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Audiobooking 4 December 12, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Comedy, Country, Film, Game Shows, History, Internet, Media, Music, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Technology, Theatre, TV.
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Here is a list of all the audiobooks I’ve listened to in the 51 weeks since my previous “audiobooking” post:

These audiobooks got me through workouts, bedtime, long walks, and boredom.

In the case of Ron Perlman’s book, I found out after the “Legacy” chapter that Ron is politically active on social media. But I digress.

While I was obsessed with Game Show Network (now GSN) in the early 2000s, I saw plenty of Bill Anderson on Goodson-Todman game shows like Match Game and Password Plus. So, it was nice to be reacquainted with him and introduced to his music.

When you read a book, you don’t hear the tone and inflection that the author had in mind. Listening to Shelly Peiken read Confessions of a Serial Songwriter put what her words I read 16 months earlier into perspective.

Next year’s post will be #5, but will not mark five years of regularly listening to audiobooks. That milestone comes in a year and a half. In the meantime, I hope I’ve inspired you to give the above audiobooks a chance. Happy listening.

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Audiobooking 3 December 23, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Comedy, Film, History, Internet, Media, News, Personal, Pets, Politics, Radio, Sports, Technology, Theatre, TV, Video.
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Here is a list of the audiobooks I’ve listened to on Audible in the 13 months since my previous “audiobooking” post:

* – Left-wing viewpoint occasionally expressed

As I noted in my previous post, these books get me through workouts, bedtime, and boredom, but mostly the first two. As long as there are audiobooks read by my favorite public figures, I will continue to listen on Audible and chronicle those books on this site. Until next time…

A day at the 2016 PGA Championship July 30, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, Books, Golf, Health, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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I spent my Friday with my father Bill at the second round of the PGA Championship, held this year at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey. The championship was held two weeks earlier this year because of the Olympics. This is a photo recap of our day. Regular cameras weren’t allowed, so all pictures were taken on my iPhone 6.

A few months ago, I listened to the Audible version of Love That Boy, a book by National Journal senior political columnist Ron Fournier. (I ended up buying the book and then buying a copy for my dad for Father’s Day.) It’s mainly about his relationship with his son Tyler, before and after he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at age 12, about five years before I learned I had it. After the diagnosis, Ron began taking Tyler on trips to presidential museums and to meet a few living presidents, whom Ron covered while a reporter. My dad and I have also taken trips since my diagnosis: to golf tournaments, especially major championships. He used to go to golf tournaments with his friends and father, my grandpa Carmen. In particular, he attended the 1986 and 1995 U.S. Open Championships at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, and the 1993 U.S. Open at Baltusrol. Since 2002, when the U.S. Open was first held at the Bethpage Black Course in Bethpage State Park, we have been to six majors and a handful of regular tournaments. The majors we’ve been to, counting the one that’s the subject of this post, are:
2002 U.S. Open, 3rd Round – Bethpage Black Course
2004 U.S. Open, Final Round – Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
2005 PGA Championship, Final Round – Baltusrol Golf Club
2006 U.S. Open, Final Round – Winged Foot Golf Club
2009 U.S. Open, 3rd/Final Round – Bethpage Black Course
2016 PGA Championship, 2nd Round – Baltursol Golf Club

In 2005 and 2009, play was suspended due to thunderstorms (PGA) and darkness (U.S. Open). I watched the rest of those two majors on TV the following day. In 2009, I also went to the course twice before the first round; once with my mother Lisa and once alone. Here’s how that went.

Dad and I didn’t plan on going to this year’s PGA Championship, even though it was in the tri-state area, but earlier this month, my uncle Jim gave us two grounds tickets to the second round. We would be going, after all.

Rain was in the forecast for Thursday night and yesterday, which I thought would mean no trip or a wasted trip. But play was only delayed 45 minutes and the rain subsided shortly before we left Wantagh around 10AM. General parking was about a half hour away from Baltusrol at Oak Ridge Park in Clark, New Jersey. We arrived there a little after noon.

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Shuttles traveled to and from the park and Baltusrol around the clock.

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We got to the grounds just before 1PM.

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The 2019 PGA Championship will be at Bethpage Black:
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We watched Soomin Lee, Joost Luiten, and William McGirt finish their second round starting at 16.

The 16th green:
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The MetLife blimp:
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The 17th green:
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The 18th hole:
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The clubhouse:
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We reached the practice green just in time to see Phil Mickelson leave it and make his way to the 1st tee:
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Phil won the last time we were at Baltusrol in 2005.

