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SJFS 2022 Night 2 recap May 6, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology, Travel, Video, Weather.
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Other SJFS recaps: 20082008 meet-and-greet20092010201120122013 Night 12013 Night 22014 Night 12014 Night 22015 Night 12016 Night 12016 Night 22017 Night 12017 Night 22018 Night 12018 Night 22019 Night 1, 2019 Night 2, 2022 Night 1

Updated with videos on 5/15.

Keyboardist Jay Rowe‘s 18th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars (benefiting the Milford Public Schools music department) continued Saturday night with the second of two shows. Saturday’s headliners were Jeff Kashiwa (who made a surprise appearance late Friday), Alex Bugnon, and in his debut, Marcus Anderson. Alex appeared in place of Brian Simpson, who had to back out at some point after my promotional blog post in February. SJFS attendees last saw Alex on the first night in 2013.

Photos and the set list are on the way, but we start with the preamble.

I found it hard to sleep in my Hampton Inn hotel room on Friday night. Not only did I have photo editing on my mind, but intermittent trucks and motorcycles (or muscle cars) on I-95 made it hard to relax and drift into sleep. I didn’t mention this in the Friday recap, but I brought two pairs of foam ear plugs to wear on both nights. I got in the habit of wearing them or safety earmuffs at home to drown out loud or unsettling noises, like fireworks (sadly, not just on the Fourth of July) or high wind gusts that slam rain into my south and east-facing windows during coastal storms. I figured I should start wearing them at concerts; if only I had thought of that sooner. When I wore ear plugs at bedtime, I would lie on my back with a sleep mask on, attempting to sleep, or at least relax. That’s what I did Friday night into Saturday morning. There comes a point on sleepless nights where I give up and start my day. That point came around 5AM.

I’m a Mets fan, so I checked the MLB app on my phone (via Hilton Honors Wi-Fi) to see how they did while I was pre-occupied with SJFS. What?! A no-hitter against the Phillies?! That’s only the second one in team history! And a combined no-hitter, at that! Click here to read all about it (and watch videos).

I lifted weights in the fitness center, then went back in my room to do push-ups and whittle down the amount of photos from Friday night. I showered, got dressed, and brought my laptop and phone to the lobby for breakfast and potential mingling with fans or musicians. I didn’t see any musicians, but John and Theresa Monteverde were there, followed later by Mark and Phyllis Abrams, and Billy and Sandy Okumu. Diane and Richard Roth were there, but we had forgotten about each other and didn’t reacquaint ourselves until Sunday morning.

For breakfast, I had two plates of French toast sticks with syrup, and two cups of apple juice to wash them down, followed later by two cups of hot chocolate. I mainly edited the road sign photos, but was able to start on photos from the show.

I went back to my room around 11AM and spent the next four hours editing the rest of Friday night’s photos and picking which ones to publicize. All the while, I listened to a few 2021 episodes of Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast. (Sadly, Gilbert died last month.)

I’m also a fan (and Patreon supporter) of the YouTube channel Technology Connections. Alec, the creator, recently posted the third of three (and a half) videos on heat pumps. Part three included a segment on the PTAC (packaged terminal air conditioner) and their use in hotels. This was the PTAC in my room:

My PTAC

It was set to cool when I checked in on Friday, but I switched to heat. I switched back to cool Saturday afternoon as the unfiltered sun warmed up the room. That’s when I realized the thin curtain in front of the light-blocking thick one is supposed to filter the sun rays.

My girlfriend Kelly, dad Bill, and I had dinner at Gusto Trattoria, half a block from the hotel. It was there that self-doubt and performance anxiety set in. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to function at the auditorium because of my lack of sleep and that I’d compulsively end up taking as many photos as Friday night (around 400 before whittling). Somewhere in between, I managed to eat a piece of bread and bowl of Rigatoni Bolognese. Upon returning to my room after dinner, I lied down and took deep breaths. By 7PM (about an hour after dinner), I felt calm enough to get out of bed and go with Kelly to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium at Parsons Complex. Obviously, the sound check was over before we arrived because we saw attendees filing in.

I took an establishing shot of the auditorium with my phone before going in:

The second of my 2020 tickets was honored upon entrance and I went back to the same spot in the orchestra pit as Friday night to set up. I comprised with fellow photographers Katherine Gilraine and Ron Hancox to situate my camcorder (which recorded flawlessly on this night) (5/15 UPDATE: four videos are posted below) in a spot further back so the two of them had more room to maneuver during the show. I only had to move it out during a solo on the penultimate song of the night (one of the videos below). Fun fact (as Alec would say): this month marks ten years since I entered the world of DSLR cameras after Katherine recommended I switch to one.

While waiting, Jay Dobbins introduced me to someone I had met on Facebook through Jay Rowe’s weekly Tito Tuesday livestreams on Facebook (here’s one of the last streams to date). It was Robin Morin Stewart. After a pleasant conversation, Jay D. took our picture:

I also recognized Judy Raphael and spoke to her, but forgot to get a picture.

And of course, I saw the rest of my friends that I had seen Friday night and/or Saturday morning in the hotel dining area.

At some point before showtime, I got my second wind. I didn’t feel the least bit overtired or overwhelmed.

Saturday’s set began at 8PM with another enthusiastic introduction by Kevin McCabe of Jumpstart Jazz Productions:

Music director Jay Rowe led the house band on keyboards:

Andy Abel on guitar:

Dave Livolsi on bass:

Trever Somerville on drums:

…and percussion by Tony Cintron:

The headliners were Jeff Kashiwa on tenor sax and NuRAD (seen on tenor):

Alex Bugnon on keyboards:

…and Marcus Anderson on alto sax and flute (seen on alto):

SET LIST
1. I’ll Love You Later (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Groove Reflections (2021)
Featured musician: Jay Rowe (keyboards)

2. There She Goes (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Groove Reflections (2021)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Andy Abel (guitar)

3. Starlight Kisses (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Groove Reflections (2021)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax)

4. Slow Turn (Jeff Kashiwa)
Originally heard on: Sunrise (2021)
Featured musicians: Jeff Kashiwa (NuRAD/tenor sax), Andy Abel (guitar)
The NuRAD is an EWI (electronic wind instrument) that can be paired with a phone or tablet. Jeff paired his with his phone. 5/9 UPDATE: Jeff said in a Facebook post sharing one of my photos that it was “triggering [his] iPhone with the Korg iMono/Poly Patchman library.”

5. The Night is Young (Jeff Kashiwa)
Originally heard on: Sunrise (2021)
Featured musician: Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax)

6. The Pecan Tree (Joe Sample cover) (Alex Bugnon)
Featured musician: Alex Bugnon (keyboards)
Jay didn’t play on any of Alex’s songs. Coincidentally, I played the original Joe Sample version of “The Pecan Tree” on last Wednesday’s Instrumental Invasion.

7. Harlem on My Mind (Alex Bugnon)
Originally heard on: Tales from the Bright Side (1995)
Featured musician: Alex Bugnon (keyboards)

8. Will Power (Marcus Anderson)
Originally heard on: Limited Edition (2017)
Featured musician: Marcus Anderson (alto sax/flute at the end)

9. Soul Ties (Marcus Anderson)
Originally heard on: Reverse (2022)
Featured musician: Marcus Anderson (alto sax)

10. Jay Rowe/Alex Bugnon duet: Poinciana/107 Degrees in the Shade
Originally heard on: 107 Degrees in the Shade (1991) (second song only)
Jay and Alex played the same medley in their 2013 duet. “Poinciana” is a jazz standard popularized by Ahmad Jamal on his album of the same name.

