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2019 Long Island Retro Gaming Expo recap August 14, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Books, Internet, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Technology, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Previous LIRGE recaps: 2017 (Sunday), 2018

This is a long and comprehensive post, so buckle up.

Last weekend, I attended the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo for the third year in a row and my second year for both days.

John Hancock and The 8-Bit Guy weren’t at LIRGE this year, but making return appearances were Bob Neal from RetroRGB, Jeremy Parish of Retronauts and Video Works, Kurt Kalata and Rob Russo of Hardcore Gaming 101, and video game historian and author Leonard Herman.

Among those appearing for the first time were Frank Cifaldi of the Video Game History Foundation, Pat Contri (a.k.a. Pat the NES Punk) and Ian Ferguson of the Completely Unnecessary Podcast and The Video Game Years, and the My Life in Gaming duo of Coury Carlson and Marc “Try4ce” Duddleson (as in the Triforce from The Legend of Zelda).

The Long Island Retro Gaming Expo is held at the Cradle of Aviation Museum along Museum Row in East Garden City, as indicated by these signs I took on the way there Saturday morning:

Based on the “date taken” info of the above pic, I arrived at the museum at 10:09. Before getting in line to get inside, I photographed a historic marker:

The weather outdoors was much better this year: sunny, warm, and comfortable. You could leave the rain gear at home or in your hotel room.

While on line, I passed a trailer with arcade machines inside:

This was the only time I noticed it. I was focused on what was in the museum.

I set foot inside Cradle of Aviation half an hour after arriving:

The rest of this post is divided into four parts:

  1. Panels
  2. Meeting and Greeting
  3. Pictorial Tour
  4. Pickups

Part One: Panels

After walking around the first floor for nearly 15 minutes, I made my way into the theater planetarium for the first panel:

It was Jeremy Parish (center) along with Kurt Kalata (right) and Rob Russo (left):

Titled “Love for the Unloved,” the trio discussed several underappreciated consoles, accompanied by Powerpoint slides.

Before we see the slides, here are close-ups of Jeremy:

Kurt:

…and Rob:

A few wide shots:

The slides of underappreicated consoles:

The slide for the Bandai WonderSwan went up, but they didn’t have time to discuss it:

Next to speak was…

Frank introduced himself…

…and his work with Digital Eclipse…

…before moving on to the main topic:

Frank is pictured with Kelsey Lewin, who was at Game On Expo in Phoenix, Arizona, that weekend hosting a similar panel:

The last 35 minutes of the panel were Q&A:

I spent the next two hours touring the exhibits, buying games from vendors, meeting and greeting Frank Cifaldi, Coury and Try, Pat and Ian, and Leonard Herman. You’ll see photographic evidence in parts two and three. I made time in between to eat a few snacks from the Cradle of Aviation Museum’s Red Planet Café.

Pat and Ian had a panel after Frank’s, which you can hear in part in the latest Completely Unnecessary Podcast, starting 17 minutes in.

Then, it was on to Leonard’s panel, which was in Panel Room 2:

Leonard talked about the late Ralph Baer and Ted Dabney, and the friendships he developed with them.

After arriving on Sunday, I tried out Ralph Baer’s Brown Box with a man named Jeff:

I played poorly, but had a good time.

There were two panels that I attended on Sunday. First, the My Life in Gaming RGB Master Class:

As noted earlier, My Life in Gaming is run by Coury Carlson:

…and Marc Duddleson, better known as Try:

Coury and Try periodically ran excerpts from upcoming episodes profiling figures in the fields of video game modding, repair, and history:

Bob from RetroRGB, who was seated next to me, was included, but I kept his screenshot out of this post since he told me he didn’t like how he looked.

I found those excerpts enlightening. It put faces and voices to names I’d heard of in previous episodes. I was already familiar with Bob, Kevin, Frank, Ste, and Dan.

The excerpts can be seen in this unlisted link.

Time for Q&A:

I asked what it was like shooting the M2 documentary, seen here:

(NOTE: Unless you’re fluent in Japanese, I suggest selecting “English – Japanese Translation” in the CC [closed captioning] settings.)

More Q&A shots:

Coury made the panel available for listening here. (My attempts to embed it failed.)

After exiting the theater, Bob talked shop with fans:

The second panel I went to on Sunday, my last of the weekend, was Jeremy Parish, Frank Cifaldi, and Coury Carlson:

It was like the finale of a revue where all the acts return to play together.

After introducing themselves for those that hadn’t seen their other panels, Jeremy, Frank, and Coury talked about what avenues are available for playing old video games.

Close-ups of Jeremy:

Frank:

…and Coury:

Wide shots:

Part Two: Meeting and Greeting

I caught up with Frank Cifaldi after his Saturday panel. I told him I was in a similar situation preserving photos, videos, and documents digitally. Then, Try took our picture:

After that, Frank took a picture of me with Coury and Try:

I caught up with Leonard Herman his table before his panel:

I was finally introduced to Pat Contri:

…and his colleague Ian Ferguson:

I spent a lot of time at the table shared by Coury, Try, Pat, and Ian, along with Ian’s wife Vani. I watched as fans came by to meet them and had in-depth conversations with them. The topics ranged from games to travel to video production to my running. Coury was surprised that I had run 8.8 miles early Sunday morning.

I briefly spoke to Bob Neal from RetroRGB once I got back to the table after the RGB Master Class and Try took our picture:

Following my last panel, I briefly spoke to Jeremy Parish, complimenting him on his recently-wrapped Virtual Boy Works series. After 21 proper episodes on the 22 releases (13 in North American and Japan, 9 exclusive to Japan), he posted this retrospective:

Ryan, a staff member I grew accustomed to in the theater planetarium, took a picture of me and Jeremy before I left for the weekend:

Part Three: Pictorial Tour

This is a pictorial tour through all three floors of the expo, starting on the first floor:

This game is actually part of the museum, unaffiliated with the expo:

The second floor:

Among the musical performers were the band Consoul, who played music from several video games:

At the time, they were playing the main theme from Super Mario 64. For reference, here is the original music:

…and the third floor:

Meanwhile, the Long Island Tabletop Gaming Expo was occurring on the other side of the museum:

Next year, the Tabletop Gaming Expo will be held separately on April 18.

