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Riding the Long Island Expressway July 29, 2012

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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I went to Hoboken last Saturday for my friends’ daughter’s first birthday party.  On the drive with my parents to and from the Madison Bar and Grill, I took plenty of pictures.  In fact,  I shot more on the drive than at the party: 115 out of 224.

In this post, we’ll focus on pics taken on Interstate 495, the L.I.E. (Long Island Expressway).

Westbound, starting with Exit 37:

Exit 36:

Exit 33:

Exit 32:

Exit 31:

Exit 28:

Exit 27:

A tow truck got in the way for the next few exits.  I resumed at Exit 20:

Exit 19:

Exit 18:

Exit 17W:

Exit 16:

Exit 15, the last westbound exit:

Eastbound starts immediately after the tolls with Exit 13:

Exit 14:

Exit 17:

Exit 19:

Exit 21:

Exit 22:

Exit 24:

Exit 25:

There was a bow below the rear view mirror in the way in the upper left.  So, I rubber stamped it out in Adobe Photoshop 7.

Exit 26:

Exit 27:

Exit 29:

Exit 30:

Exit 31S:

Traffic advisory sign:

Exit 32:

Exit 33:

Exit 34:

Exit 35:

Exit 36:

Exit 37:

Exit 38:

Exit 39:

Exit 40W:

Exit 40E:

Exit 41S:

Exit 41N:

Exit 42:

Exit 43:

A closer look:

Before HOV lanes were added, the Exit 43 ramp was here:

The original ramp can be seen in a video from WLIG-TV (now WLNY) after Hurricane Gloria hit Long Island on September 27, 1985.  This is a vidcap (h/t Mike Erickson):

Video:

The vidcap was taken at the 1:03 mark.

Exit 44S:

That was our exit.  From there, it wasn’t long before we got home.  I spent several hours the next day editing all 224 pictures.  The party pics were easy to edit because I used the flash and didn’t have to fix the color or smudge out license plates.

Trust Us with Your Life; UPDATE: Canceled!; UPDATE 2: Not officially canceled.; UPDATE 3: I give up. July 12, 2012

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Media, Music, Personal, Sports, TV.
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8/1 UPDATE: Trust Us with Your Life has been canceled.
8/2 UPDATE: Or has it?  More on these updates at the bottom of the post.
2/19/13 UPDATE: I give up.  I’ll assume it’s canceled.
4/1/13 UPDATE:
Whose Line is it Anyway? reboots this summer!

If you like improvisational comedy, you’ll love the new ABC series Trust Us with Your Life.  It was developed by Dan Patterson, one of the people behind Whose Line is it Anyway?  It’s hosted by Fred Willard and stars improv veterans Wayne Brady, Jonathan Mangum, and Colin Mochrie.  The first two episodes have also starred Greg Proops and Craig Cackowski.

The stars of the show create scenes based on stories recounted by each episode’s guest, which have included (and will include) Serena Williams, Jack and Kelly Osbourne, Mark Cuban, Ricky Gervais, and Florence Henderson (a guest in a latter season of Whose Line).  There are improv games to go along with the scenes.  If you’ve seen previous Drew Carey’s* previous improv series or tours, this sample of games played may sound familiar:

  • Glee Club It! (like Showstopping Number)
  • Putting Words in My Mouth (like Dubbing)
  • Rap It! (like Kick It!)
  • Dramatic Episode (like First Date and New Choice)
  • Styles

As a hardcore fan of improv comedy, I laughed hard at most of the scenes.

Unfortunately, post-Whose Line improv series have not lasted long:

  • Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show was canceled on the WB after only a handful of episodes.  The rest of the recorded episodes were run a year later on Comedy Central.
  • Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza ran five nights a week for eight weeks, but did poorly on GSN.  It was not renewed.  But thanks to the five-night-a-week run, it is the longest-running post-Whose Line series.

I’m hoping Trust Us with Your Life breaks that trend and becomes a huge hit.  Why watch serial sitcoms, dramas, and reality shows when you can laugh uncontrollably for 30 to 60 minutes a week with no conflict?  Thank you, Dan Patterson, for giving us TUSWYL.  I love it!