11. Night Groove (Alex Bugnon)
Originally heard on: Soul Purpose (2001)
Featured musician: Alex Bugnon (keyboards)

12. Understanding (Marcus Anderson)
Originally heard on: Limited Edition (2017)
Featured musicians: Marcus Anderson (alto sax), Jay Rowe (keyboards), Andy Abel (guitar)

13. Let It Ride (Jeff Kashiwa)
Originally heard on: Let It Ride (2012)
Featured musicians: Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax), Dave Livolsi (bass), Tony Cintron (percussion), Jay Rowe (keyboards)
Jeff noted that Let It Ride was inspired by 1960s and ’70s music, and the performance of the title track here exemplified the ’70s part. Dave’s solo was based (no pun intended) on “For the Love of Money” by The O’Jays (1973), while Jay based his on “People Make the World Go Round” by The Stylistics (1972) and “Riders on the Storm” by The Doors (1971). The ’70s influence carried into the finale.

14 (Finale). Love and Happiness (Al Green cover)
Featured musicians: Everyone but Alex Bugnon
Trever Somerville and Tony Cintron traded places on drums and percussion midway through, and Trever even sang vocals! He left the percussion kit behind at the end (I neglected to take photos) and just sang next to Tony. These were the only surprises of the show, which went quicker than Friday night.

Here are groups of pictures by artist, starting with Jeff Kashiwa on tenor sax:

Jeff on NuRAD for “Slow Turn”:

Alex Bugnon:

Marcus Anderson on alto sax:

Marcus on flute at the end of “Will Power”:

Jay Rowe:

Andy Abel:

Dave Livolsi:

Trever Somerville:

Tony Cintron:

Marcus and Andy:

Marcus and Dave:

Marcus and Jay:

Jeff and Jay:

The last note of “Let It Ride”:

Jay and Alex’s duet:

The finale: “Love and Happiness”:

All that remained was meeting and greeting, starting with me and Alex Bugnon:

Me and Marcus Anderson:

Jeff Kashiwa with my photography buddies Katherine Gilraine and Ron Hancox:

Just the three of us:

Back in the lobby, Marcus Anderson with Steve Lewis:

Johnnie “Butch” Brooks and Dolly Moye, whose birthday was on Sunday:

…and finally, me and Dolly:

Thanks to Jay Dobbins and Steve Lewis for taking photos of me. Jay also took this selfie with me:

Friday night, Kelly and I left for the hotel at 11:30, but Saturday, the departure time was 10:45. After transferring the photos and video to my laptop via a handy USB 3.0 SD card reader, I took melatonin and went to sleep. After five hours of successful sleep early Sunday morning, I noticed daylight peaking through the edge of the curtains and opted to wake up for the day. (The Mets lost Saturday’s game, but won on Sunday night while I was getting ten hours of sleep.)

I didn’t lift weights until I got home, but I did do push-ups in my room Sunday morning before going to the lobby for breakfast. All my rowdy friends, to paraphrase Hank Williams Jr., were there, including Jay Rowe. French toast sticks weren’t available, so I ate four sausages and two blueberry muffins with two lemon-lime seltzer cans that I brought and stored in my room’s mini fridge. Before returning to the room to pack up and leave, I got a selfie with the Monteverde, Abrams, and Okumu couples:

John Monteverde, me, Phyllis Abrams, Theresa Monteverde, Mark Abrams, Sandy and Billy Okumu

I saved photo editing for Monday and Tuesday, followed by drafting this post and the one before it on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Dad and I checked out around 10:30 and got home by 12:25. I took tons of photos on the road to and from Milford, but those will get their own post next week. Until then, thank you for reading the recaps of both nights of the 18th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars. As Jay Rowe noted, next year will be the 20th anniversary, but 19th annual. I hope to be there. Thank you to Jay and everyone involved in putting SJFS together each year.

SJFS 2022 Night 1 recap May 6, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Health, Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel.
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Other SJFS recaps: 20082008 meet-and-greet20092010201120122013 Night 12013 Night 22014 Night 12014 Night 22015 Night 12016 Night 12016 Night 22017 Night 12017 Night 22018 Night 12018 Night 22019 Night 1, 2019 Night 2, 2022 Night 2

Updated with videos on 5/15.

After a two-year absence due to COVID-19, keyboardist Jay Rowe‘s 18th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars (benefiting the Milford Public Schools music department) finally happened!

It’s a good thing I didn’t throw away my 2020 tickets because they were honored on both nights.

As noted in my promotion back in February, this was the first SJFS without Rohn Lawrence on guitar in the house band and Nick Colionne as a potential headliner. We lost Rohn to COVID on December 30 and Nick on January 1. This year’s SJFS was dedicated to their memory.

The first night’s headliners were Peter White, Nelson Rangell, and Marion Meadows, plus three surprise guests! More on them later in the recap. Now, the preamble:

I had been in the habit of going to sleep early and waking up early, but last week, I tried to train my body to stay up and wake up later so I could not only chronicle both nights of SJFS, but attend the WCWP station dinner on Thursday night.

I awoke Friday morning after only six hours of sleep and carried out my typical morning activities: exercise, cereal for breakfast, and treadmill running (and showering after, of course). Nowadays, I watch streaming content on my phone while I run rather than listen to music or audiobooks. With this run, I totaled 180 miles in a month for only the third time (July 2018, April 2020)!

Next on the agenda, packing up for the trip to Milford, Connecticut (“a small city with a big heart“), with my dad Bill. I had an hour or so left until our 12:30 departure, so I edited the photos from the station dinner and posted them to Facebook. I finished just in time, then checked to make sure I packed everything I wanted to.

It took about two hours to reach Milford’s Hampton Inn, the official hotel of this year’s Smooth Jazz for Scholars, as it has been most of the time. I photographed road signs on the way, but I’m saving those photos and the ones from the return trip for a later post.

Upon arrival, Dad and I went back out to Big Y World Class Market a block southeast of the hotel to replace expired shampoo and mouthwash, and buy snacks to make up for the ones I forgot to pack at home. We were briefly back at Hampton Inn before going to dinner (and dessert for me) at Applebee’s up Boston Post Road in neighboring Orange. Marion Meadows was checking in as I walked through the lobby, so we spoke briefly. I returned one more time before the show to relax and wait for my girlfriend Kelly to pick me up at 6:30. On the way out this time, I saw members of the LIU Sharks baseball team! I’ve been at the hotel with college athletic teams before, but not a team from my alma mater! They were in town for a three-game series against the Sacred Heart Pioneers (ironically, LIU Post’s team name before the One LIU unification). Sacred Heart won the first two games, but LIU avoided the sweep Sunday. I would see players in the lobby again on Saturday and Sunday mornings, letting some know on Saturday that I was an alum and had a weekly radio show.

Okay, we’re almost up to the first night of SJFS.

Kelly and I waited in her SUV until we saw the line of attendees file in to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium at the Parsons Complex. The line began to move at 7:15, so in we went.

After having my ticket checked, I set up my equipment in the orchestra pit and mingled with my fellow photographers Katherine Gilraine and Ron Hancox, Jay Dobbins, Dolly Moye, Estella Greene, Billy and Sandy Okumu, Ron’s wife Nydia, and Jay Rowe’s mother Mia DiStasi. I was elated to see all of them in person after so long. I only wish photographer KT Jones was still with us. (He succumbed to cancer in late February.)