Time to go:

A parting shot:

Part Four: Pickups

Saturday’s pickups:

Sunday’s pickups:

Yes, even these count as pickups:

Summing up in writing, the pickups were:

Nintendo Entertainment System:

  • The Adventures of Bayou Billy
  • American Gladitators
  • Blades of Steel
  • The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout
  • Golf
  • Gyromite
  • Gradius (“GRAHDius”)
  • The Legend of Kage (“KAH-ghay”)
  • Lee Trevino’s Fighting Golf
  • Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
  • R.C. Pro-Am
  • Super C
  • Track & Field
  • Track & Field II

I played Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! at friends’ houses, but never had that version. I only had plain Punch-Out!! with Mr. Dream replacing Tyson after the licensing agreement wasn’t renewed. Now, I have the original. I don’t have R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy), but that won’t stop from using two controllers to play Gyromite. I already do it with sports games.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System:

  • Gradius III
  • Paperboy 2
  • Pilotwings
  • Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure
  • Saturday Night Slammasters
  • Wario’s Woods
  • Zoop

I had Pilotwings 64 for the Nintendo 64, but never the original for Super NES. My sister took Wario’s Woods to her new apartment a couple of months ago, so I bought a new copy to replace it. Paperboy 2 is worth getting for the music alone, as seen in Jeremy Parish’s review last June:

Sega Genesis:

  • Columns
  • Dynamite Headdy
  • Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker
  • Paperboy
  • Road Rash
  • Shaq-Fu
  • Super Monaco GP
  • WWF Super WrestleMania

Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker was my most expensive pickup; more than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist last year. I remember Super Monaco GP in the arcade room at Baldwin Lanes. According to Joe Redifer of Game Sack, the Genesis port is better than the original. (Since I cued the video to the relevant portion, I can’t embed it.) I bought a loose cart on eBay in 2016, but I now prefer to have Genesis games in their original boxes. So, I bought one in its box on Sunday. The same goes for Columns. I bought Super WrestleMania to complement the Super NES port I’ve had since childhood. Coincidentally, today marks 30 years since the Genesis was released in North America. Last October 29 was the 30th anniversary of the initial Japanese release as the Mega Drive. And last Tuesday marked 25 years since I purchased a Genesis of my own. It was the Sega Sports bundle with a seat cushion and NFL Football ’94 Starring Joe Montana.

Microsoft Xbox:

  • Tetris Worlds

I played the Game Boy Advance version a lot in the mid 2000s. I never knew it was ported to other consoles. I like to collect Tetris games for as many consoles as I can. I even bought the unlicensed Tengen arcade port for NES that predated Nintendo’s official version. It reminded me of playing the arcade machine at Kutscher’s Resort and Country Club in March 1995.

Non-games:

  • The Legend of Zelda official keychain
  • My Life in Gaming pin
  • My Life in Gaming sticker
  • Night Trap: 25 Years Later (Blu-ray) (signed by Coury and Try)
  • Pat the NES Punk, Volumes 1 to 4 (DVDs) (all signed by Pat)
  • Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library: 1985-1995 (signed by Pat, Ian, and Frank)
  • The Video Game History Foundation sticker
  • Phoenix IV bookmark

Pat’s merchandise is available here. As with Phoenix IV last year, I will review Ultimate Nintendo when I finish reading it. And I’m enjoying Pat’s DVDs.

This was another successful and enjoyable year at the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo. Thank you to everyone I met, met again, and bought from. Until next year.

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25 years since my first home video recording! July 27, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Personal, Video.
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July 25, 1994, marked my introduction to video recording. My father Bill replaced a bulky Hitachi VHS camcorder with a compact JVC VHS-C camcorder. Thursday marked 25 years since that day.

The Hitachi had been used for much of the previous nine years to record me and my sister Lauren. Unfortunately, I didn’t like seeing myself on video. I still can’t bear to watch those early recordings. I wasn’t in control and appeared awkward. On two occasions, Dad convinced me that he wasn’t really recording me. The first time, he said the tape was a soap opera; the second time, he said it was a special camera that didn’t tape Michael (as I was known at the time) Chimeri. Of course, he really was recording me.

With this new JVC “Palmcorder,” I was in control. I went into greater detail about that first evening of recording – and the days and years to follow – on the 20th anniversary, but for this 25th anniversary post, I’ve re-rendered the video of the first 48 seconds in progressive mode with the original interlaced fields blended. Here it is:

Thursday evening, to mark the 25th anniversary, I retraced my steps, though not my camerawork. To match the original recording, I rendered the video with jump cuts instead of dissolves, except for where I edited out recording my sister’s car’s license plate. There were many more planes on their path toward JFK this time, which added two minutes to the recording time. Enjoy:

To follow up on the 20th anniversary post, my dad eventually bought a used Canon GL2 on eBay so I could use it for capturing MiniDV tapes for any home video conversion jobs that come along. So far, I used it for an extensive job in February with over 50 tapes dating from 2002 to 2012.

As for the JVC Everio, I only used it for another year and a half, upgrading to a Panasonic HC-V770 in December 2015. I bought a Takstar SGC-598 shotgun mic for it, which I feel has better sound quality than the onboard mic. Of course, a Rode mic would be even better, but the Takstar has worked for me. I’d eventually like to a get a prosumer fixed lens 4K camcorder, as opposed to Panasonic GH5 and GH5S, but I don’t use my current one that often, so it’s good enough for now.