*-Due to Drew’s contract with CBS, he is not allowed to appear on TUSWYL since it’s on a competing network.

8/1 UPDATE: Nope, the trend was not bucked.  Trust Us with Your Life has been canceled.  Another post-Whose Line improv series has failed.

Blame this on Fred Willard’s incident all you want, but this is really about a majority of American viewers not looking kindly on improv comedy.  The fact that Whose Line is it Anyway? lasted so long amazes me when you consider that its offspring cannot achieve the same staying power.

There are only two cable networks I can imagine the TUWYL re-emerging and perhaps achieving success: Comedy Central or BBC America.  But that won’t happen, either.

All involved with the show – in addition to Green Screen and Improv-a-Ganza- should be applauded for trying.  Among improv fans like myself, these are hits, but there aren’t enough fans like us to make a difference.  It’s a reality we must accept.

8/2 UPDATE: I didn’t catch this until around 11:50 last night, but the TUYWL Facebook page said this about the show’s fate at 10:15 Tuesday night:

I would like to clarify something. “Trust Us With Your Life” has NOT been officially cancelled as of right now. The last two episodes were pulled from the schedule due to competing with ratings for the Olympics. The last two episodes may (or may not) be scheduled at a later time. If you would love to at least see the final two episodes of the season, feel free to write to ABC directly (in other words, not on here) and vocalize this. Thanks, all.

Notice the post says “the final two episodes of the season,” and not the series.  I’d like to think they’re right; that Trust Us with Your Life is still alive and merely on hiatus.  If so, it would fly in the face of those reveling in its demise because of who the host is.

2/19/13 UPDATE: I give up.  I think I can safely say that Trust Us with Your Life was indeed canceled and is never coming back.  And while Fred Willard continues to have guest shots on TV series, the performers he moderated, so to speak, haven’t been seen on TV since; at least not to my knowledge.

So, once again, a post-Whose Line improv series bites the dust.  Maybe if Nick Cannon was the host, as he was on Wild ‘n Out, Trust Us with Your Life would still be on the air.

4/1/13 UPDATE: Whose Line is it Anyway?reboots this summer!

Derecho flashback July 1, 2012

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Radio, Sports, Weather.
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Friday’s derecho that plowed through the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic took me back fourteen years to a derecho that impacted Long Island.

Derecho” is a Spanish term that has many translations, including “straight.”  The “straight” translation gives the long-lasting weather event its name because of the straight-line winds it produces.

The derecho I remember hit in the mid-afternoon of September 7, 1998; Labor Day.  But I didn’t even know of that term, or the swath of damage it caused, until last winter while reading up on major storms that have hit Long Island.

Outside of looking at the radar on The Weather Channel and hearing the thunder, I was oblivious of the derecho’s effects.  I was in the basement of my friend Joey’s house, a few blocks southwest of my home in Wantagh.  The basement was basically his apartment.  It had a bedroom, entertainment center (where we were at the time), and bathroom.  I sat at a table while he sat on the couch.  I flipped back and forth from The Weather Channel and ESPN, the latter of which was carrying a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.  Mark McGwire hit his 61st home run of that season in that game.

Despite the strong winds and lightning, the power never went out at Joey’s house.  My house wasn’t so lucky.  We did lose power.  Considering what I learned recently, I can understand why and why it was out for so long.  Power was not restored until around 4AM, about half a day after the derecho hit.

YouTube user Eltiempo10 has video of a Weather Channel Local Forecast at 2:58 PM:

The forecast begins at 0:38, following a station promo featuring Mike Bono, who is now at YNN.  (Click here for my December 2005 interview with him.)  The JFK “Current Conditions” observation at the top of the forecast is from before the derecho.  At 0:50, you’ll notice the temperature went down 11 degrees and the wind speed was 51 MPH!  Much of the last 90-seconds is the 90-minute radar loop.  The music excerpt used is “Secrets” by Brazilian jazz guitarist Torcuato Mariano, from his 1995 album Last Look.