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In his second round, he recovered from a triple bogey at the 1st to shot an even par 70, making the cut at +1.

Gregory Bourdy chipping off the green:
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He went on to shoot a 68 after starting at the 10th tee. At -3 for the championship, he was six shots back of Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb (-9) after two rounds.

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Brian Gaffney’s ball adjacent to the 6th fairway:
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Gaffney reached the green and was able to save par, but he shot a 74 (+4) in the first round and 73 (+3) in this second, missing the cut by five shots.

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The 7th fairway:
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The 11th tee and 10th green:
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From there, we watched two groups that started at the 10th:
1) Omar Uresti, Greg Chalmers (who had an autism awareness patch on his bag), Ross Fisher
2) David Muttitt, Smylie Kaufman, Zac Blair

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The view from the grandstand by the 10th tee and 9th green:
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Here, we watched a few groups:
1) J.B. Holmes, Brian Stuard, Hideki Matsuyama
2) Matt Dobyns, Tyrell Hatton, Harris English
3) Ernie Els (whose son is autistic), Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson

We left the grandstand before Jimmy Walker’s group reached the 9th green.

The 13th green:
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The aforementioned Harris English’s ball adjacent to the 13th fairway:
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He did make the cut and was five shots back (-4).

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Walking through Patron Plaza…:
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A misting fan:
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After 4 1/2 hours, our day came to an end:
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Since it was rush hour, the shuttle ride back to Oak Ridge Park took about 40 minutes. From there, Dad and I drove home, listening to the coverage of the rest of the second round on SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Radio. Heading up the coverage was the voice of the New York Giants, who play a half hour away at MetLife Stadium, Bob Papa. We arrived back at the house at about 8:30.

It was a memorable day at the PGA Championship. Thank you, Uncle Jim, for the tickets.

I will update this post after the final round.

7/31, 7:30 PM UPDATE: The rains came yesterday (Saturday) afternoon and suspended play until this (Sunday) morning. Jimmy Walker briefly trailed in the third round this morning, but regained the lead heading into the final round this afternoon. Moments ago, Walker held off defending PGA Champion Jason Day, and his own nerves, to win the 2016 PGA Championship. He won wire-to-wire, leading or tied for the lead after every round. Day showed class by congratulating Walker on the 18th green.

I’m glad to have been part of the tournament as a second round spectator.

7/31, 8:41 PM UPDATE: Post-championship links:
PGA/CBS Sports: Walker’s winning par putt
PGA/CBS Sports: Wanamaker Trophy presentation and interview
Nick Menta, Golf Channel: Walker bests Day by one to win PGA Championship
Kyle Porter & Robby Kalland, CBS Sports: PGA Championship 2016 leaderboard, highlights: Breaking down a wild ending

8/1 UPDATE: More links:
Matt Stypulkoski, The Star-Ledger: Jimmy Walker continues trend of first-time major winners
Steve Politi, The Star-Ledger: Jimmy Walker’s PGA Championship victory is a win for grinders everywhere
Hank Gola, The Star-Ledger: Is it still Jimmy Walker’s day if he had been paired with Jason Day?
Andy Vasquez, The Record: Walker holds off Day for first major
Tara Sullivan, The Record: Walker’s wire-to-wire act was dynamite (a reference to “dynomite!,” the catchphrase of J.J. Evans on Good Times, portrayed by namesake Jimmie Walker)
Michael Bamberger, Golf Magazine: Jimmy Walker Edges Jason Day, Wins 2016 PGA Championship
Art Stricklin, Golf Magazine: Party Awaits Jimmy Walker at His Home Club in Texas

8/2 UPDATE: Even more links:
PGA: Full Sunday Highlights
PGA: Full Tournament Highlights
PGA: Jimmy Walker’s Full PGA Champion Press Conference
PGA: Top 10 Shots of the 2016 PGA Championship (#9 spoiler: I saw John Senden on the practice green after he completed his second round.)

Shelly Peiken, Confessions of a Serial Songwriter March 28, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, Books, Comedy, Football, Music, Personal.
1 comment so far

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Posing with Confessions of a Serial Songwriter after I finished reading it

NOTE: This is more of a recounting of my experience leading up to buying the book, and then reading the book, than a review of it. I didn’t want to give too much away.

