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David Benoit/Charlie Brown Christmas recap December 20, 2008

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Weather.
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For my recap of David Benoit’s show at Tarrytown Music Hall in May 2010, click here.

When I woke up on Thursday, I had no idea that there was any wintry precipitation on the way.  But a weather alert from my The Weather Channel Desktop Max software noted we were under a Winter Storm Watch with potential snow accumulations of six inches or more yesterday (Friday).  This brought a fear to my mind that David Benoit’s Charlie Brown Christmas concert at IMAC in Huntington – a concert I had been looking forward to for six months – would be canceled.

Later in the day, I learned from News 12 Traffic & Weather that we (Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island) were only under a Winter Weather Advisory and accumulations of only two to four inches were expected with snow changing to sleet and rain by afternoon.

As Friday afternoon began, it was still snowing and there was plenty of accumulation, or so it felt.  It also felt like the snow was unstoppable.  At 3:00, I went outside to shovel the snow in our (my family’s) driveway.  At first, snow and sleet fell, then only sleet, and finally rain.  One hour later, I went inside to grab my digital camera.  Then, I went back outside, where the sleet had returned and picked up in intensity.  I attached the camera to my mini-tripod, rested it on a chair in the front porch, and took a few self-timed pictures.  This was the best one (despite the visible wet spots on my khakis):

Three hours later, having not received a cancellation e-mail, me and my mom – who had never been to a David Benoit concert – braved horrendous driving conditions, especially on the Long Island Expressway (I-495; L.I.E.), in the rain and sleet, and headed up to IMAC for the concert.

David Benoit and his quartet miraculously arrived at LaGuardia Airport from Reagan National (they were in Washington, D.C. on Thursday) before the worst of the storm hit.

With that preliminary information out of the way, let the recap begin.

The David Benoit Quartet was comprised of David Benoit on piano:

David Hughes on acoustic bass…

…and electric bass:

Jamey Tate on drums:

And Andy Suzuki on saxophone…

…and flute:


1. You’re In Love, Charlie Brown

2. The Buggy Ride

David speaking to the audience…

…and introducing the band after The Buggy Ride:

3. The Great Pumpkin Waltz

4. Wild Kids
The last two minutes featured a call and response between David B. and Andy.
Starting here, David H. was on electric bass for the rest of the set.

5. Human Nature

6.Kei’s Song
Andy did not perform on this.

7. Freedom At Midnight

8. Beat Street
This featured a wild drum solo from Jamey.


9.  Christmas is Coming

10. Skating

11.O Tannenbaum
Andy did not perform on this.  David H. had a bass solo.
Midway through, a small Christmas tree was brought out.  It was a replica of the tree picked by Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas.  David left the piano to decorate it and fasten it to its stand:

Then, he returned to the piano.

The rest of the set featured the Stimson Showstoppers from Stimson Middle School in Huntington Station.  They were under the direction of Ms. Terri Haas.

12. Just Like Me
This was the only original piece in the second set.  It was co-written by David B. and Lee Mendelson, and first appeared on 40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas in 2005, where it was performed by Vanessa Williams.
Here, two of the Stimson Showstoppers, Amelia and Olivia (I hope I got their names right), doubly handled the vocals.

They got a standing ovation from an audience that seemed to my ears to feature many students, faculty, and parents from Stimson and the South Huntington School District, as well as general Huntington residents.  Though I and the rest of the audience were outsiders, we were all Stimson last night.

Then, the rest of the Showstoppers came on stage for…

13. My Little Drum
Andy did not perform on this.

14. Hark The Herald Angels Sing (vocalizing only)/Christmas Time Is Here

15. Linus and Lucy
For Linus and Lucy, all they had to do was clap (and dance) to the music.

The set was complete, but the night was not:

ENCORE 1: Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Assuming there would only be one encore, I shot two curtain call pictures.  The first one is blurry, but looks artsy.  So, I’ve included it:

But on this night, there was a second encore!

ENCORE 2: The Christmas Song (David only)

And that was officially it.

At the meet-and-greet, David and I saw each other in person for the first time since July 2006.  At the time, I was about 80 pounds heavier than I am now.  He was very complimentary of how I looked and of the weight I had lost.