The auditorium interior underwent an upgrade between 2019 and 2022. Monitors were set up throughout the lobby. Most cycled through a slideshow of images from past Smooth Jazz for Scholars, including pictures with Rohn Lawrence, Nick Colionne, or both of them. Two monitors had an overhead view of the stage. The sound system, lighting, and seating were all improved.

Friday night’s set began at 8:15, an hour after the auditorium doors opened. Kevin McCabe of Jumpstart Jazz Productions enthusiastically welcomed us back:

I simultaneously recorded the show (mostly for private use) (5/15 UPDATE: exceptions below) with my recently-acquired professional 4K camcorder (and detachable handle unit). Four minutes into Kevin’s spiel, a system error occurred and I had to turn the camcorder off and back on. After that, no problems. It recorded two hours and 32 minutes continuously; no starting a new file every 20 minutes like my previous camcorder.

As for the photos, I have the same DSLR camera but with a superzoom lens I bought last year. No more switching between 18-140 mm (18-55 before that) and 55-300 mm. I have one lens to rule them all.

Here are the photos! The house band was led by Jay Rowe on keyboards:

Andy Abel on electric and acoustic guitar (seen on electric):

Dave Livolsi on bass:

Trever Somerville on drums:

…and percussion by Tony Cintron:

(If you’re wondering, Steve Scales is alive and well.)

The headliners were Peter White on acoustic guitar and harmonica (seen on guitar):

Marion Meadows on soprano sax:

…and Nelson Rangell on alto sax, flute, piccolo, whistling, and vocal percussion (seen on alto):

SET LIST
1. East Coast West Coast (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Red Hot & Smooth (2006)
Featured musician: Jay Rowe (keyboards)

2. Smooth Ride (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Smooth Ride (2016)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Peter White (guitar)

3. Promenade/Could It Be I’m Falling in Love (The Spinners cover) (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Promenade (1993)/Reflections (1994)
Featured musicians: Peter White (guitar), surprise guest Vincent Ingala! (tenor sax) (watch him surprise the audience)
Peter introduced “Promenade” with the “-naid” pronunciation, not “-nahd,” as I’ve been saying all these years.

4. Here We Go (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Here We Go (2012)
Featured musicians: Peter White (guitar), Nelson Rangell (alto sax)
I’d been dreaming about this collaboration ever since I heard David Sanborn on the original.

5. Vonetta (Earl Klugh cover) (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Soul to Souls (2006)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (flute), Andy Abel (guitar)

6. Body Rhythm (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Body Rhythm (1995)
Featured musician: Marion Meadows (soprano sax)
As usual, Marion began this song in the audience, working his way to the stage.

7. Treasures (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: In Deep (2002)
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Andy Abel (guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboards)
Andy channeled the spirit of Rohn Lawrence on his solo.

8. Caravan of Dreams (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Caravan of Dreams (1996)
Featured musicians: Peter White (guitar), Vincent Ingala (tenor sax)

9. Peaceful (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Music for STARLUX Airlines (2019)
Featured musicians: Peter White (guitar/harmonica), Vincent Ingala (tenor sax)

10. Marcosinho (Dave Grusin composition for flautist Dave Valentin) (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Whisper (2013)
Featured musician: Marion Meadows (soprano sax)
A harmonica-like filter was applied to Marion’s sax for his solo intro.

11. Suede (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Player’s Club (2004)
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Andy Abel (guitar)

12. Geopolitics (Nelson Rangell)
Featured musician: Nelson Rangell (alto sax)

13. Sonora (Hampton Hawes cover) (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Destiny (1995) (alto sax), My American Songbook, Vol. 1 (2005)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (whistling/piccolo/vocal percussion), Peter White (guitar)

14. Muff (John Tropea cover) (Nelson Rangell)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), surprise guest Jeff Kashiwa! (tenor sax)
Jeff headlined Saturday’s set, but he played on “Muff” and the finale.

15 (Finale). I Wish (Stevie Wonder cover)
Featured musicians: Everyone
Arti Dixson sat in for Trever Somerville on drums.

Here are groups of pictures by artist, starting with Peter White:

Marion Meadows:

Nelson Rangell on alto sax (during “Geopolitics”):

Nelson on flute for “Vonetta”:

…and “Sonora”: whistling, piccolo, whistling with the piccolo in his hand, vocal percussion:

Surprise guest Vincent Ingala:

Surprise guest Jeff Kashiwa:

Jay Rowe (during “Treasures”):

Andy Abel:

Dave Livolsi:

Trever Somerville:

Tony Cintron:

Peter and Jay:

Peter and Nelson on “Here We Go”:

Peter and Vincent:

A wide shot during “Geopolitics”:

…and “Vonetta”:

Nelson and Jeff:

The finale: “I Wish”:

It was a great night, but it wasn’t over yet. There was meeting and greeting to do; photos with musicians, friends, and musician friends.

First, a photo with Peter White, who I hadn’t seen since the Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas show at Tilles Center in December 2017:

Next, me with Nelson and Jay Rowe:

Jay Dobbins introduced me to Andy Abel and Tony Cintron. I complimented both of them on their work that night. Andy complimented me on noticing a flaw at the end of the title track on Jay Rowe’s Groove Reflections album and I told him I liked his guitar work on Jessy J‘s new album, Blue. He had plenty of insight on the recording process for the tracks with him, Jay, Trever, and Dave Anderson. (Dave couldn’t make it this year because he was performing with Chieli Minucci at the Tarrytown Jazz Forum on both nights, an engagement booked before SJFS was announced in February. That’s also why Chieli couldn’t make it.)

I took a photo of Jay Dobbins, Marion, Andy, and Tony:

Then, I had Jay take one of me and Marion:

I said my goodbyes and Kelly drove me back to the Hampton Inn. Click here to read about what happened before, during, and after Saturday’s show. I’ll leave you with a photo of Billy and Sandy Okumu, and Mark and Phyllis Abrams:

Billy Okumu, Phyllis and Mark Abrams, Sandy Okumu

Instrumental Invasion, 4/6/22 April 7, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Baseball, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Radio, Sports, Technology, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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The April 6 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days in mid-February: the first hour on the 14th (Valentine’s Day), one second hour segment on the 15th, and the last two on the 16th when a pickup was also recorded.

The playlist was created on February 12 and annotated on the 13th. The talk break script was drafted before recording on the 14th.

A few days before work on this show began, I finally took the plunge and bought the Kaotica Eyeball microphone isolation shield. Since my remote location has minimal room echo, the Eyeball is for home recordings. It only took two days to ship from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Here’s how it looks from my chair:

It’s as big as my head, a challenge for Zoom meetings and for reading text on the right side of my monitor, but it works! Room echo was practically gone from any talk breaks I recorded at home. You will have to lower the pot (potentiometer) on your mixer. The Eyeball isolates background audio so well that more of the mic is picked up.

Thank you to actor and impressionist Jim Meskimen (son of Marion Ross) for recommending the Kaotica Eyeball in one of Mark Evanier‘s 2020 voice-over panel livestreams (cued to the relevant portion) and then jogging my memory about it in an Instagram post a few days before my purchase.

This wasn’t the first show with talk breaks recorded through the Eyeball, due to pickups I recorded for March 16.