Wantagh High School Class of 1999 20-Year Reunion July 2, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Education, Personal, Photography.
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Updated at 3:15 PM with an open letter James Walsh penned for the reunion Facebook group.

Wantagh High School‘s Class of 1999 convened at Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall on Saturday night for our 20-year reunion.

Most of us hadn’t seen each other in person since the 10-year reunion held at Lido Beach Town Park, but we kept in touch on Facebook and Instagram. In the months leading up to the reunion, a Facebook group was created by my classmates Lisa Leone, Katelyn Brucia, Liz Napoli, and Sharon Oliveri. (For the reunion, and for this post, we’ll be going by maiden names.) Invitations went out in March and I was among the first to RSVP.

When classmates in the group began posting photos from our senior year, I decided to dip into my photo scan archives and share my own. I posted pictures from the last day of classes in our sophomore year…:

Mike Gabriele, Scott Hammer, Mike Howley

…junior year:

Steve Fitzpatrick, Chris Maffeo, Mike DiMarco, Brian Schneider

…and senior year:

Mr. Ron Cliszis (social studies; and in this case, study hall), Heather Greene, Paul McNamara, Nick Allocca, Liz Napoli, Ryan Csajko; Corey Prinz and Jason Landman among those in the background

As well as the 1998-99 Spirit Night:

Joe McCaffrey (holding the trophy after we finally won), Keith Mekeel, Sharon Oliveri, Kyle Lennon, Greg Hoffman


Michelle Corbo Harclerode (Ms. Corbo) (social studies), our class advisor

…the senior prom:

Amy Vassallo, Laura Grasso, Katelyn Brucia, Jill Hintze, Lisa Leone


Rich Mekeel and Maureen Geis (Class of 2000)


Mrs. Fran Browne (special education) and Mrs. Julie Magnuson (English)


Mr. Ron Cliszis and Mr. Kevin Ryan (social studies)

…and graduation day, which occurred 20 years and two days before the reunion:

Me receiving my diploma


Heather Greene receiving her diploma


The moment of recognition


Mike Chimeri and Dara Schmidt


Mike Chimeri and Mike Howley

One day before the reunion, Barbara Blum asked if I could check the yearbook for a couple of photos of her. Before doing that, I decided to scan a double-page photo of most of the class standing in the Wantagh High School courtyard. It wasn’t easy syncing the two pages, but here’s what I ended up with:

I posted it to the Facebook group and to my own timeline, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Many of my fellow classmates shared it in their timelines. I decided to post the original scan to my Google Drive and make it shareable. The file is huge: 54.7 MB with a resolution of 8383×5484 pixels.

More pictures from the past can be seen later when discussing Kat Foray.

Reunion day finally came, but the reunion itself wasn’t until 7PM. I woke up over 13 hours before then. I passed the time by exercising, watching videos by YouTube channels I subscribe to, watching sports, and preparing a Blu-ray disc for a home video conversion client.

Finally, at 6:45, I got a ride down to Mulcahy’s, arriving a few minutes later. Lisa, Katelyn, Liz, and Sharon were finishing setting up as I walked in. Unfortunately, we would have to contend with a live band starting at 8:00, which made conversation tough, but we all managed.

I had a wonderful time catching up with my classmates and, if married, meeting their spouses. Among the topics I discussed were my involvement with WCWP, photography and videography for student plays at Leo F. Giblyn School in Freeport, attending the final round of this year’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, and my love of instrumental music. I even recommended David Benoit to Nick Allocca. He kept saying David’s name to me to check if he remembered correctly.

I was pleasantly surprised when our class advisor, Michelle Corbo Harclerode (as noted earlier, she was Ms. Corbo to us), dropped by in the third hour. I had no idea she’d be there, and she and I were so happy to see each other. The same could be said for all my classmates. Ms. Corbo – who was also my global studies and homeroom teacher in two of my four years – put her class advisor hat back on and called for a group photo:

It wasn’t everyone, but it was most of us. Ms. Corbo and I are in front, followed by (from left to right) Erin Weiner, T.J. Penzone, Brad Schwartz, Laura Mulle, James Walsh, Helen Liotta, Katelyn Brucia, Kyle Lennon, Laura Grasso, Liz Napoli, Kelly Guarino, Dara Schmidt, Rich Mekeel, and Joe McCaffrey.

This was one photo out of 70. I posted it and the rest on Facebook and ten (the limit) to Instagram, most of which I’ll post here shortly. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive and I made several new Facebook connections out of it. Among them were Kathy Stuart, my 7th grade science teacher at Wantagh Middle School, and Dr. Tom Troisi, my high school assistant principal. Both were complimentary of my photos. Ms. Stuart, in particular, noted that her husband – Sal Mulé, my 8th grade science teacher – “loved seeing all of these familiar faces!!”

Ms. Corbo remarked:

I cried when I saw all of you. I have had the privilege of being at Wantagh for 25 years. When I received this invite, I knew I had to go. You all look wonderful. I’ve been blessed to know all of you. May your journey continue to be amazing. See you at your 30th. … You are all amazing. Thank you for including me. You forever will hold a special place in my heart.

The feeling is mutual.

I’ll conclude this post with most of the rest of the pictures (with married classmates identified by maiden names):

Name badges:

In loving memory of Brendan Kelly, Kat Foray…:

…and Seporah Raizer:

A framed photo print of what ended up in the yearbook:

Raffle items:

Sharon Oliveri, Dara Schmidt, Laura Grasso, Liz Napoli, Dana Smith:

Rob Krumm, Nick Ferraro, Glenn Wieboldt:

Barbara Blum and her husband Matt Carr, Ilyse Leibowitz and her husband Larry Rukin, Cheryl Wynne and her husband Steven Evans, and Erin Weiner:

Erin’s husband Jason Mansfield was there, but I didn’t think to ask him to get in. Photo ops are fast-paced and you can forget to think.