Once we finished catching up, me and my mom headed for home.  The roads weren’t as bad going home as they were heading to IMAC.  Unfortunately, more snow is in the forecast for tomorrow.  This is going to be some winter, isn’t it?


Defending Drew Carey December 17, 2008

Posted by Mike C. in Game Shows, Media, Radio, TV.
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5/16/19 UPDATE: I wrote a long overdue follow up after watching Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much.

Yesterday on “The Price is Right” on CBS, a contestant named Terry Kneiss (“niece”) from Las Vegas made a perfect bid in the Showcase round and won both showcases.  This was only the second time in the history of the show that a contestant bid perfectly.  The other time was in the first season, 1972-1973.

For not being enthusiastic enough in announcing this milestone, host Drew Carey has been roundly criticized, especially on the internet.  Other criticisms include: he bungled the situation, he can no longer be defended, he shouldn’t have been the host in the first place, bring back Bob Barker, etc.

I was going to link here to video of yesterday’s Showcase round, so you could just for yourself.  But it wouldn’t load properly.  Instead, click here for the full episode on CBS.com.  Then, scroll ahead to 31:25 for the full round or 37:06 for the stoic reaction that’s infuriated so many people.

I am here to defend Drew.  I believe he was simply in stunned disbelief and shock.  Not everyone handles that situation by yelling and screaming.  Drew has had the yelling, screaming reaction before, but he is far from perfect.  If you want Drew to be wildly enthusiastic every time, you’re going to be disappointed.  Clearly, many were disappointed by this.  If you want to stop watching “The Price is Right” because Drew isn’t enthusiastic enough for your taste, it’s your choice.  But there are plenty of people like me that support Drew and will continue to watch.  I have been a Drew Carey fan since “The Drew Carey Show,” I became a bigger fan when he started the U.S. version of “Whose Line is it Anyway?,” and I’ve supported him on all projects since.

If you’re a fellow Drew Carey fan/supporter, you’re welcome to leave a comment.  I look forward to hearing from you.

And congratulations to Terry.  You wrote a second chapter for the history books.

12/18 UPDATE: TMZ – I can’t believe I’m linking to them – has audio of an interview with 93.1 The Party in Las Vegas.

And Paul Walsh of The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has a report on Terry’s win and the “internet buzz” that followed it (and, of course, Drew Carey’s stoic reaction).

Peter White Christmas 2008 recap December 14, 2008

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal.
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Friday night at 9:30, I attended the later of two Peter White Christmas concerts at IMAC in Huntington.  It was the fourth year in a row that I attended the concert.  I was seated in the first row of the center left section, a few seats to the right of where I sat for Guitars & Saxes in October.

For this recap, we’ll introduce the players as we progress through the set list and accompanying pictures.  Here we go:

1. The Little Drummer Boy

Rick Braun was on the trumpet, flugelhorn, and percussion.

Peter White (right) handled the guitars.

Mindi Abair (third from left) played alto and soprano saxophones.

2. The Christmas Song/Greensleeves

In between Christmas Song verses: “Merry Christmas, everybody!”

Peter addresses Mindi between songs.

3. I Can’t Wait For Christmas

Nate Phillips (bass) and Peter provide background vocals for the a capella portion…

…as did Rayford Griffin (drums; above Mindi) and Rick (not pictured).

The only vocalless player in the band was Ron Reinhardt (keyboards).

4. Notorious

5. Winter Wonderland (with audience participation)

6. White Christmas (with audience participation)

7. Blue Christmas

Peter donned an Elvis Presley wig and sang in the late rocker’s style.

Another picture of Peter addressing the audience between songs:

8. Jingle Jangle Blues (audience participation for Jingle Bells chorus lyrics)

This song featured a keyboard solo from Ron Reinhardt…

…and a drum solo from Rayford Griffin.

9. Silent Night

Rayford had a moving vocal solo.

10. Lucy’s (with audience participation)

11. Cadillac Slim

Rick and Mindi came into the audience to perform.

Most of the performance was right next to my section!