After acquiring new music releases in the weeks leading up to this show, and the Friday after, I re-instituted two 2017 to present segments for the second hour. I included “Feet First” by Rick Braun unaware that it was the first single off his eponymous album. I did know that “Sun Princess” by the Jeff Lorber Fusion and “Out to Lunch” by Oli Silk were on the smooth jazz radio charts. So, I worked them in. Due to time constraints in the last segment, I couldn’t remind listeners about the accelerando at the end of the Bob James Trio arrangement of “Westchester Lady.” That same arrangement was part of their Blue Note set in November 2018, a month after Feel Like Making LIVE! was recorded. I said of the Blue Note performance:

This song had a call and response between the trio and ended with an accelerando that led me to polka dance [in my seat].

“The Big Windy Cat” by Nick Colionne was played 52 weeks after the previous cut from No Limits, “Headin’ Wes Before Dawn.” “Rippin’ n Runnin'” by Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, from That’s How We Roll, was played exactly six months after “Howdiz Songo?” We also went exactly six months between tracks from the Jeff Lorber Fusion’s Space-Time – “Louisiana” and “Sun Princess” – and between the last track to date from the previous Bob James Trio album, Espresso, and the first off Feel Like Making LIVE! The Espresso track was “Mister Magic,” which was also recorded for the new album.

Little did I know my inclusion of “Swingin’ for the Fence” by Nelson Rangell, and addressing personnel as “heavy hitters,” would coincide with the delayed start to the 2022 Major League Baseball Season, and appear in a show preceded by the baseball edition of The Rock Show. And it slipped my mind that an unusually late blizzard affected the New York metro area 40 years ago: April 6, 1982. You can watch WABC-TV‘s Eyewitness News coverage of that storm here.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Audiobooking 7 March 26, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Audio, Audiobooks, Baseball, Books, Comedy, Commentary, Drama, Film, Football, Health, History, Internet, Media, Music, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Rock, Sports, TV, Video, War, Wrestling.
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Another year of audiobook listening is in the books. I’m still an Audible member and use each month’s credit on a new book, but throughout my membership, there will come a time where I pay $35.88 to buy three extra credits. I listened while exercising, running (or walking) errands, doing household tasks, and at bedtime.

I even listened to one book on YouTube rather than Audible. Find out which one as I list the audiobooks I listened to since last year’s Audiobooking post:

  • Apropos of Nothing by Woody Allen – It’s sad that the abundance of Woody haters made him feel compelled to passionately, and rightly, defend his character through most of the book.
  • Talking to GOATs: The Moments You Remember and the Stories You Never Heard by Jim Gray (with guest voices including Bob Costas, Vin Scully, Tom Brady, and Snoop Dogg) – GOAT is an acronym for “greatest of all time.” – Vin was recorded over the phone while Bob and Tom were on Zoom via their webcam or phone. You can tell by the audio quality. – I remembered where I was during the moments Jim recounted, especially the Pete Rose interview. Jim didn’t deserve the grief he got. I’m glad he and Pete are on good terms these days
  • Killing the Mob: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (read entirely by Robert Petkoff) – This was certainly enlightening. I had no idea the mob’s tentacles ran so deep, or that they had a boss in Tampa, of all places.
  • On the House: A Washington Memoir by John Boehner (“bainer”) – This was one of three books I returned. – The early stages of Speaker Boehner’s book were more of, apropos of the previous book I listened to, hits on his enemies. I mean verbal ad hominem attacks, not murders.
  • Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling by Jim Ross with Paul O’Brien (read by Jim; Vince McMahon’s foreword and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s afterword read by R.C. Bray) – I bought this with my On the House return credit. – Both Slobberknocker and Under the Black Hat have an instance of “at the end of the day.” I had yet to encounter that in Black Hat when I published last year’s post. – I watched many WWE documentaries on Peacock in my first two months as a subscriber (before “at the end of the day” fatigue made me quit watching what was left). I now realize that for all WWE-sanctioned media, you are required to say “-E” instead of “-F,” even when referring to the WWF days. Only clips can show the old logos and utterances of “-F” or “Federation.” Slobberknocker didn’t have that requirement, but Black Hat did. – I met Jim and Jerry Lawler at New York Comic Con in October.
  • How Y’all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived by Leslie Jordan (or should I say Leslie Alan Jordan?) – How can you not love Leslie? – I saw little of him on Will & Grace, but enjoyed him on The Cool Kids and enjoy him on Call Me Kat. – He’s worth following on Instagram.
  • Just When I Thought I’d Heard Everything!: Humorous Observations on Life in America by Charles Grodin (1934-2021) – Compilation of radio commentaries, but newly read (in 2013) for the book. – Wow, was this poorly edited. So many flubs were left in. I don’t know how I made it to the end
  • Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life by Julianna Marguiles (“margh-u-leez”) – I have seen little of Julianna’s work outside of the 1997 live episode of ER, but I enjoyed learning about her. – I was watching Friends on HBO Max at the time I heard her book, and it was neat seeing her older sister Alexandra (referenced in the book) recur on that show.
  • Mayor Kane: My Life in Wrestling and Politics by Glenn Jacobs (a.k.a. Kane) – Like Talking to GOATs, I remembered where I was at the time of some of the events Glenn recounted from the period when I was a wrestling fan. – “-E” instead of “-F” – In pro wrestling terms, I was a mark early in my fandom and Isaac Yankem, Glenn’s first WWE character, genuinely scared me. So, I was surprised that he hated the character – The Fake Diesel angle began on Monday Night Raw on September 23, 1996, two days before my sister’s bat mitzvah. – Early Kane scared me, too. – Glenn’s position as mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, would be known as county executive in most other regions. I was unaware of county executives going by mayor until I heard a public address announcement by the “mayor of Broward County” in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on March 5, 2019, while waiting in the JetBlue terminal for a flight back to JFK. (See photos from my trip here.) – I didn’t enjoy Glenn’s libertarian commentary toward the end, but at least it’s on my side of the political aisle, and he didn’t attack anyone like Boehner did.
  • Five Minutes, Mr. Byner: A Lifetime of Laughter by John Byner with Douglas Wellman (read by John) – I had better luck with John Byner than with John Boehner. – Long Island represent! Byner grew up all over Long Island, including Bohemia and Merrick. (Since Bill O’Reilly’s book, and Brian Kilmeade’s later, aren’t memoirs, I didn’t/don’t acknowledge they are also from Long Island. Bill’s from Levittown and Brian’s from Massapequa.) – I forgot John’s last name at birth was Biener. Unlike the Biener Audi folks, the phonetic spelling John legally adopted is how his family said it; like my last name, people kept mispronouncing his, calling him “Beaner” or “Beans.” – I don’t remember if he brought up playing Gurgi (and Doli) in The Black Cauldron, but I watched it on Disney+ a few weeks ago, as I work my way through (most of) Disney’s theatrical animated releases in chronological order. – Just as I prepared to published this post, I learned of The Super Bob Einstein Movie documentary on HBO Max. Bob created Super Dave Osborne for The John Byner Comedy Hour and would later appear on John’s Bizarre series and his own show, Super Dave.
  • Past Imperfect: The Autobiography by Joan Collins – Originally published in 1978, revised in the mid ’80s to include her Dynasty work, recorded in 2021. – Maxwell Reed was her husband, but I came to hate him just as much after listening. – I thought back to Slobberknocker as Joan referenced Bill Watts, obviously not related to Cowboy Bill.
  • Tropical Attire Encouraged (and Other Phrases That Scare Me) by Alison Rosen – Free with my Audible membership – Each chapter ended with an impromptu commentary by Alison and after finishing the book, there’s podcast-esque commentary by Alison and her husband Daniel Quartz. – I became a fan of Alison during her days as a guest on Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld, proudly supporting the original livestream (UStream) incarnation of Alison Rosen is Your New Best Friend. It was an honor to be the Fan Phone Call one Sunday evening in 2010; I listened to some episodes of the podcast version that continues to this day, but haven’t heard an episode in quite a while. – I’ve since gravitated toward podcasts by Gilbert Gottfried (with Frank Santopadre) and Ken Levine. – Listening to this book made me nostalgic for the halcyon days before politics drove a wedge into everything.
  • My Inappropriate Life: Some Material Not Suitable for Small Children, Nuns, or Mature Adults by Heather McDonald – Written and read in the days of Chelsea Lately, which again, I didn’t see much of, but I knew of the regular panelists and staff, including Heather.
  • The Long Slide: Thirty Years in American Journalism by Tucker Carlson – I can’t stomach his Tucker Carlson Tonight commentaries anymore (too dour, goes after right-wingers I like), but I was willing to buy The Long Slide. – After an introduction lamenting the way things were at the time of publication (summer 2021), the rest of the book is made up of past columns with present-day prologues. To that end, it was edited better than Charles Grodin’s audiobook.
  • You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success by Al Roker – I’ve been a fan of Al’s since his days at News 4 New York (WNBC), and thoroughly enjoyed his journey. – “You look so much better in person” was a well-meaning, unintentionally backhanded compliment someone gave him in Rockefeller Plaza one time on Today. Don’t ever tell anyone that.
  • Parenting for the Digital Age: The Truth behind Media’s Effect on Children and What to Do About It by Bill Ratner – There are occasional references to Bill’s career, but it’s mostly parental help, as the title indicates.
  • Oh, Nothing…: An Audio Collection of Stories and Memories from Alan Sues by Alan Sues (“sooz”) (1926-2011) – Since the book’s price was $9.79, I bought it that way rather with a credit that costs an additional $1.17 if bought with three ($11.96 x 3) or $5.16 with the monthly credit ($14.95). – Again I say as the title indicates, this is less of a book and more of an interview or one-on-one conversation. – There was so much more to Alan than his days on Laugh-In.
  • The Beauty of Living Twice by Sharon Stone – I felt deep empathy for Sharon as she recounted all that she’s endured. – Left-wing politics comes up throughout, but I made it to the end.
  • Mixed Plate: Chronicles of an All-American Combo by Jo Koy – “Josep!” – Jo’s brother reminded me of my late uncle Carmen, who also suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
  • After Mixed Plate, I encountered the second book that I had to disappointingly return for left-wing political reasons. I prefer not to name it or its author (and co-author), but I will say that they were also born and raised on Long Island.
  • Windswept & Interesting: My Autobiography by Billy Connolly – I started listening just after I had finished watching Billy in the final season of Head of the Class on HBO Max, and earlier this week, I heard him in Pocahontas on Disney+. – Like Jimmy Johnson, these days, Billy lives with his wife in the Florida Keys.
  • Bad Republican by Meghan McCain – Double entendre: “bad” because she’s not conservative enough and she and her family hate [the 45th president], and “bad” merely as a Republican. The latter “bad” is how her former co-hosts of The View perceived her. – Three audio clips are used: two of her father Senator John McCain and one of her impassioned eulogy at his memorial. – One “at the end of the day”
  • God Bless This Mess: Learning to Live and Love Through Life’s Best (and Worst) Moments by Hannah Brown – Vocal fry galore! – Felt nothing when she won her season of Dancing with the Stars and didn’t get along with her dance partner Alan Bersten (only referred to by his first name) – That admission, with about an hour left in the book, let me to make my third return of the year. I was so distraught, having wasted my time supporting her (even though I thought she didn’t deserve to win that season!), I couldn’t finish my workout on the morning I heard that part.
  • Dear Hartley: Thoughts on Character, Kindness, and Building a Brighter World by Jedediah Bila – Speaking of former hosts of The View, Jedediah’s Dear Hartley is a series of hopeful letters (chapters) to her currently-toddler son. – Each “letter” ends with “I love you more than life, Mama.”
  • Kind is the New Classy by Candace Cameron Bure – One “at the end of the day” – Hey, three The View ex-pats in one year! – While Candace spoke positively of her co-hosts in the book, since she was still on it in 2018, she has since admitted her experience was as bad as Meghan’s.
  • Based on a True Story: A Memoir by Norm Macdonald (1959-2021) – Yes, the first “d” is lowercase. – This is not a nonfiction memoir, but a fictional novel “based on a true story.” – It’s the story of egomaniacal Norm and his timid sidekick Adam Eget (“e-ghit”), intertwined with confessions from the supposed ghostwriter of the book, voiced “splendidly!” by Tim O’Halloran.
  • Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (1956-2016) – Before my animated theatrical journey began on Disney+, I watched all nine episodes of Star Wars (the Skywalker Saga) in episodic order. After finishing the original trilogy, I watched Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, a documentary produced by Carrie’s brother/Debbie’s son Todd, on HBO Max. Then, I decided to buy this audiobook and three of the next four below. – Left-wing politics, but through a 2008 lens
  • Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher (1956-2016) – A chronicle of Carrie’s experience with ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) treatments – It includes another hater-facilitated defense, this time of Michael Jackson. Good.
  • The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher – She talks about her experience making the original Star Wars trilogy and shares diary entries written during filming of the first one (Episode IV). – The diary entries are read by her daughter Billie Lourd. – Ends with modern-day dramatizations of fan encounters at conventions, which Carrie referred to as “celebrity lap dance(s),” a term she also used in Bright Lights.
  • The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family by Ron and Clint Howard (foreword written and read by actress Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron’s daughter) – This is a real memoir about Ron and Clint’s youth and the lives of their parents Rance and Jean Speegle Howard. (I thought it was “Spiegel” as I listened since I have a friend with that last name.) – I’ve since heard Clint in The Jungle Book and two Winnie the Pooh shorts, via The Many Adventures of…, on Disney+. – This was temporarily the longest audiobook I’ve ever listened to, surpassing I’ll Be Back Right After This by Pat O’Brien.
  • My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher – Todd’s memoir and point of view of the events chronicled in Carrie and Debbie’s books, which are occasionally excerpted – Todd says “two thousand and” for 2001 and beyond, even for 2010 and beyond. – He kept saying “in the end,” but I’ll take a million of those over one “at the end of the day.” Bravo, Todd. – Only five minutes shorter than The Boys
  • The Masked Man: A Memoir and Fantasy of Hollywood by Tom Wilson – This is the book I listened to on YouTube. Tom posted chapters to his channel daily over three weeks in January. – Like Norm’s book, there’s a fictional aspect (“and fantasy of”). You don’t really think Clayton Moore followed him around like a shadow, do you? – I made a playlist of all the chapters, but you may buy on Audible if it’ll clear your conscience.
  • The President and the Freedom Fighter: Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Their Battle to Save America’s Soul by Brian Kilmeade – A book about the lives of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass
  • But Enough About Me: A Memoir by Burt Reynolds (1936-2018) with Jon Winokur (read by Burt) – Burt lists many of the people that helped shape his life. – I don’t know if it was the frailty of age, but Burt’s delivery was mostly whispered. – I’m thankful to Burt for reminding me of Sally Field’s verbatim acceptance speech when she won the Academy Award for Best Actress, her second, for her role in Places in the Heart, and how it alluded to her previous win for Norma Rae. Read about that in her Wikipedia entry.
  • I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This!: and Other Things That Strike Me as Funny by Bob Newhart (abridged) – The book is from 2002, so Bob’s speech was still clear and his voice wasn’t high. – Bob’s signature routines are sprinkled throughout. – I’ve since seen Bob in The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under on…guess where?
  • Coreyography by Corey Feldman – Empathy strikes again as my heart ached for what he and Corey Haim endured as children. – I have a hunch I’ve heard his father Bob Feldman on some David Benoit albums, but maybe it was a different Bob Feldman. – Corey, too, set the record straight on Michael Jackson. – Yeah, he was in one of those animated theatrical films I saw on Disney+ (that’s where): The Fox and the Hound.
  • Who I Am by Pete Townshend (“town’s end”) – Even longer than The Boys: 17 hours and 56 minutes. I still have around four hours left, but it’s quite an adventure. – The title is a play on his song “Who Are You?” for The Who.