A few years ago, I added a friend on Facebook via mutual friends. Her name was Shelly Peiken (“PIE-kin”), and she was a native of Freeport, New York. Her mutual friends included my aunts, Randy and Robin, and a few other family friends from Freeport, where I spent much of the first 11 1/2 years of my life. Little did I know that Shelly was an established songwriter, having written “Bitch” for Meredith Brooks and “What a Girl Wants” for Christina Aguilera, among countless others. I mostly listen to instrumentals, having fallen in love with them during the local forecasts on The Weather Channel, but I was as tuned in to mainstream music as the next person.

I first heard – or rather, I saw – “Bitch” sometime in 1997 on a weekly late night NBC show, which aired after Late Night, called Friday Night Videos. Another memory of that song came later that year when my friend Joey sang the chorus as we walked through Splish Splash water park in Riverhead on Labor Day Weekend.

“What a Girl Wants” came to my attention when I was a freshman in college at LIU Post (then C.W. Post). I vividly remember having the bridge to that song in my head during the 1999-2000 NFC Championship Game, as the Buccaneers were driving (unsuccessfully) to regain the lead over the Rams late in the 4th quarter.

I knew Shelly was working on an autobiography, but didn’t know the title, or if it was out, until I noticed a post of hers in my Facebook news feed last Monday. The book is called Confessions of a Serial Songwriter. I headed to Amazon to see the book’s listing (which I linked to in the previous sentence). I contemplated whether or not I should buy it throughout the morning and into the afternoon. I twice watched a video on the listing page where Shelly explained how the book came to be. I didn’t realize until typing this now and searching YouTube that the video was posted over a year and a half ago. For you prospective buyers, here’s the video:

Sold! I bought Confessions… after watching a second time. Since it was Prime eligible, I figured I would have the book by Wednesday, but it didn’t arrive until Friday. Little did I know that my father Bill had also purchased the book. His copy arrived the next day. It sat on the kitchen table, tempting me. Do I dare read his copy before I get mine?

I didn’t succumb to temptation…until Friday morning. I whizzed through 46 pages before putting it back where I found it. By afternoon, my copy had arrived. I read another 19 pages in the afternoon and another 21 pages in the evening. 86 pages in one day! I’ve never read that fast! It helped that I imagined Kevin Pollak narrating the book as I read. He was in my head because I’d been listening to his autobiography on Audible. It’s called How I Slept My Way to the Middle: Secrets and Stories from Stage, Screen, and Interwebs. Plus, I had discovered his long-running chat show, simply titled Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show.

Saturday was another busy reading day. I read 48 pages in the morning, 36 pages in the afternoon, and 16 pages in the evening. Another 98 pages down. Even though it was only 8:06 PM when I completed page 185, I felt tired and went to sleep.

I woke up at sunrise. After watching Kevin Pollak’s interview with Drew Carey, I resumed reading Confessions… I read 42 pages before stopping to craft the first draft of the post you’re reading now. By mid-afternoon, I finished the book! In under 54 hours, I had read all 276 pages, including thank yous, the glossary, the song index, credits, and “about the author.” What an adventure!

There’s more to Shelly than “Bitch” and “What a Girl Wants.” And there’s more to the book than all the songs Shelly wrote. She also goes into the business side of songwriting and the changes it’s undergone in the last 15 years. I highly recommend Confessions of a Serial Songwriter. You won’t be disappointed. Order your copy today.

Audiobooking 2: Listen Up! November 12, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Basketball, Blu-ray, Christmas, Comedy, Commentary, DVD, Film, News, Personal, Politics, Sports, TV, Video.
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Early last December, I listed all the audiobooks I had listened to while working out between June and the day I wrote the post. I said “there [would] be more audiobooks to come in the weeks ahead.” This follow-up post will list those books, all of which I listened to on Audible.

Since my misadventure with Dick Cavett’s left-leaning book collection of New York Times blog posts, I’ve only listened to apolitical or right-leaning audiobooks.

From last December to now, here is what has guided me through workouts, bedtime, and boredom:

I have many more audiobooks I plan on listening to between now and the next post, whenever that will come. Just today, I started Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes’ book on Jack Kemp. It’s called Jack Kemp: The Bleeding-Heart Conservative Who Changed America. After that, I’ll move on to the another Rush Revere book: Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner. Then, a series of autobiographies should keep me occupied through the summer. Until next time…

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

Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, Books, Comedy, Commentary, Media, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Theatre, TV.
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According to WordPress, this is my 350th post at MikeChimeri.com.

