of my driveway, but stuck to the cars and garbage/recycling pails left at the curb for Friday pickup.

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Five hours later, snow had tapered off and begun to melt.

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As I publish this post, the wind has shifted to the north-northwest and is a mere eleven miles per hour.  Most of the wet snow on the grass in the above picture is still there.  With milder temperatures and abundant sunshine expected over the next few days, it won’t be on the grass much longer.

Whose Line is it Anyway? reboots this summer! March 3, 2013

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Internet, Media, News, Personal, Theatre, TV.
2 comments

Ten days after I had given up on the return of Trust Us with Your Life, I learned of wonderful news (via The Hollywood Reporter, h/t Jonathan Mangum): Whose Line is it Anyway? is returning to television this summer!

The Whose Line reboot will air on the CW, which was home to Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show prior to the WB’s merger with UPN.  According to THR, Whose Line marks the CW’s return to comedy.  They’ve otherwise been known for teen dramas.

As with the first American version, Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, and Wayne Brady will be the lead performers.  Aisha Tyler will follow in the hosting footsteps of Clive Anderson and Drew Carey.  (Clive hosted the original British version.)  It’ll be interesting to see which house musician(s) will be on hand for musical games like “Song Styles” (or “Duet”), “Greatest Hits,” and “Hoedown.”

It’s a 10-episode run, but could be more if renewed or less if canceled.  Based on the failures of the Green Screen Show, Improv-A-Ganza, and Trust Us With Your Life, I’d say the latter is more likely.  But as usual, I’m prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

Here’s part of THR’s story:

… Based on the U.K. format, which spawned the 1998-2004 ABC series led by Drew Carey, Whose Line will feature the return of Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady and Colin Mochrie, who, along with a special guest each episode, will put their comedic skills to the test through a series of improv games. Prompted by ideas from the studio audience and [host Aisha] Tyler, the performers use the information and their imaginations to depict different characters, scenes and perform songs. A winner will be named at the end of each episode.

From Angst Productions and Hat Trick Productions, Whose Line is executive produced by Dan Patterson, Mark Leveson, Jimmy Mulville, Stiles and Brady. It was co-created by Patterson and Leveson. …

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