As I crafted this post, adding one book at a time, I had no idea how many books I had listened to: 34, plus three that I returned! That far exceeds the amount of books in earlier posts.

Until next year’s “Audiobooking” post, happy listening.

Instrumental Invasion, 1/5/22 January 6, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Baseball, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, New Year, Personal, Radio, Rock, Sports.
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The January 5 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP, the first show of 2022, was recorded over three days in November 2021. The first hour was recorded on my 40th birthday, November 17, the first second hour segment on the 18th, and the other two segments on the 19th. A pickup was recorded on the 20th with more pickups on December 14 as I shortened the length of four segments.

The playlist was created and annotated, and the talk break script was drafted, on November 16.

Jeff Kroll was generous enough to record liners for the show, but he went the extra mile by contributing show open voice overs. Hearkening back to the latter days of The Mike Chimeri Show, I added a laser gun sound and the end of “Brave New World” by The Rippingtons. The end result:

I’ll be using that every week going forward.

I originally intended on talking about that emotional time in my life when I was first exposed to “Dancing with Ivy” by Nelson Rangell (written by Jay Rowe). Coincidentally, it was the latter days of The Mike Chimeri Show. I was depressed, obsessed with the New York Mets, obese, felt threatened by WebRadio WCWP’s new death metal format, Capital Punishment Radio, and I treated anyone and everyone like a therapist. My stubborn arrogance led me to foolishly record a promo where I mocked the tropes of other DJ’s promos, such as a flange effect and bleeping curses. Capital Punishment replied with a mocking promo of their own. It began with a big band excerpt, cut off by DJ derision, and then mimicking a portion of another insulting promo of mine. Picking up on namesakes, I said in the promo that my show didn’t have Coldplay, but did have Fourplay; no Yellowcard, but Yellowjackets; no Jessica or Ashlee, but Brian Simpson. “We don’t have Yellowjacket,” one of them said in my voice, before concluding with words to the effect of smooth metal “and a whole lot more.” That played off my show’s tagline, “smooth jazz and more.” That humbling, humiliating experience eventually led me to stay in my lane and be a team player, but not until after Evening Jazz. I wasn’t a team player then, either. Evening Jazz on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then just Thursdays, was wildly different from the nights Fred Camin hosted. I once ranted to Bernie Bernard, “Ayn Inserto? Insert this.” What a jerk I was.

With that confession out of my system, on a lighter note, I consulted Jay Rowe while working on the playlist, remembering that he admitted who Ivy was when he played it on his piano during a 2020 Facebook livestream (my request). I had forgotten, but Jay reminded me it was for his guitarist friend Tod Baharian‘s daughter, who was just a toddler at the time.

“Chrome Explosion” by Anders Enger Jensen was first played on Instrumental Invasion on June 24, 2020, the same week I first played “Song for Bilbao” by Michael Brecker, which I replayed last week. Here is the “Chrome Explosion” music video I referenced in the subsequent talk break:

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

7:35 AM UPDATE: It took until listening to the aircheck to notice that Tony Watson Jr. played soprano sax on “Ear Candy” by Pieces of a Dream, not tenor. Sometimes, foolish oversights escape my ear until it’s too late.

9/11: A 20th anniversary retrospective September 13, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Commentary, Fire, History, Internet, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, TV, Video.
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Saturday marked 20 years since the September 11 attacks. On the tenth anniversary, I posted part of an essay where I recounted my experience on that morning. I wrote it in December 2001 for an end-of-semester portfolio. Following the excerpt, I elaborated on the events of the day and how I coped.

In this post, I’ll elaborate further and share what has happened in the years since.

There were increased expressions of patriotism after 9/11, including flying American flags outside homes and wearing American flag lapel pins. We flew a flag and, for about two years, I wore a lapel pin, usually with a red, white, and blue ribbon attached. For a while, I also wore a patriotic button, but I don’t remember what it said. Here are photographic examples, starting with my friend Joe Horst’s 20th birthday party on October 3, 22 days later:

Sitting in Ehrhart’s Clam House in Freeport (part owned by my family) with Joe Horst, Scott Schoenberg, and Scott Condenzio

Side note: Joe was wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers t-shirt that day. Coincidentally, it was the 50th anniversary of the Shot Heard ‘Round the World: Bobby Thomson’s home run off Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca to win the National League pennant for the New York Giants. As Russ Hodges said on the Giants radio broadcast: “The Giants win the pennant!”

Back on topic, my 20th birthday, November 17:

Christmas at the Falco house:

Joe Falco, a family friend and FDNY firefighter in Engine 1 Ladder 24, survived the South Tower collapse. He was the subject of a documentary that served as my senior project. You can watch it here:

Ringing in 2002:

For eleven years, inspired by a news report I saw on New Year’s Day in 1994, I saved each year’s desk calendar pages and had friends and family throw them as confetti:

Throwing calendar page confetti

I saved and scanned the September 11 pages:

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? calendar 9/11 page, front
Back

It’s ironic that the Millionaire calendar question involved the Department of Defense. The Pentagon was one of the targets that morning. 9/14/21 UPDATE: Further irony involved a PAMS jingle for WABC (770 AM) during its Musicradio era: “Flight 77, WABC, nonstop…music.” Earlier in 2001, I discovered Allan Sniffen’s Musicradio tribute site and that was one of the jingles I listened to obsessively, assuming I heard it there if not elsewhere. Obviously, I could never listen to it the same way again. A variation was among jingles recorded by JAM Creative Productions, PAMS’s spiritual successor, for SiriusXM’s 60s on 6.