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

My dad and were seated in Section B, Row H.

The show was scheduled to begin at 8:00, but didn’t start until 8:09. At that time, Bill got on the P.A. system and directed the crowd to “please greet Dennis Miller!”

Dennis’ first joke was “Hi, #Hello #GoodEvening.” Here are some of the topics of his 35-minute set:

  • Hillary Clinton
  • James Carville
  • Other potential Democratic presidential candidates
  • Bill Ayers
  • John Kerry
  • Potential Republican presidential candidates
  • John Boehner
  • Green hotel
  • Apple Watch
  • Weird sports day – “Floyd Mayweather won the Kentucky Derby”
  • Harry Reid
  • Obamacare
  • Pope Francis
  • Nancy Pelosi

After the last Pelosi joke, Bill walked toward the stage and exclaimed, “Dennis Miller, everybody!” Bill’s 35-minute set included:

  • Baltimore
  • His hard scrabble upbringing in Levitttown
  • Hillary Clinton
  • President Barack Obama
  • One poll on each of the two
  • James Carville
  • The previous two presidential campaigns (McCain, Romney)
  • Romney’s 2012 primary opponents
  • How Bill got the five living presidents to sign pictures of them to raise money for track chairs

Intermission was 15 minutes, after which Bill and Dennis returned to the stage for Q&A. Once again, they sat in chairs while the stage rotated. Highlights of this part were:

  • A question from Barry in Syosset led Dennis to joke “Barry’s got Syosset?”
  • “Volleyballtocracy”
  • Dennis’ nicknames for Vice President Joe Biden: “Jar Jar Biden,” “Plugs MacKenzie”
  • The Saturday Night Live parody of Hillary Clinton’s campaign launch
  • Bill and Dennis won’t endorse any candidates for 2016
  • Dennis’ stories of traveling with Pres. George W. Bush
  • Stories from Bill and Dennis’ trips to Iraq
  • A plug for the Rockin’ the Boat benefit on May 21
  • What is a pinhead?
  • The Killing books (Dennis’ book: Killing Lincoln Logs)
  • Bill’s infamous appearance on The View in October 2010

And with that, the night was over. Bill and Dennis left to a standing ovation. Dennis paraphrased Jackie Gleason by saying “Long Island audiences are the greatest audiences in the world.” It was certainly an entertaining two hours.

If you want to see the Don’t Be a Pinhead Tour, get your tickets fast because the shows sell out in a hurry. The next three shows in Cleveland and Memphis next month, and Atlantic City in August, are all sold out. I recommend watching the Miller Time segment every Wednesday on The O’Reilly Factor to see if new dates are added. So far, Atlantic City is it.

If any viewer e-mails from audience members are read on The Factor this week, I will update this post with those e-mails and Bill’s replies.

5/8 UPDATE: There weren’t any viewer e-mails from audience members this week, but dates were added to the tour this fall. You can find them here.

Audiobooking December 2, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Baseball, Basketball, Broadway, Comedy, Commentary, Film, Health, Media, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Sports, Theatre, TV.
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While I may have indefinitely suspended photo album picture scanning, one constant since June has been audiobooks. What I’ve usually done is listen to a whole chapter while working out in the morning or on my portable elliptical machine in the afternoon. I only buy nonfiction and prefer that they are read by the author. I want to hear their words in their voice, not someone else’s, even if the author’s delivery is subpar.

This isn’t the first time I’ve listened to audiobooks. That goes back to a road trip with my parents and sister in January 1997, as we drove back from Florida. To show you how long ago that was, the audiobook was on cassettes. That book, The Hobbit, was the only time I’ve listened to fiction. It’s been all nonfiction since.

Between December 1997 – when I listened to The Big Show: A Tribute to ESPN’s SportsCenter – and June 2014, I would get an audiobook here and there, but I wasn’t a regular buyer. I didn’t exercise in the morning, either. That began in late March. It’s always best to get tough tasks out of the way early because your willpower drops as the day progresses. It helps to have something interesting to listen to while you’re working out, not something aggravating like politics and sports debate and discussion.