They returned to the stage for Nate Phillips’ bass solo…

…and to finish the song.

12. Bueno Funk

The James Bond glasses…

13. Grazin’ in the Grass

14. Santa Claus is Coming to Town/Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

“I know if you’ve been bad or good…”

Lt. Col. Braun:

Then, the band briefly walked off the stage…

…and returned for the encore.

Encore: Happy Chrismtas/O Holy Night

And that was it.

During the meet-and-greet, I finally met Rayford…

…and caught up with Peter and Mindi.

I’m sorry I missed you, Rick.  Next time.

With that, another recap is complete.  Next week, I’ll have a recap of the Charlie Brown Christmas concert featuring David Benoit.

Back-to-back Friday concerts at IMAC December 12, 2008

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal.
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For the next two Friday nights, I’ll be attending concerts at the IMAC (Inter-Media Art Center) in Huntington.

Tonight, it’s Peter White Christmas with Peter White, Mindi Abair, and Rick Braun at 9:30 PM.  This will be my fourth year attending.

Next Friday, it’s A Charlie Brown Christmas featuring David Benoit at 8PM.

I will have recaps of both concerts within a few days after them.

“Dad Side” reading/listening complete! December 9, 2008

Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, Books, Personal.
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Moments ago (4:42 PM EST), I completed reading and listening to “Tales from the Dad Side” by Steve Doocy.  As I said on Thanksgiving night, it took two months (just over two months, actually) to complete “A Bold, Fresh Piece of Humanity” by Bill O’Reilly.  I ate up “Dad Side” (so to speak) in just under two weeks!  Precisely, twelve days.

Now, if I could just finish reading “The Power of Body Language” by body language expert Tonya Reiman.  I started that in January, but never finished it.  If it had an accompanying audiobook, I probably would have finished it by March.  To give you an idea of how long it’s been since I started, the book comes out in paperback this month!  If that isn’t reason enough to hurry up and finish reading my hardcover copy, I don’t know what is.

Cablevision adds CNBC HD, but not FBN. December 5, 2008

Posted by Mike C. in Media, Personal, Sports, TV.

On Tuesday, Cablevision added four more HD channels to their lineup.  The key add among them was CNBC HD.  This flies in the face of customers like me that have been lobbying for the Fox Business Network to be added.  I’ve been as vocal as I can be since a week before FBN debuted in SD (standard definition) and HD (high definition) on October 15, 2007.

Originally, I was going to say more, but I decided to hold back.

The other channels added were also under the NBC Universal umbrella: Bravo HD, SCI FI HD, and USA HD.  This means that next year, I’ll be able to watch early rounds of the tennis U.S. Open in HD. 

From the press release linked above:

  • Bravo HD (iO TV channel 745) offers Bravo’s critically acclaimed arts and entertainment programming devoted to the food, fashion, design, beauty and pop culture genres including critically acclaimed series “Top Chef 5,” “Top Design 2,” Shear Genius 2,” “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style 2” and “The Real Housewives of New York City 2.”
  • CNBC HD+ (channel 771) has become the essential service for the investor, providing all the elements of CNBC with greater levels of information equipping the viewer with more tools necessary to make investment decisions.
  • SCI FI HD (channel 748 ) continues to fuel the imagination of viewers with original series and events, blockbuster movies, and classic science fiction and fantasy programming including “Sanctuary,” “Stargate Atlantis,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Ghost Hunters” and “Eureka.”
  • USA HD (channel 738 ) is the #1-rated television network in all of basic cable for the past three years. USA offers hit original series and feature movies, sports and entertainment events, off-net television shows and blockbuster theatrical films. Hit original series include: Emmy-winning “Monk;” Friday night comedy “Psych; #1-rated cable show of summer, “Burn Notice;” the #1-rated new show of the summer “In Plain Sight;” and the Emmy-winning series “The Starter Wife.”
  • 2/13/09 UPDATE: After getting a comment to this post, I noticed that the “8” and “)” became a sunglasses emoticon: 8)
    I’ve added a space between the two characters to fix that problem.

    11/19/09 UPDATE: FBN has finally come to Cablevision!