Weather Whys and Wonders calendar 9/11 page

Hosting The Mike Chimeri Show on March 1, 2002:

One last photo: July 12, 2002, heading back from Atlantic Canada aboard the Carnival Triumph:

The cruise embarked from the Hudson River side of Midtown Manhattan, taking us past where the towers fell ten months earlier:

Cruising past Lower Manhattan aboard the Carnival Triumph, ten months after 9/11

I still have the lapel pin, which I showed on social media Saturday morning:

On September 12, 2001, I added angel wings and a halo to the twin towers portion of a backdrop I made five years earlier for a home video/audio show I did with my cousin – The Chris and Mike Chimeri Show – based on a video bumper for The Late Show with David Letterman. I kept the backdrop up until September 30, 2019, during a basement cleanup. I photographed the backdrop for posterity before taking it down (for privacy, I’ve blurred my signature):

My family lit memorial candles in the backyard, as seen on the 14th, three days after the attacks:

I did not know any of the victims personally, but Cynthia D’Arpino, my learning assistant in ARC (C.W. Post’s Academic Resource Center), lost her brother-in-law Tim O’Brien who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. On the tenth anniversary, I photographed the TV when his name was read:

I did the same for Richie Muldowney:

Like Joe Falco, Richie was a Freeport native and firefighter, also serving in the FDNY, Engine 16 Ladder 7. He was among the 343 FDNY firefighters lost on 9/11. Beginning in 2011, I got to know his niece Lauren, mother Anne (who passed away in 2020) and surviving siblings: fraternal twins Kevin (Lauren’s father) and Colleen (Andello), and Mary (a.k.a. Mary Mo). I have yet to meet Brian, but for all I know, I met him, and Richie, when I was younger. My father Bill says it’s possible I saw Richie when I worked in Ehrhart’s Clam House (May 2000 to November 2001). In April 2012, Kevin married my mother’s friend and co-worker Mandy.

In 2013, I attended Freeport’s 9/11 memorial ceremony. The attacks led my dad to become a firefighter himself in 2002, in Truck 1, Joe Falco’s Freeport Fire Department company. I took a photo of him before the ceremony:

My father, Bill Chimeri, at Freeport’s 9/11 memorial ceremony in 2013

During the ceremony:

The following year, Dad and I ran (and walked) the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K.

Along the way, I photographed the new One World Trade Center (a.k.a. Freedom Tower)…:

…and a banner with Richie’s photo:

It’s become a 9/11 tradition on Facebook to link to the 2011 “My 9/11 experience” blog post, the Joe Falco documentary, and sometimes, a photo of the World Trade Center that I took in December 1999, after touring the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park:

Last year, a podcast host discovered my documentary and asked to use portions of it in a special 9/11 episode. I happily agreed.

A wealth of retrospective documentaries have aired on various channels this year and I’ve watched them all. It may be a cliche, but we can never forget. Those documentaries are a permanent reminder of what happened, along with stories of survival and how the victims’ children have grown into adulthood.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to muster up a blog post to mark the 20th anniversary, but here we are. Thank you for reading.

9/16/21 UPDATE: Game Dave‘s latest video is a Q&A edition of Digitally Distracted. For that video, I submitted a 9/11-related question, which he answered (video cued up to relevant portion):

Instrumental Invasion, 7/7/21 July 8, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Baseball, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Sports, Technology, Video.
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The July 7 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded two segments per day between May 29 and 31 with pickups on the 31st and June 17.

The playlist was created on May 28 with annotations carrying into the 29th, followed by the script draft.

Half the segments ran long, half ran short. One of those segments ran short due to a miscalculation that gave me an extra minute. Another short segment gave me the opportunity to learn a “fun fact” (a term I lovingly borrow from Technology Connections) about Joe McBride. In all the years I’ve heard his music, I never knew he was Bake McBride‘s nephew.

I played “Red Suede Shoes” by Chuck Loeb after hearing the disappointing radio edit on SiriusXM’s Watercolors that cut the song in half, eliminating Till Brönner and Eric Marienthal‘s solos. They got their due in this show.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Audiobooking 6 April 4, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Audio, Audiobooks, Baseball, Comedy, Commentary, Film, History, Media, Personal, Politics, Radio, Sports, TV, Video.
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It’s been just over a year since the previous post. Instrumental Invasion has taken up most of my time, providing a necessary escape from the tumultuous reality.

I continue to listen to audiobooks on days where I workout and run, or even while editing photos. My source remains Audible, now as a paid member. When I’m billed at the end of each month, I use my credit on the next audiobook to listen to. As I type, I have a three-book backlog.

Here’s what I’ve been listened to since Andrea Barber’s memoir:

I was a big fan of “The Critic” and have been an on-and-off fan of “The Simpsons.” I heard the cheery voice of Mike Reiss (“rees”) in DVD commentaries for both shows. I thought I would like “Simpsons Confidential.” While it had its moments, the book was mostly a string of personal or locational attacks: Texas, South Carolina, Tim Allen, Republican politicians, etc. Never meet your heroes and don’t listen to their memoirs. I was previously let down in a similar fashion by Ron Perlman, Joely Fisher, Carrie Keagan, and Eric Idle. I was somehow able to tolerate the political asides of Billy Crystal, Carl Reiner, and Ken Levine (“laVYNE”) in their memoirs.
Thankfully, Audible refunded my credit for the book, even with only 55 minutes left to listen to. I used it to buy Jerry Seinfeld’s “Is This Anything?” I hope nothing makes me regret that purchase.
If you want to see Mike’s latest personal attacks on people he hates, he’s on Twitter at MikeReissWriter.

My Instagram post, 1/30/21; a screencap of Audible’s credit was the post photo
  • All in All: An Actor’s Life On and Off the Stage by Stacy Keach (foreword by Alec Baldwin, read by voice actress whose name, again, I missed) – Only political in the ’60s and early ’70s – blessed relief after enduring Mike Reiss
  • Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld (chapter titles read by British voice actress) – Jerry’s jokes by decade, prefaced by synopses of his life in each decade
  • Never Look at the Empty Seats: A Memoir by Charlie Daniels (1936-2020) – Nearly the opposite of Ken Levine and Mike Reiss politically – pleasant to my center-right ears – nice to learn about his full career besides “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”
  • Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey – Except for acknowledging 2020 events at the end, enjoyable to listen to – “NOTE TO SELF! …”
  • Under the Black Hat: My Life in the WWE and Beyond by Jim Ross with Paul O’Brien (read by JR) – Focuses on JR’s WWF/WWE career, beginning at Wrestlemania XV in 1999 (six years after his initial debut) – for a wider life story, I’ll need to check out Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling

There, all caught up.

Until next year’s “Audiobooking” post, happy listening.

Instrumental Invasion, 10/28/20 October 29, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Baseball, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio.
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The October 28, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over two days: the first hour on September 18 and the second on the 19th.

The playlist was created on September 16 and annotated on the 17th. I also had to revise the end of the first segment. There wasn’t enough time for “Beyond the Seventh Galaxy” by Return to Forever, so I replaced it with “Excerpt from the First Movement of Heavy Metal.” Time constraints also led me to omit various annotations, particularly most of the personnel on Bernie Williams‘ “Go For It.” I may be a Mets fan, but as I said on the air, Bernie should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. “Maybe someday.”

Each talk break of each hour’s first segment was scripted with partial ad libbing.

I worked in “Silverado” by Fourplay after noticing a red Chevy Silverado while riding west on Sunrise Highway. In the talk break afterward, I forgot to acknowledge that Silver commemorated the band’s 25th anniversary. I did acknowledge that back in the third show when I played “Quicksilver.”

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Pat Contri, Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the SNES Library December 2, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Basketball, Books, Education, Football, Internet, Media, Radio, Sports, Technology, TV, Video, Video Games.
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I photographed my copy of Guide to the SNES Library shortly after completing it Sunday

Two months and one day after completing Pat Contri‘s Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Librarywhich I reviewed here – my pre-order copy of the special edition of his Guide to the SNES Library arrived on my front porch.

Once again, the guide is as big as an educational textbook. Now that I think of it, this book is educational. There’s much to learn about the Super Nintendo Entertainment System within its 445 pages (plus a few pages listing Kickstarter contributors).