Paul Kregler and Matt Roseland:

Ilene Cohen, Kelly Guarino, Dara Schmidt:

Dara Schmidt and Mike Chimeri:

Keith Mekeel, Mike Chimeri, Kyle Lennon:

Erika Lewis, Helen Liotta, Sharon Oliveri, Cassie McNamee:

Paul McNamara and Mike Chimeri:

James Walsh, Brendan Noonan, Mike Chimeri, Nick Allocca, Tom Oak, Kevin George, Ryan Csajko:

Nick Allocca and Sharon Oliveri:

Tom Oak and Brendan Noonan:

John Prussack and Mike Chimeri:

Barbara Blum, Erin Weiner, Kristine John:

…and me:

Mike Chimeri and T.J. Penzone:

Dana Smith, Katelyn Brucia, Kelly Guarino, Laura Grasso, Ilene Cohen, Liz Napoli:

Joe Pascarella and Steve LaRosa:

Jesse Katcher, Steve LaRosa, Joe Pascarella:

Posing with the photo of Seporah Raizer are Erin Weiner, Barbara Blum, Kristine John, Ilyse Leibowitz, and Cheryl Wynne:

I posed with Kat Foray’s photo:

Kat and I first met in Freeport. We were in Mrs. Immoor’s 4th grade class at Giblyn and Mr. Pompei’s 6th grade class at Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School, seen here:

Kat with Joe McCaffrey and Tara Scro on the last day of classes our senior year:

Kat with Trisha Kingsbury and Bret Malone at the senior prom:

Kat, Seporah, and Brendan Kelly are deeply missed by us all.

Katelyn Brucia and Trisha Kingsbury:

Katelyn Brucia, Trisha Kingsbury, Geoff Waugh, Lisa Leone:

Trisha Kingsbury and Mike Chimeri:

Trisha Kingsbury, Rob Krumm, Lisa Leone, Kevin George:

Erin Weiner, Barbara Blum, Geoff Waugh, Katelyn Brucia, Lisa Leone, Trisha Kingsbury:

Rich Mekeel, John Savage, Joe McCaffrey:

Dave Gross and his wife Joanna, Mike Chimeri, Mike Sereno, and Jenna Careri with her husband George Baldwin (left):

Katelyn’s husband Kevin McCabe – no relation to the one I see every April at Smooth Jazz for Scholars – took the picture.

Helayne Hashmall and her wife Jaimee Shalhevet, and Steve Hirsch:

Gina LoBello and her husband Brian Ferguson:

Meg Stone and Brad Schwartz:

Brad Schwartz and Mike Chimeri:

Mike Chimeri and Class of 1999 Advisor Michelle Corbo Harclerode:

Cheryl Wynne, Ilyse Leibowitz, Michelle Corbo Harclerode, Barbara Blum:

James Walsh and Matt Roseland:

Rich Mekeel, Dara Schmidt, Joe McCaffrey, T.J. Penzone:

Laura Mulle, Helen Liotta, Michelle Corbo Harclerode, Alyssa Motschwiller:

Ryan Csajko, Nick Allocca, Mike Chimeri, John Savage, Tom Oak:

Steve Hirsch and Meg Stone, in their 11th year of marriage:

It’s raffle time:

Laura Grasso won the first:

Dara Schmidt and Glenn Weiboldt won the other two:

Glenn Weiboldt and Mike Chimeri:

Brad and Stacy Schwartz, Matt and Molly Roseland, and James and Amber Walsh:

Brad Schwartz, Matt Roseland, Mike Chimeri, James Walsh:

Rob Krumm, Kevin George, Paul Kregler, Nick Ferraro:

Jenna Careri, Katelyn Brucia, Meg Stone, Dara Schmidt:

Katelyn’s husband Kevin McCabe, Mike Chimeri, Meg Stone, Jenna Careri:

Mike Chimeri and Jenna Careri:

We’ve known each other since 7th grade Spanish with Mrs. Brown.

Dana Smith and Brendan Noonan:

Ilyse Leibowitz, Barbara Blum, Gina LoBello, Erin Weiner, Kristine John:

Jesse Katcher, Justin and Christy Kaplan:

Jesse Katcher, Justin Kaplan, Mike Chimeri:

Dave Bauer couldn’t make it, but FaceTimed with Steve Hirsch so we could say hello:

Katelyn Brucia, Tom Oak, Brendan Noonan:

Rich and Maureen Geis Mekeel (Class of 2000), Keith and Kelly Guarino Mekeel, Kyle and Ilene Cohen Lennon:

A wave goodbye:

This turned out to be as comprehensive as a concert or LIU Post/WCWP Homecoming Weekend recap. Thank you for reading every word and for viewing every image. Until the 30th reunion, so long.

3:15 PM UPDATE: James Walsh wrote a poignant open letter in the reunion Facebook group, which he granted permission to share here:

An open letter to the class of ’99:

I really was torn (as I know many of you also personally expressed) about whether or not to travel back to see so many people that I haven’t spoken to in nearly 20 years. Was it really worth the investment of time and did I really want to revisit those days, when I was such a different person with different priorities and ambitions (over half of our lives ago and before God crashed into my life and literally changed my heart)? It was fun to hear that so many of you shared that same internal conflict before choosing to just do it and come home!

What I discovered on Saturday night is that this wasn’t just a night to see old friends and the “Class of ’99” but it was an opportunity to see the “Class that helped mold me into the man that I am today.” It was also an opportunity to allow two worlds to collide and to introduce the love of my life (Amber Megan) to those who had the greatest influence over my life in those formative days and years. (By the way, thank you for telling such nice stories to Amber and for making me look better than I deserved.) I didn’t just graduate with you (all 201 of you!), but was literally nurtured and invested in by so many of you! For this, thank you!!!