With all that in mind, I’ve listened to the following audiobooks, on CD or through Audible, since June:

  • President Me: The America That’s In My Head by Adam Carolla (via CD) – an outline of all the things Adam would do to improve the United States if he were president
  • Not Quite the Classics by Colin Mochrie (via Audible) – improvised stories based on the first and last lines of select novels and poems
  • I’ll Be Back Right After This: My Memoir by Pat O’Brien (via Audible) – Pat’s memoir chronicled his early life, television career, and struggle with addiction. Knock on wood, Pat has been sober for six years and counting.
  • Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (via CD) – This is the latest in Bill and Martin’s “Killing” series that factually recounts the events of historical figures leading up to their tragic deaths. Their previous books focused on Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Jesus of Nazareth, respectively.
  • Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? by Billy Crystal (via Audible) – Billy’s memoir ran the gamut of emotions, from funny to heartbreaking, recalling major events in each decade of his life as of publication last year. I learned things I never knew and recalled fond memories of what I already knew. The only downside to the book is that Billy peppered his liberal ideology throughout it, outlining his liberal points of view and maligning right-leaning personalities and media. I’m not a lockstep conservative, but I do tend to take criticism of or jokes about people, places, and things that I like personally. But I didn’t let that completely ruin the listening experience.
  • Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large by William Shatner with Chris Regan (via CD) – When I was searching for the next audiobook to listen to, as Still Foolin’ ‘Em was winding down, I recalled William Shatner had a memoir out called Up Till Now: The Autobiography. But then I noticed that Shatner Rules had come out later than Up Till Now. So, I opted for Shatner Rules instead. The big message I took from the book was to say “yes” to as many things as possible. “‘No’ closes doors,” William said. “‘Yes’ kicks them wide open.” Shatner briefly drifted into politics, too, but the environmental kind. His doomsday scenarios were frightening. I didn’t let that completely ruin the listening experience. (ding) Rule: I highly recommend Shatner Rules as either the written book or spoken audiobook.
  • Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks by Dick Cavett (via Audible) – It was here that I did let politics completely ruin the listening experience. This is not a memoir. It is a compilation of Dick’s columns at The New York Times’ Opiniator blog. That structure is similar to that for Things That Matter, a compilation of Charles Krauthammer’s columns over his 30-year career to date. Charles is Dick’s polar opposite. But I didn’t know any of that until my second day of listening. And it was this rant of a column that Dick read for Brief Encounters – combined with frustration that the book was not what I expected – that led me to request a refund from Audible. Thankfully, they granted it. I did learn a few things, though, about Dick’s days writing for The Tonight Show. I also learned that Arthur Godfrey preferred to address only one member of the listening or viewing audience (“you”), not the entire audience (“everybody”).
  • Scribe: My Life in Sports by Bob Ryan (via Audible) – I bought this in place of Brief Encounters. I’ve been listening for nearly a week and I’m enjoying it.

There will be more audiobooks to come in the weeks ahead as I continue to try to keep myself in shape.

My Sandy experience November 10, 2012

Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, DVD, Health, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, TV, Weather.
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The nightmare known as Hurricane (or Superstorm) Sandy was thrust upon my attention on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 24, hours before seeing pianist David Benoit perform at the Iridium Jazz Club.  The first report I read about the storm had a few scenario options, which included turning east out to sea and taking a sharp westerly turn toward the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S and combine with an approaching cold front.  By the second report, the latter scenario became more likely.  With each passing report until it made landfall in South New Jersey on the evening of October 29, more and more models showed that worst case scenario.  And with each passing report, I grew more and more paranoid and fearful of what would happen.

Sandy was so large that its effects were first felt through cloud cover on Saturday, October 27.  The following day, October 28, showers and minor wind gusts began.  I couldn’t stand hearing the wind plowing into the windows and wall from my Wantagh home’s east-facing bedroom.  So, I slept in the basement that night.

When I woke up early on October 29, the worst still hadn’t arrived, but the wind was still strong, around 30 miles per hour with gusts in the 50s.  Somehow, the power did not go out during the morning.  But by 1:30 PM, the power began to flicker off and on.  And at 1:45, the power went out to stay and wouldn’t return until nine days later.  As the wind continued to howl upstairs, now approaching sustained winds of 45 mph with gusts to 60, back in the basement, I used my Sennheiser studio headphones to listen to audiobooks on my CD-playing Walkman.  But spoken words were unable to completely drown out the sound of wind.  So, rather than waste battery power on my iPod, I used the Walkman, which runs on AA batteries, to listen to music.  I took two pairs of CDs that I used for my two recent WCWP Homecoming Weekend shows and a dozen albums.  When I wasn’t listening to news radio for the latest on Sandy, or sports radio to forget about Sandy, I was listening to my CDs.