When I tweeted on Sunday that I finished reading, Pat wondered what my muscle gains were, considering the book’s heft. I replied thusly:

I was late in boarding the NES bandwagon, not getting a console until February 1990, over four years after its initial release in the New York Metropolitan Area. The Super NES, released on August 23, 1991, is a different story. Besides commercials, my first exposure to the console came at my friend Jessie’s house. I regularly played Super Mario World and F-Zero on her projection TV as 1991 gave way to ’92. After saving up part of the cost, my parents got a console for me and my sister Lauren in late January. In the months that followed, I spent many hours playing games, especially the aforementioned Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart (an 11th birthday present), and Mario Paint. I discovered all of Super Mario World’s exits and repeatedly watched the end credits. I would get emotional at the scene with the Yoshi eggs hatching. I successfully beat all cups in Super Mario Kart in all cc modes, and I loved the Rainbow Road theme. And as a weather buff, I had fun making radar loops with Mario Paint’s animation feature.

In nearly 28 years, I’ve amassed a collection of 46 Super Nintendo games. Reading this guide inspired me to add to that collection, at least somewhat.

Guide to the SNES Library chronicles all games released in North America and PAL territories in alphanumerical order, from 3 Ninjas Kick Back and The 7th Saga to Zool and Zoop. (Yes, those are their names.)

Pat Contri was not alone in reviewing the games. Returning from Guide to the NES Library are Asheton “Ashi” Phinney (I loved his alliteration, puns, and rhymes), Jim Evans, and Karen Niemla. The new recruits are Daniel Anderson, Daniel Greenberg, Dagan Moriarty, Kyh Yang, Alli Flanagan (who, like Pat, appeared in The Video Game Years), Pete Skerritt, and Mike Vito(12/14 UPDATE: Dagan, Kyh, and Pete also wrote reviews for the third edition of the NES guide.) Visual effects artist Yoshi Vu provided cart and hardware images, and additional cover art. The foreword was written by Jirard Khalil, a.k.a. The Completionist.

As with Guide to the NES Library, most pages in Guide to the SNES Library are devoted to two games. An image from one of the games is blurred in the background with two images from each game appearing above and below the review. The top of the page shows the games’ cartridge designs and lists their genre, release date, developer, publisher, number of players, special features, availability during the SNES’s life (from “very common” to “extremely rare”), and star rating. There are 10 ratings that range from half a star (one small star, “poor”) to 2 1/2 stars (two big stars and one small star, “average”) to 5 stars (five big stars, “classic”). Reviews can take up anywhere from a fifth of the page to a third of it, followed by the reviewers’ “reflections.” Reviewers are identified by their initials (i.e. PC, PS, AP, DG).

Eleven landmark titles with five-star ratings got full page reviews, including EarthBound, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario World and its sequel, and Super Metroid. Those reviews take up more space on the page than regular half-page reviews. I only own four of the games out of those eleven, and only two that I listed here. Some five-star games only got half a page, such as Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest, Super Street Fighter II, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. I have two of those, along with one that I didn’t mention. You’ll have to buy the book to find out which other five-star games were only on half a page and which got the full page treatment.

The tone of game reviews ranged from clinical to critical, but not in your face or obnoxious. I’m just glad the SNES versions of Tetris 2 and Yoshi’s Cookie weren’t treated as harshly. As I mentioned earlier, I currently have 46 SNES games, and I plan on buying some of the easier-to-obtain games in the book with ratings of 4, 4 1/2, or 5 stars to add to the collection. If they cost over $100, forget it. No Pocky & Rocky for me.

There were plenty of sports games released for the Super Nintendo that I read about. At the moment, I only have four: NBA Hangtime (which I also have on the Genesis and Nintendo 64), NBA Jam: Tournament Edition, True Golf Classics: Pebble Beach Golf Links and Super Bases Loaded. While reading about Midway games like NBA Jam, I learned who that the voice of most of those games was Tim Kitzrow. Besides NBA Jam, Tim also voiced the NFL Blitz series, which I enjoyed on the N64. He included video of an appearance on FOX Sports West on his website:

NBA Hangtime, Midway’s successor to NBA Jam, was voiced by longtime Bulls TV play-by-play announcer Neil Funk, who is retiring at the end of this season. Other TV announcers and analysts to lend their voices to sports games on the Super Nintendo are Al Michaels, Jack Buck, Pat Summerall, and of course, John Madden, to name a few.

After 400 pages of North American and PAL releases, there are chapters on special and promo cartridges, test cartridges, select games from the Japanese Super Famicom library, a look at some unreleased games (by Evan Gowan of SNES Central), and the SNES console and its accessories.

Guide to the SNES Library concludes with supplemental articles. Three of the articles were based on the authors’ YouTube videos. James Rolfe‘s “The Console Wars: SNES vs. Sega Genesis” was taken from a two-part video in 2012, which was combined into one part on the Cinemassacre Plays subchannel:

James and Pat Contri’s friendship dates back to their early days on YouTube. They’ve occasionally collaborated on videos. In fact, their latest went up on Saturday night:

Kelsey Lewin‘s supplemental article was on the Life Fitness LifeCycle Exertainment Bike, based on her video from last year:

In addition to her YouTube channel, Kelsey is the co-owner with her husband Cody of Pink Gorilla Games and co-director with Frank Cifaldi of The Video Game History Foundation. For you sports fans, Kelsey’s father is play-by-play announcer Josh Lewin. You may know him from his stints with the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers on TV, and the New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Chargers, and UCLA Bruins football and men’s basketball on radio. Those and other credits can be found here.

And speaking of sports, the third article based on a video was Norman Caruso‘s Gaming Historian 2016 episode on Nintendo‘s ownership of the Seattle Mariners, which he posted as Nintendo was selling most of their shares. The episode had periodic quote readings by YouTubers, and Pat read a quote – in a sinister tone – from Fay Vincent, commissioner of Major League Baseball at the time of Nintendo’s purchase. Unfortunately, MLB forced the removal of the video, so I can’t embed it here.

As for the rest of the supplemental articles, Chris Kohler’s entry on the SNES CD-ROM originally appeared on Kotaku last September. Roger Barr, Andre Meadows, and Karen Niemla supplied original articles. It’s worth reading each article, especially the ones based on videos so you can see differences in text.

It took 19 days to read 445 pages of Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the SNES Library. Once again, I kept a journal of how many pages I read per day. Dividing 445 by 19, I averaged about 24 pages a day. I mostly imagined my own voice in my head as I read the reviews, but I occasionally thought of certain public figures narrating them. I had Pat’s voice in mind when I read his reviews.

Guide to the SNES Library was another great read! Thanks to Pat Contri and his fellow reviewers Ashi Phinney, Daniel Anderson, Daniel Greenberg, Kyh Yang, Karen Niemla, Alli Flanagan, Jim Evans, Dagan Moriarty, Pete Skerritt, and Mike Vito.

For those that grew up with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, are collecting for it, or just want to learn about it, this book is a must. There are eight versions available for purchase ranging from $59.99 to $99.99, or $29.99 for just the digital download. I have the $79.99 special edition, but I recommend the physical/digital combo at $99.99. I should have bought that in the first place, but I didn’t mind paying an extra $10 yesterday for the digital download and paying the same price to download the NES guide. Having the books physically and digitally is the ultimate experience.

There will eventually be an Ultimate SNES Game Guide Collecting app for iOS and Android. I will update this post when it’s available.

12/12/20 UPDATE: A year has passed and there’s no app. Forget what I said.