Thank you for loving me, when I was an insecure and growing boy and teenager. Thank you for laughing at me, when I stapled my fingers together in the 2nd grade (and then telling your students about it 30 years later, Meg! ). Thank you for skipping “religion class” from time to time so that we could play basketball together! Thank you for playing a silly sport made of pigskin for thousands of hours with me. Thank you for being three of the best friends that I ever had in life and for traveling to be in my TN wedding. Most of ALL, thank YOU (all of you) for being such an incredible part of my life story. Honestly, I didn’t realize how important you were to me, until Saturday night and my drive home with Amber Megan the following day.

Please consider me indebted to you for the rest of my life. Please know that I really do LOVE you. Please stop by and spend a night or a week, the next time that you are driving through North Carolina (seriously). Please allow me to be one of your first calls if/when you need a friend/resource (inbox me privately anyone that desires to exchange personal contact information. It would be a great joy to stay in touch!!!). You’re the Class of ’99 and you are MY people!!!

Just wanted to share a handful of the millions of thoughts that have flooded my mind and heart, over the last 72 hours before it was too late and this Facebook group is once again shut down for another 10 years.

My heart overflows with love and affection for you, Class of 1999.

You are loved!!!

James Walsh

David Benoit at My Father’s Place June 17, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, TV, Weather.
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Friday night marked my second time in My Father’s Place at The Roslyn Hotel. The first time in March was to see The Rippingtons. This time, I saw one of the musicians from their first album: David Benoit. I saw David as part of Dave Koz’s 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour in December 2017 and at Smooth Jazz for Scholars in April 2018, but hadn’t seen him solo since October 2012, five days before Hurricane Sandy, at The Iridium. Furthermore, it was the first time I’d seen David on Long Island since his Christmas show at IMAC in December 2008, my last time there before it closed the following June.

I arrived at My Father’s Place at 6:30, entering from The Roslyn Hotel lobby and taking the elevator down to the lower level where it and 1221 at MFP are situated. The hostess recommended a table in the center. Considering the way the piano, bass, and drums were arranged, I opted for that table. I ate a cheeseburger and french fries, then waited for 8:00 to come.

Once again, there was an opening comedy act: Sherry Davey:

I was familiar with Sherry’s work, having seen her on an episode of NickMom Night Out, a signature show when Nick Jr. aired a late night programming block for adults. Sherry lives in nearby Port Washington and she incorporated many local references into her set. She also talked about getting remarried, online dating, millennials, her daughters, her nephew, her parents, and living with heart disease. I noticed in her website bio that one of her daughters is autistic. I’m on the spectrum myself, diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome 20 years ago. That could be why I’m so passionate about the music of David Benoit and other artists that I’m into.

After 20 minutes, Sherry’s set was over and it was time for the David Benoit Trio.

David led the trio on piano…:

…with Roberto Vally on bass:

…and Merrick native Dan Schnelle on drums:

Including the encore, the set ran 73 minutes. Here’s what they played:
1. Every Step of the Way
Originally heard on: Every Step of the Way (1988), The Steinway Sessions (2017)

2. Só Danço Samba
Originally heard on: So Nice! (with Marc Antoine) (2017)

3. Sienna Step
Originally heard on: David Benoit and Friends (coming later in 2019)

4. Vernazza
Originally heard on: David Benoit and Friends (coming later in 2019)

5. Kei’s Song
Originally heard on: Freedom at Midnight (1987), Conversation (2012) (as “Kei’s Song Redux”), The Steinway Sessions (2017)

6. Waiting for Spring
Originally heard on: Waiting for Spring (1989)

7. Dad’s Room
Originally heard on: Professional Dreamer (1999), The Steinway Sessions (2017)

8. If I Were a Bell
Originally heard on: Heroes (2008) (bonus track on Japan release; not worth importing unless you don’t have the U.S. release)

9. Cast Your Fate to the Wind
Originally heard on: Waiting for Spring (1989)

10. Beat Street
Originally heard on: Full Circle (2006)

11. Strange Meadowlark/Blue Rondo a La Turk (Dave Brubeck medley)
Originally heard on: Digits (1983), The Steinway Sessions (2017); Heroes (2008)

12. Freedom at Midnight
Originally heard on: Freedom at Midnight (1987), Earthglow (2010) (subtitled “The Schroeder Variations”)

13 (Encore). Linus and Lucy
Originally heard on: This Side Up (1985), Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown! (1989), Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000), The Steinway Sessions (2017)

I can’t wait to hear how “Siena Strut” and “Vernazza” sound on the new album when it comes out, likely by September. I will definitely play something from it on my Homecoming Weekend show in October. In the meantime, I’m falling in love with The Steinway Sessions.

Now, for groups of pictures of each band member, starting with David Benoit:

Roberto Vally:

…and Dan Schnelle:

The end of the encore:

I hung out in the lobby for about 15 minutes, mingling with David, Roberto, and Dan. Dan introduced David to his mother and grandparents. That was when I learned he was originally from Merrick. I perked up, telling them I grew up and live nearby in Wantagh.

Roberto asked me to send him the pictures I took of him, which I did on Saturday, including this one:

Two guys from the South Shore:

Lastly, me and David:

On the subject of his song “Dad’s Room,” I told him how much I enjoyed “Secret Love” on Waiting for Spring, which was a duet with his father Bob on rhythm electric guitar. He appreciated that, picking up on the story he told during the set of how that album was recorded in one day for budgetary reasons.

I had a great watching David, Roberto, and Dan perform. Thanks to all of you. Thanks also to Sherry Davey for relatable jokes and hilarious impressions.