My parents, sister, and I were prepared with plenty of bottled water, bags of food, canned goods, AA batteries, C batteries, D batteries, and a generator.  We didn’t use the generator until after the height of Sandy, which came around 8PM, shortly after it transitioned to a post-tropical cyclone.  As the worst winds pummeled the house, gusting as high as 85 mph, we congregated in the living room where an extension cord ran from the generator in the back yard to the middle of the room.  There, I plugged in a power strip and we plugged in a table lamp for light, and all our rechargeable electronics.  For a little while, we watched DVDs on my sister’s laptop.  After a couple of hours, my dad turned the generator off and we all went to sleep.  I returned to the basement for that.

Outside of a tree falling in my next-block neighbor’s back yard, two shingles falling off our roof, a toppled-over garbage pail on the side of the house, and branches and leaves on the grass, I was clueless as to the extent of damage in my area.  But a tree fell a block east of our house, which is why our power went out, and a few trees fell one block north and west.

At around 11AM on October 30, I walked around the exterior of my house to take aftermath pictures.

I began at my front patio worked my way around the house and then to the curb:

The pails on the west side of the house:

I fixed the pail that blew over about a half hour before taking pictures.

The container that covered the gas cans for generator fuel blew off:

When the power strip wasn’t connected to the extension cord, either the microwave or coffee maker were plugged in.

I turned this table upside down on Sunday and removed the tiles, stacking them on the ground near the wall:

The tile-less table was moved slightly by the high winds.

There had been a tree in the center of this empty space:

Part of it fell into our back yard:

Or it may have been from this tree which fell at around 6:00 the night before:

I was in the basement listening to a CD on my Walkman and could hear my dad in the kitchen saying “Tree down!”

You can barely see a tree down up the road to the east:

To the west, a utility poll was slanted (not visible in pic):

A week later, my sister took the following pictures on our street from east to west:

But the absolute worst hit areas were waterfront communities.  Main floors and basements were destroyed.  House and building fires that started after flooding began couldn’t be contained and had to burn out.  Knowing all this gave me survivor guilt.  I felt guilty that my house was hardly damaged and all I lost was power, while my friends in places like South Freeport, Baldwin Harbor, Island Park, Long Beach, Lido Beach, and Massapequa lost everything that wasn’t on the second floor or higher.  The Rockaways and Staten Island were hit just as hard.

An example of how hard Freeport was hit can be seen in this video of damage to the Nautical Mile (Woodcleft Avenue), via The Weekly Freeporter YouTube channel:

Guilt aside, I developed cabin fever after two days at my powerless house (outside of generated power).  So, on the night of Halloween, after riding out Tuesday night in my increasingly cold bedroom, I made the trip to a family friend’s house in Rockville Centre (power had just returned after only two days).  I went on to spend the next week there while power was out at home.  Of all the times for power to come back, on the afternoon of November 7, it was as a wet snow-producing nor’easter began to affect the Northeast.  But unlike Sandy, the center of this nor’easter was far offshore and the winds were not very strong on Western Long Island.  Somehow, the wet snow bent but did not break tree limbs and it gradually melted or fell off the following day.

While power returned on November 7, cable did not come back until two days later.

After experiencing the March 2010 Nor’easter, Irene, and now Sandy, I can only hope that it’s a very long time before another major storm of Sandy’s magnitude hits the East Coast.

We’ll conclude this post with a few pictures in Rockville Centre on November 7 as snow began to accumulate…

…and a picture on November 8, hours after shoveling the driveway at home:

Also:
Laura Donovan: The Domino Effect Of Hurricane Sandy: Why One Natural Disaster Changed Everything For Me
Peter Hoare: How Hurricane Sandy Ravaged My Town (Long Beach)

11/13 UPDATE: Yesterday, I walked my street from east to west to get a close look at the cut-up downed trees, and the damage caused by them:

As I took this last shot, Town of Hempstead sanitation trucks were making the way up the street to remove debris:

Bolder & Fresher Tour at Westbury recap August 21, 2011

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

(2/22/13 UPDATE: For those that found this post by search engine, this is a recap of the original Bolder-Fresher show at Westbury in August 2011.  There will be another show there on June 1 of this year, but I won’t be attending that one.)

(12/6/14 UPDATE: On the other hand, I will be attending the Don’t Be a Pinhead Tour show at Westbury on May 2, 2015. The new name for the tour is the result of retooling.)