I’m in an episode of The Gaming Historian! May 31, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, History, Internet, Media, Personal, Video, Video Games.
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Last Tuesday, Norman Caruso, a.k.a. The Gaming Historian (website), put out a call on his Discord chat server, which I belong to, for people to read a newspaper review blurb for an episode on The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, a Game Boy game released in 1993.

I recorded two takes to one WAVE file and e-mailed it to him. For posterity, here is that file.

Two days later, he announced that he chose my submission and posted a rough cut to his Patreon supporters, of which I’m one, as well as on Discord. Yesterday, the final cut went public. Watch below:

My part, the first take of my submission, can be heard about nine minutes in. Here’s the audio from that part.

I’m also in the credits:

As a result of this video, though not necessarily because of me, The Gaming Historian YouTube channel surpassed 600,000 subscribers!

Thank you very much, Norm, for the opportunity. I greatly appreciate it.

7:53 PM UPDATE: About 90 minutes ago, Norm tweeted the following:

As I type, the video has over 236,000 views! That will surely continue to grow. I’m glad to have been part of a record-setting video.

Witnessing the final round of the 2019 PGA Championship May 21, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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For the fourth year in a row, I attended at least one PGA Tour event; and for the third time in the last four years, I attended a round of a major golf tournament. Three years ago, it was the second round of the PGA Championship at Baltusrol. Last year, the third round of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. Sunday, I attended the final round of the PGA Championship (final leaderboard) at Bethpage State Park’s Black Golf Course, Bethpage Black for short. The Black previously hosted the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Open.

The 101st PGA Championship was the first to be played in May, after decades in which it was held in August and served as the last major of the season. Now, it’s the second. That means CBS holds the broadcast rights to the first two majors of the year, with Fox carrying the U.S. Open and NBC televising the Open Championship.

Bethpage State Park and its courses are only 15 minutes away from my Wantagh home, but going there for the PGA Championship by car required driving south to Jones Beach State Park parking field 3 or 4 for general parking:

My dad and I were directed to field 4:

From there, a shuttle bus took us east on Ocean Parkway, north on Wantagh Parkway to Exit W6, east on Merrick Road, north on the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway (NY 135), east on Merritts Road (after exiting at a special ramp), and finally to the terminal outside Bethpage Black. We arrived at 12:30, two hours and five minutes before Brooks Koepka (“KEP-ka”), the 54-hole leader by seven shots, was to tee off:

The sun broke through the clouds for the first few hours, but the clouds eventually won out.

The USGA calls their shop the Merchandise Pavilion; the PGA calls it The PGA Shops:

Having already purchased a cap and short-sleeve shirt, the latter of which I wore on the second night of Smooth Jazz for Scholars, and not wanted to lug a bag of merchandise all day, I waited until we left in the evening to get anything.

The defending champion, and, I hoped, the repeat champion:

The range:

Among those practicing were Lucas Bjerregaard, Erik Van Rooyen, and Rickie Fowler.

The obligatory photo op:

The practice green and media center:

The bridge to the range:

The bridge from the 18th green:

Another practice green:

Phil Mickelson walking up the bridge after his final round:

He shot 76 for the second consecutive round, finishing at +12.

The 1:05 group: Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open Champion…:

…and Lucas Bjerregaard:

The Lucases both shot 73 and finished at +3.

The electronic leaderboard/TV monitor:

The 1st fairway:

The 1st green:

I stood by the 2nd tee to watch three groups come by:

First, another group where the pair share a first name: Danny Lee:

…and Danny Willett, 2016 Masters Champion:

The Dannys both shot 77, with Lee finishing at +6 and Willett +7.

The Goodyear Blimp provided aerial coverage early on:

But cloud cover forced it to ground.

The second group I saw at 2 was Rickie Fowler:

…and Sung Kang, who won the AT&T Byron Nelson tournament the week before:

Fowler shot 77 to finish at +6, while Kang fared a little better: 72 to finish even-par.

The third was Jordan Spieth, who won the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015 and Open Championship in 2017:

…and Erik Van Rooyen:

Van Rooyen’s tee shot was way left:

Here’s where it ended up:

The 2nd fairway:

The 2nd green:

Spieth was one stroke better than yesterday, 71, ending up at -2. Van Rooyen shot 73 and finished at +1.

The 3rd tee:

The 3rd green and 4th tee:

The 4th fairway:

After that, I started to get hot – that’ll teach me to wear a jacket – and didn’t feel like walking the entire course. So, I headed for the 18th green. Along the way, I saw the 13th green:

14th tee:

14th green:

Back across Round Swamp Road, the 16th green grandstand:

15th tee:

16th green:

Somewhere in the distance is the 17th tee:

The 17th green and its grandstands:

The 18th tee:

18th fairway, which didn’t see many balls this round:

The 18th green and grandstands:

The TNT/CBS broadcast tower, overlooking the 18th fairway and green:

Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo called the action from 2:00 to 7:00. Spoiler alert: the championship ended on time, meaning 60 Minutes started on time.

The 18th fairway, seen from the greenside bunker:

Matt Kuchar after shooting 69:

He was one of a handful players under par for the round. He finished +1 for the championship.

After stopping at the adjacent concession stand for lunch/dinner, Dad and I returned to our spot by the greenside bunker:

We stayed there to the end. The stiff breezes cooled me off to the point where I put my jacket back on.

Between groups, the leaderboard would switch to the CBS feed (no audio). We watched as Brooks Koepka’s seven-shot lead almost evaporated, mainly due to four straight bogeys from 11 to 14, and Dustin Johnson, two groups ahead, drew closer, with five birdies and only one bogey through 15 holes. Even though I’ve rooted against players myself, I was startled that the fans around me, behind me by the ropes and up in the stands, were cheering Koepka’s demise. I like D.J., I even saw him triumph over Jordan Spieth in The Northern Trust two years ago, but I wanted Koepka to finish what he started. I’ve seen collapses in other sports, and the 2012 Ryder Cup, and I don’t like them. When Dustin Johnson faltered himself with bogeys at 16 and 17, I shook my head in affirmation and pumped my fist, not that anyone noticed. “Take that, fans,” I thought. But the fans cheered again when D.J. saved par at 18, chanting “D.J.! D.J.!” They cheered more as Brooks Koepka missed a short par putt at 17.

We’ll get to Koepka’s 18th hole in a bit. But first, here are some of the players that came before him, starting with Rory McIlroy, the 2012 and 2014 PGA Champion, as well as the 2011 U.S. Open Champion and 2014 Champion Golfer of the Year (winner of the Open Championship):

Like Matt Kuchar, McIlroy shot under par 69 and finished at +1.

When I went back to the concession stand for a chocolate chip cookie, I noticed there was another course map, smaller than the one by the entrance:

Back at the green, the Lucases, Glover and Bjerregaard:

One hole earlier, at 17, Bjerregaard made a hole in one while Glover chipped in for birdie from the bunker! I heard the roar, but didn’t know what it was until I saw on the leaderboard/monitor. It turns out my friend, guitarist and vocalist Matt Marshak, was there and saw both shots! How exciting!

Back at 18, Danny Lee in the bunker:

Rickie Fowler:

Jordan Spieth:

Dustin Johnson:

“D.J.! D.J.!”:

He finished with a 69, -6 for the championship. Spoiler again, Koepka survived 18 to win by two.

Luke List:

List had a rough day after three rounds under par. He shot 74 to finish at -1.

And that brings us to Brooks Koepka. His tee shot landed in the fescue left of the fairway:

His second shot landed back in the fairway.

After checking the distance…:

…he laid up and landed on the green, 12 feet from the hole:

The fans changed their allegiance to Koepka as he walked up to his ball:

After playing partner Harold Varner III putted out, an unfortunate 81 for him and +6 finish, Koepka putt from 12 feet:

…and made it:

As Jim Nantz said on TV, “It’s a Koepka coronation!” “Coronation” was the word I had hoped for after Saturday. Despite shooting a 74, his only round over par, he was crowned repeat PGA Champion.

Here’s how it looked on CBS:

I couldn’t see the trophy presentation from where I was:

Unfortunately, no one could hear it, either. Whoever was in charge of the speakers didn’t feed into the CBS audio. Only the TV audience heard Bill Macatee as he announced Rob Labritz was the low-scoring club professional, heard PGA of America President Suzy Whaley introduce Brooks Koepka as he returned to the green to receive the Wanamaker Trophy, and heard Koepka fielding Macatee’s questions. Fans in the grandstands cried “we can’t hear you!” and words to that effect. They cheered when it seemed like they were supposed to: when Labritz waved and Koepka raised the trophy. This could be why I’m unable to find video of the presentation online. This video has excerpts at the beginning, but that’s all we get. Otherwise, I have to consult my DVR, as I did yesterday morning.

5/26 UPDATE: One week later, the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship was played upstate, at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, televised on Golf Channel and NBC. Ken Tanigawa won by one shot. This time, the crowd at 18 was able to hear the trophy presentation hosted by Steve Sands. Oak Hill will host the regular PGA in 2023, as it did in 2013, 2003, and 1980. It first hosted the Senior PGA in 2008.

With no sign that the presentation would be redone for the fans, Dad and I headed for the exit:

Future PGA Championship sites:

Along the way, we went into The PGA Shops:

I had to get a commemorative 18th hole flag, as I had done for the two U.S. Opens. Yesterday morning, I unwrapped it and put it on my bedroom wall:

It replaced the flag from the 2009 U.S. Open:

…which replaced the one from 2002:

That one developed creases from being folded up for ten years.

Back at the Black, it was time to go:

With my iPhone’s battery at 10%, I turned it off for the shuttle bus ride back to Jones Beach. I charged it in the car on the way home and back in my room once I got home.

Bethpage Black’s next big event will be the 2024 Ryder Cup. The last thing I’d like to hear that Sunday, whether in person or on TV, is the “Olé” song, indicating Europe won again.

I’m so glad that Brooks Koepka held on to win the 101st PGA Championship. It’s his fourth major victory in the last eight he’s played. The win returned him to #1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. And he’s undefeated on Long Island, having won his second U.S. Open last year at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton. Congratulations, Brooksie!

Will Koepka get the three-peat at Pebble Beach next month? Will Dustin Johnson redeem himself after losing the lead in the final round the last time the U.S. Open was at Pebble? We’ll see.

6/16 UPDATE: Neither happened. Gary Woodland won by three shots over Koepka to win his first major.

Until then, I’ll leave you with videos…:

Todd Lewis’s interview with Brooks Koepka for Golf Channel

…and articles:
Mike Lopresti, PGA.com: Big-Game Brooks Koepka Goes Wire to Wire for First Repeat PGA Championship Since Tiger Woods
Ryan Lavner, Golf Channel: Little brother no more: Koepka sends message staring down DJ at the PGA
ESPN: Koepka struggles, holds off Johnson for PGA win
Kyle Porter, CBS Sports: Brooks Koepka finds his edge, exuding toughness in fourth major win
Greg Logan, Newsday: Brooks Koepka holds on to win at Bethpage Black despite struggling in final round
Hank Gola, New York Daily News: Brooks Koepka wins PGA Championship overcoming difficult course, hostile crowd
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: How Brooks Koepka avoided epic PGA Championship choke job

Perfect Bid: The documentary that set me straight May 16, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Game Shows, Internet, Interviews, Media, Personal, TV.
2 comments

About a decade ago, when I regularly watched The Price is Right, I would post about major accomplishments that I saw. One of those involved Terry Kneiss (“nees”), who went on a run that ended with him winning both showcases with a perfect bid. Host Drew Carey deadpanned in response, not at all excited by the achievement. Unaware of the circumstances, and considering how I reacted in a recording I made after bowling a 221 in 2002, I defended his reaction.