(Update at the bottom with viewer e-mails from audience members at 10/29 Mohegan Sun show, 11/2 Miller Time segment, my quick review of Killing Lincoln, and highlights from the 10/29 show.)

Last night, I returned to what is now the NYCB Theatre at Westbury for the debut of the Bolder & Fresher Tour starring Bill O’Reilly and Dennis Miller.

I went with my dad and we were joined later by family friend Joe Falco.  Joe is a former FDNY firefighter who survived the collapse of the World Trade Center’s south tower on September 11, 2001.  My college senior project was a documentary featuring his recollections and a return to Ground Zero where he retraced his steps.

The show was at 8:00, but since it was nearly sold out, Dad and I left the house at 6:45 to be safe.  It took about fifteen minutes to arrive.  Once in the theatre, we sat down for 50 minutes.  Our seats were adjacent to the aisle where Bill and Dennis walked to and from the stage.  A few minutes after 8:00, the lights dimmed, and Bill, via the public address system, introduced “the fresh part of the Bolder Fresher Tour, Miller!”  My dad said he and Dennis made eye contact during his walk down to the stage.

Dennis’ material was toned down a bit.  In TV ratings terms, he was TV-14-DL; no s- or f-words but suggestive dialogue.  His 35-minute set touched on many topics, including:

  • Global warming
  • California
  • The southern U.S. border
  • Michael Moore
  • Getting old
  • What he likes and dislikes about President Obama
  • Barney Frank
  • Nancy Pelosi
  • Pope Benedict XVI

Then, it was Bill’s turn.  Among his topics were:

  • President Obama
  • The Republican presidential candidate field
  • Who has the best chance to be the Republican nominee
  • The split in the Republican Party between the Tea Party and the establishment
  • His upcoming appearance in an episode of Rizzoli & Isles
  • His upcoming book, Killing Lincoln
  • Recounting his previous appearance on The View

After a 15-minute intermission, Bill and Dennis returned for 35 minutes of Q&A.  At this point, the two sat in stools while the stage rotated.  It took Dennis a few minutes to notice that and then he acknowledged it to the audience.  They each had stories to tell.  Dennis talked about:

  • How he moved from the left to center-right politically
  • His old CNBC show and how things fell apart between him and his monkey sidekick Mowgli
  • His work in Bordello of Blood and on Monday Night Football
  • Meeting Frank Sinatra
  • Checking out the room Elvis Presley stayed in at the Vegas Hilton
  • A story Billy Crystal told him about Redd Foxx

Bill talked about his upbringing, from Levittown to The O’Reilly Factor, and everything in between: working as a lifeguard for the Town of Babylon, going to St. Brigid’s, Chaminade High School, Marist (to which Dennis made a Marist/Roger Maris joke), working his way up in TV news.

It was a great show.  Bill and Dennis both entered and exited to standing ovations.  To be honest, I enjoyed this more than the Bold & Fresh Tour show last year.

If you’d like to see Bolder Fresher for yourself, check the tour’s website for upcoming dates and venues.  You’ll be glad you went.

8/23 UPDATE: Three e-mails from audience members were read tonight on The O’Reilly Factor:

Keith Warhola, Mineola, NY: “Bill, you and Miller killed at Westbury.  Loved the show.”
Bill’s response: “We didn’t actually kill anybody.  It means that–[in] show biz–we were good.”

Gina Serra, Syosset, NY: “Bill, the Bolder-Fresher show was great!  You were charming and Miller was a riot.”

Caryl Taylor, Briarcliff, NY: “Officer O’Reilly, we salute you and Dennis Miller.  We were fully entertained by your observations and Miller’s stories.”
Bill’s response: “Well, thank you for all the nice mail, guys; got tons of letters.  Clips from the show are now posted on BillOReilly.com for premium members.  Next week, we’re gonna open ’em up to everybody.  So you can see about 15 minutes of the Bolder Fresher show on BillOReilly.com.  Info on upcoming shows in Connecticut; Richmond, Virginia; and Atlantic City available on BolderFresher.com.  BolderFresher.com.”

In addition to those e-mails, a few clips were shown last night in the Reality Check segment.  I compiled that and tonight’s e-mails into this video:

9/9 UPDATE: The latter half of August 24’s Miller Time segment was devoted to the Westbury show:

I would have posted this sooner, but Irene set me back and then I forgot.

11/1 UPDATE: Saturday night, the Bolder Fresher Tour came to Mohegan Sun.  As the winds howled and snow mixed with rain here in southeast Nassau, I wondered if the show would even happen, but this tweet confirmed it did:

Dennis Miller & Bill O’Reilly – Bold[er & Fresh[er] Tour (@ Mohegan Sun Arena) http://t.co/UJ475ItU

O’Reilly and Miller weren’t going to let a pesky snowstorm/Nor’easter stop them.  I’m sure everyone got back home, or home away from home (i.e. hotel room), safely.

One viewer e-mail from an audience member was read tonight on The O’Reilly Factor:
Lynda Hanratty, Selden, NY: “Hey, Mr. O, we drove five hours to Connecticut in that snowstorm to see you and Miller.  And it was worth the white knuckle ride!  You two were hysterical!  Was that your limo that passed us on the ride home?”
Bill’s response: “No limo for me, Lynda.  I drove up there, just like you did, from Long Island.  Glad you liked the Bolder Fresher show.  Watch out, Richmond, Virginia; and Atlantic City.  We’re comin’ to you Thanksgiving weekend.  Details on BillOReilly.com.”

11/2 UPDATE: Tonight’s Miller Time only made a passing reference to Saturday’s show at Mohegan Sun.  Here’s the video, anyway.  And here’s another viewer e-mail:
Mark Underhill, East Aurora, NY: “Bill, my wife and I drove seven hours to see you and Miller in that snowstorm on Saturday.  To make the trip go faster, we tried to buy the Killing Lincoln audio.  It was sold out everywhere.  So we bought the book and my wife read it to me.  Excellent.”
Bill’s response: “Your wife’s a trooper, Mark, and I’m sending you the audio for your ordeal.  Killing Lincoln is selling out everywhere, but we are printing them as fast as we can get ’em out to you.  More than 900,000 copies of ‘Killing Lincoln’ in print right now.  Thank you all.”

I pre-ordered the audio of Killing Lincoln before it came out and began listening to it September 28, the day after it was released.  It got me through my daily walks and I finished it in two weeks.  It reads (or is read by Bill) like a thriller.  I vividly remember where I was walking while listening to key passages.

11/3 UPDATE: Highlights from Saturday can be seen on the BillOReilly.com video page.  Look for “Bolder & Fresher Tour at Mohegan Sun” and click to play.

For the third night in a row, a viewer e-mail from an audience member was read:
Kathleen O’Gorman, Meriden, CT: “Mr. O, we lost power in the storm and it’s been rough.  You and Miller were the only bright spots as we caught the Bolder Fresher show.”
Bill’s response: “[I] appreciate that, Kathleen.  The power situation in the Northeast is gettin’ desperate.  A clip from the Bolder Fresher show on Saturday [is] posted on BillOReilly.com.  And Miller and I will see everybody in Richmond, Virginia; and Atlantic City at the end of November.”

11/4 UPDATE: Another day, another update.  Psychotherapist Dr. Karen Ruskin was in the audience Saturday night and tweeted Dennis this afternoon:

Hi Dennis, Dr Karen Ruskin here, mental health expert- appeared on O’Reilly. Great show w Bill Sat! Will never see ED the same @DennisDMZ

An audience member viewer e-mail all the way from Montana!:
Margot Belden, Missoula, MT: “Bill, I came from Montana to see you and Miller in Connecticut!  It was worth the ordeal.  You were so funny, I had tears in my eyes.”
Bill’s response: “I hope from laughing with me, Margot, and not at me.  Signed copy of Killing Lincoln coming your way for that big trip. …”  That was followed by another reminder about the Richmond and Atlantic City shows in a few weeks.

Spring 2009 pre-order update #2 May 6, 2009

Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, Books, Comedy, Jazz, Media, Personal.
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In recent weeks, I’ve had so many things to listen to, watch, and read, I feel pressured to review all of them.  On top of that, I haven’t posted anything in two weeks.  So, here is what I’ve been listening to, watching, and reading between April 23 and today:

  • Joyce Cooling, “Global Cooling” (CD)
  • Bernie Williams, “Moving Forward” (CD)
  • Dennis Miller: The HBO Comedy Specials (DVD)
  • Down to the Bone, “Future Boogie” (CD)
  • Spyro Gyra, “Down The Wire” (CD)
  • Suzy Welch, 10-10-10: 10 Minutes, 10 Months, 10 Years; A Life-Transforming Idea (hardcover book, CD)

I enjoyed all of the above and learned a few things in the process.  What more could you ask for?