Two years later, Terry released a book called Cause and Effects, which defended his actions.

Three years after that, I heard Drew’s side of the story on a podcast: the tape clearly showed Terry got his exact prices from an audience member with a grudge. I updated my original post about Terry’s book with Drew’s remarks. I considered it closure to my years of watching The Price is Right. George Gray’s announcing delivery didn’t sit right with me and I no longer liked watch contestants lose on any game show. So, I stopped watching.

5/30 UPDATE: Watching old episodes of TPiR on YouTube last weekend led me to DVR Monday’s episode for comparison. Whatever distaste I had in the show when I stopped watching went away. I’m back on the bandwagon. I’m also watching Jeopardy! again to see how long James Holzhauer can last as champion. I’m in awe and wish I had watched sooner.

6/6 UPDATE: Never mind. Holzhauer was unseated after 32 wins and contestants lose too much on TPiR. I’m back off both bandwagons because tonight’s new champion, knocking off the woman that knocked off Holzhauer, says “please” nearly every time he makes a selection. I like assertiveness in contestants. Shorthanding category names and dollar amounts is also a plus. Picky, aren’t I? It’s the curse of having Asperger Syndrome: nonsense like this bothers you. Anyway…

This week on Netflix, while searching for Still Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate, I noticed an entry in one of the queues called Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much. So, that’s why the Cause and Effects post was getting hits on my blog. Yesterday, I watched it.

Perfect Bid profiles a “loyal friend and true,” Theodore Slauson. Ted became a fan of TPiR early in its CBS run and noticed that the same items were up for bids with the same prices on several shows. So, he kept track of those items through spreadsheets, word processing documents, and original computer software. Starting in the early ’80s, he regularly attended tapings, giving contestants in contestants’ row and on stage the prices of prizes. There were plenty of $100 bonuses awarded for perfect One Bids and Bob Barker gave him his due during the tapings. He even came on down once in 1992, winning One Bid and Punch-a-Bunch.

After his day as a contestant, he stopped attending tapings to focus on other things. He returned in 2002 and helped a fellow audience member win over $39,000 in cash and prizes.

When Drew Carey took over for Bob Barker in 2007, the rule that contestants could only appear once was rescinded. That opened the door for Ted to return. At the start of season 37, Ted went to a taping in the hopes of coming on down again. He didn’t, but Terry Kneiss did. The two met in line before the taping.

Perfect Bid notes that Ted was edited out of several camera shots during the show which aired in September 2008. The note came as an excerpt began from host Drew Carey’s appearance on Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show. The impression given to Drew by producer Kathy Greco, who Bob dubbed “Fingers” when he was the host, was that Ted was sent by Roger Dobkowitz, fired as producer the season before, to sabotage the show. Giving Terry exact prices was revenge exacted by a fan group. Drew later found out Ted was innocent, but didn’t know that as the show was taped.

Kathy stopped production after Terry and his fellow showcase contestant gave their bids, trying to make sense of what had happened. When taping resumed, Drew deadpanned the results, assuming the show would never air because of Ted’s involvement, shook Terry’s hand, and wrapped up the show. But it did air. In the aftermath, TPiR staff never used the same item more than once. The price one day will not be the price another day.

In the final moments of the documentary, Ted remarked:

You know, I’ve been called a lot of ugly names on the Internet, and in podcasts and things like that, and it’s just sad that people don’t know the whole story. So, I appreciate being able to tell it.

And I appreciate having seen Perfect Bid. It cleared the air about what happened on that September morning a decade ago. Thank you, CJ Wallis, for setting me straight. Thank you for interviewing Theodore “Ted” Slauson, Bob Barker, and Roger Dobkowitz. I highly recommend you watch it. This post only scratches the surface.

Sincerely, Mike Chimeri, a loyal friend and true starting with summer 1992 reruns.

2019 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony May 14, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Football, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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Other Hall of Fame ceremony recaps: 20122013201420152017, 2018

Video of the ceremony can be found at the end of this post.

The eighth annual WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony was held Saturday afternoon in the Goldsmith Atrium at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of LIU Post. As you can see above, this year’s inductees were Lew Scharfberg, Fred Gaudelli, and Pete Bellotti.

The ceremony began at 1:10 with an introduction by WCWP Director of Broadcasting Dan Cox…:

…and a video narrated by Bernie Bernard, who was inducted in 2013:

This picture taken during a dissolve was a happy accident because it looks like Lew and Jeff Kroll, the Master of Ceremonies, are pointing at Pete:

Jeff at the mic as M.C.:

Dan had the honor of introducing two of the three inductees. First, was Pete Bellotti, currently of CBS Sports Radio:

Before Jeff’s interview and remembrances from the audience, Pete gave a speech:

Jay Mirabile had an interesting story:

Joe Manfredi, Director of Operations while Pete was a student, was complimentary:

Pete even acknowledged me when referencing the music I provided and hours of co-hosting for WCWP’s live broadcast from Bar Beach Park (now North Hempstead Beach Park) in 2006:

I was about 90 pounds heavier at the time, as I co-hosted with Eli W. Sen:

“It was a fun experience”:

Lew Scharfberg was next, following Jeff’s introduction:

Among Lew’s stories in his speech were the teletype bell ringing frantically on August 16, 1977, as news broke that Elvis Presley had died, and learning of the Dome Auditorium roof collapse during the Blizzard of 1978.

Bill Mozer misremembered one anecdote…:

…and had to be corrected by Dan:

He accurately recalled another:

Neil Marks ribbed Lew, leading to an impassioned defense…:

…but was also complimentary: