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Instrumental Invasion, 11/18/20 November 19, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Video Games.
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The November 18, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day on October 22 and 23 with a pickup recording on November 11.

The playlist was created and annotated on October 19 with additional annotations during the recording sessions.

This is the first show where I scripted out every talk break, though I give myself freedom to ad-lib. (The remark about “a lot of classic rock in this show” was an ad-lib, for example.)

The show was originally recorded with 19-minute segments, but they all had to be trimmed down to 18:45 through editing out portions of talk breaks, and even speed compression. I had to do the same to the November 25 and December 2 shows. This is another danger of recording shows well in advance.

My reading of “Lucky,” while talking up the Fourplay song, was an homage to Mario‘s exclamation in his eponymous Nintendo video games when he snags a 1-Up Mushroom.

I originally recited the joke that inspires Jeff Lorber‘s “He Had a Hat” while talking up the song, but it was ten seconds over. I’m proud of the talk-up that made the show as I still shouted the punchline. Here is the joke (which Jeff told differently in a promotional interview):

“The Jewish Grandmother”

A Jewish lady’s grandson is playing in the water, she is standing on the beach not wanting to get her feet wet, when all of a sudden, a huge wave appears from nowhere and crashes directly over the spot where the boy is wading. The water recedes and the boy is no longer there. He simply vanished.

She holds her hands to the sky, screams and cries, “Lord, how could you?

Have I not been a wonderful grandmother?

Have I not been a wonderful mother?

Have I not given to B’nai Brith?

Have I not given to Hadassah?

Have I not lit candles every Friday night at dusk?

Have I not tried my very best to live a life that you would be proud of?”

A loud voice booms from the sky, “Okay, okay!”

A few minutes later another huge wave appears out of nowhere and crashes on the beach. As the water recedes, the boy is standing there, smiling, splashing around as if nothing had ever happened.

The loud voice booms again “I have returned your grandson. Are you satisfied?”

She responds, “He had a hat.”

Incidentally, I recorded the segment, and the entire second hour, on a Friday afternoon.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

As a bonus, I made a scope of the original 19-minute segment cut of the show. No broadcast compression filter was applied:

As still another bonus, here is how Jeff and Pat Kroll signed off my lead-in, a live edition of The Rock Show:

11/21 UPDATE: I forgot to note in this post that I swapped out an extra 2017-present segment for another 2007-2016. When I made the playlist, I didn’t have much material from the last four years to fill a second segment. Since then, I’ve received five more albums, which you’ll hear in the coming weeks, except for the last two weeks of December.

Instrumental Invasion, 11/11/20 November 12, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, TV.
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The November 11, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over two days: the first hour on October 15 and the second hour on the 16th.

The playlist was created on October 12. The first hour was annotated that same day and the second hour the next day.

For this show only, segments are 19 minutes long, expanding from 18 minutes in the first 31 shows. Next week and beyond, segments will be 18:45 a piece.

Most talk breaks were scripted as I had no faith in my ability to ad-lib.

Four songs were included to make up for unaired segments. “Off Broadway” (not to be confused with “On Broadway”) by George Benson and “Snake Eyes” by Grover Washington, Jr. were part of two segments that didn’t air in the second show on April 8. “Mr. Rodriguez’s Opus” by David Benoit and “Something About You” by Jeff Kashiwa were part of the unaired July 8 segment.

My reading of “percussion…by Henry Gibson” while back-selling “Michelle” by Ramsey Lewis was an homage to the actor of the same name. Henry Gibson was a player on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, a show that I watched from start to finish on Amazon Prime Video over 58 days in 2018. One of Henry’s characters was The Poet, a southern man who recited poetry while holding a giant flower. Here’s an example (along with a Dick Martin elevator sketch):

Sadly, both Henry Gibsons passed away in the 2000s.

I had to redo the line later because I forgot to write flugelhorn player Arthur Hoyle’s name while annotating. Art passed back in June.

I was glad to debut Nelson Rangell‘s new liner after playing “Nana’s Song,” and I’m equally proud of the grandma synonyms riff I went on afterward.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 10/7/20 October 8, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Country, Film, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Technology, Video.
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The October 7, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days. The first segment was recorded on September 3, the next three on the 4th, and the last two on the 5th. One talk break each in the first and last segments of the show were re-recorded on the 24th. The show intro was redone on the 26th. I originally said Herb Alpert was “the subject of a forthcoming documentary,” which was to premiere October 1, the day after the intended air date. Due to the September 23 programming error, the air date was moved back a week, so I redid the intro with the words “new documentary.” (And that documentary is fantastic!)

The playlist was created on September 3 and annotated on the 4th, hours before recording that first segment.

This show had the most scripted talk breaks to date.

The re-records were to acknowledge that I played songs by (or featuring) three different Browns, none of whom are related. There was Alison on banjo, Paul on acoustic and electric guitar, and Norman only on electric guitar.

I did mention in the initial recording sessions that The Champs’ song “Tequila” – covered by Larry Carlton – always makes me think of the Pee-wee Dance, which originated in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure:

I also mentioned that Anders Enger Jensen‘s cover of “Floaters” by Jimmy Fontanez and Media Right Productions was an homage to the Technology Connections YouTube channel, which he supports on Patreon. I, too, proudly support the channel, which puts out great content like this:

I like how, in the captions, creator Alec Watson identifies the song as a different adverb of “smooth jazz” in each episode. For the above episode, the caption read “glaringly smooth jazz.”

Thank you, Ryan Grabow, for getting me into the channel, which he recommended to me during his visit last October.

Click here to download this week’s aircheck MP3 or listen below:

12:45 PM UPDATE: I don’t know how I missed it, but I misspelled “ones” while referring to Paul Brown’s Ones Upon a Time album. I erroneously spelled it O-E-N-S, not O-N-E-S. The later line about “French Cafe” by David Benoit and Marc Antoine acting as the “second serving” of David is technically correct if you go by lead musicians. I forgot while recording the last two segments that David was also on “Samba del Luna” by Craig Chaquico and Russ Freeman in the show’s first segment that I recorded two days earlier.

Attending the 2020 U.S. Open in spirit; how I got through the COVID-19 lockdown September 22, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Dogs, Golf, Health, Internet, Media, Music, New Age, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Tennis, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games.
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2020 would have been the third year in a row I attended a PGA Tour major championship held in the New York metropolitan area and fourth year in the last five. In 2016, I traveled to Baltusrol Golf Club for the second round of the PGA Championship. In 2018, I was briefly at Shinnecock Hills for the third round of the U.S. Open. And last year, I witnessed the final round of the PGA at Bethpage Black Golf Course, the third time a major had been held there.

This year, the U.S. Open was to return to New York in June, as usual, to be held at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck. As my dad and I had done in 2002 and 2018, we opted to attend the third round so that he could watch at home on Father’s Day. We attended the final round the last time the championship was at Winged Foot in 2006. We were on the periphery of Phil Mickelson‘s collapse on the final hole. So many people stood by the 18th green that we could only hear the undoing. It was a depressing walk to the bus terminal and ride back to general parking at Orchard Beach in the Bronx.

Shortly after Dad bought the 2020 third round tickets in December, I bought a polo shirt that I would proudly don as I walked Winged Foot’s West Course. I had visions of aerial shots of the course along and ground level views of flags flying in the breeze while Brian Tyler‘s epic theme for Fox SportsUSGA coverage – “Triumph of the Spirit” – danced through my head.

Meanwhile, an insidious disease was spreading its way around the world. By March, Coronavirus Disease 2019 – also known as COVID-19 and the coronavirus – had reached the United States. State and local governments put residents on lockdown. Events were canceled or postponed left and right. Sports were put on hold indefinitely.

It was a sudden, sharp, and scary change that was very hard for me to bear. I was so scared and paranoid that I avoided watching or reading the news. It was torture passing by the den as my parents watched New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefings. His voice was the last thing I wanted to hear as it served as a harsh reality check. Social media wasn’t any better. Every day, another public figure became a casualty. Some of my friends lost their friends. My dad lost two of his friends.

From March to June, I kept busy at home. I retouched photo scans, removing dust and scratches, and adjusting contrast and color. While I worked, I listened to music or to interview podcasts that didn’t reference the news. Once I landed a weekly radio show at WCWP, recording and producing the shows became another preoccupation. In my downtime, I watched videos on the various YouTube channels I subscribe to, learning about technology and video games. I also watched traditional TV programming: sitcoms like Last Man Standing and Man with a Plan, and the documentary miniseries The Last Dance, about the Chicago Bulls championship dynasty in the 1990s. I worked out religiously and watched what I ate. I bought groceries and other necessities online.

On social media, I limited my Facebook posts to treadmill running milestones, post-radio show blog posts, and photos from the past on Throwback Thursday (#TBT), Flashback Friday (#FBF) or #MemoryMonday. Instagram had some of those photos from the past, but I also began the Cocoa Photo Series, with new entries posted every two to three days. It’s photos of my late Chocolate Labrador from his puppy days in 1998 through Christmas 2006. Here’s an example:

As states and localities were phased back to somewhat normal, I left my house more often, disposable mask in hand when walking through the neighborhood and covering my face when necessary, especially when shopping. I still buy some things online, though.

For a few months now, I’ve begun to follow various dog accounts on Instagram, mostly for Labrador Retrievers. Watching dogs grow up is just what I need in these difficult times.

This concludes the COVID-19 portion of the post.

In April, I learned that three of the four PGA Tour majors were rescheduled for later in the year, with the [British] Open Championship being canceled outright. The U.S. Open was rescheduled for September 17 to 20, the first time the event was in September since 1913. (This meant it would occur a week after the conclusion of the tennis US Open, sans periods, held south of Winged Foot within the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. For the record, Naomi Osaka won the women’s singles title for the second time in three years while Dominic Thiem won for the men, his first grand slam title.)

Assuming spectators would be allowed, I would be attending the third round of the U.S. Open on September 19. I put the date in my iPhone calendar and hoped that fans got the okay to attend. On July 29, access was denied. I felt like I had wasted my money on a shirt for an event I couldn’t even see in person. At least Dad got refunded for the tickets.

Indeed, to date, I’ve only worn it once after the above Instagram post. That one time was on September 10, a week before the first round. It was for a photo project that would put myself at Winged Foot in spirit.

I connected my Nikon D5500 to a tripod, attached a remote, and photographed myself in front of a blank spot on my bedroom wall, clad in what I would have worn to the third round:

The hat is from 2006 and the ticket holder is from 2018.

Then, I applied an effect to make it seem like I was outside in the sun:

The third step was to combine the image with a shot of Winged Foot I found on Google:

I used the magic wand tool to highlight the wall so I could delete it, leaving only myself. Then, I copied and pasted what was left over the Winged Foot image. After initially placing myself in the center of the image, I cropped it down and re-centered myself. This is the end result:

For publicity’s sake, I made sure to note it was a “fake photo.” I posted to Facebook upon completion on the 10th and to Instagram on the morning of the 19th:

Fall conditions were in effect in the area, which meant I’d have a jacket on if I was truly in person, as I did last year at the PGA:

I watched all four rounds of the U.S. Open on TV like everyone else, but not on FS1 and Fox. The rescheduling put Fox in a bind as they were committed to college football on Saturday and the NFL on Sunday. The only solution was to relinquish their USGA rights back to NBC Sports, which they did on June 29. Starting this year, Thursdays and Fridays would be seen on Golf Channel with weekend coverage on NBC. This also meant the previous U.S. Open theme, “In Celebration of Man” by Yanni (pardon the audio quality), made its return. (A bagpipe-infused version was made for Open Championship coverage, as heard in 2016.)

At the end of 72 holes, Bryson DeChambeau was the 120th United States Open champion. He was the only player to shoot under par in the final round and the only player under par for the championship. Bryson joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods among players to win an NCAA individual title, the U.S. Amateur, and the U.S. Open. It was his first career major victory and I was very glad for him.

The end result motivated me to include the polo shirt in my regular rotation, just as I do with shirts for most of the other tournaments I’ve attended.

The next major to be held in the New York metropolitan area comes in May 2022 when the PGA Championship is held at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. I hope the world is post-pandemic by then so I can be there in person. (Other future sites can be found here.)

I’ll leave you with video and additional articles related to the final round of the 120th U.S. Open.

VIDEO:
John Pak finishes as low amateur
Final round top shots
Final round extended highlights
Bryson DeChambeau, every televised shot
2020 U.S. Open top shots
Every televised shot from DeChambeau’s victory (all rounds)
Trophy presentation
Press conference
Bryson with Todd Lewis on Live from the U.S. Open
Bryson with Todd Lewis on Morning Drive

ARTICLES:
Will Gray, Golf Channel: Bryson DeChambeau cruises to U.S. Open win for first major title
Michael Bamberger, Golf.com: Victory & Validation: Bryson DeChambeau won the U.S. Open on his own terms
Mike Dougherty, Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Bryson DeChambeau vindicated after dominant finish at Winged Foot
Bill Pennington, The New York Times: Bryson DeChambeau wins U.S. Open his way: in commanding fashion
Mark Cannizaro, New York Post: Bryson DeChambeau runs away with U.S. Open for first major title
Greg Logan, Newsday: Bryson DeChambeau powers his way to his first major at Winged Foot

Instrumental Invasion, 9/16/20 September 17, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Film, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, TV, Video, Video Games.
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The September 16, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP is the 25th show overall. It was recorded over two days: the first hour on August 21 and the second on the 22nd.

The playlist was created on August 18 and annotated on the 19th, with additional annotations during each recording session.

I finished recording in the nick of time. After the last talk break, the landscaping crew for the two houses directly behind my bedroom began running their leaf blowers.

I had to work in “Working Girl March” by Dave Grusin from the Tootsie soundtrack, which I bought immediately after watching the film on Netflix a week before recording. The version on the soundtrack is not the cue used in the film.

The show intro was one of three talk breaks I scripted out in Notepad. Each had a lot of information to share and I didn’t want to get stuck.

The ends of the talk-ups for “Cruisin'” by Larry Carlton and “Hacienda” by the Jeff Lorber Fusion had to be remixed and precisely spliced over the original mixes. The first talk-up had a glitch between “not” and “Grusin.” The second required me to raise the gain on “this time” because it was too low to hear as I raised the music levels.

I didn’t mention it on the air, but the notes at the end of Larry’s solo on “Cruisin'” always remind me of the pause sound in Konami games for the NES:

Now, here’s the pause sound mixed with the end of the solo:

I noted that Jean-Luc Ponty performed “Tender Memories” on David Sanborn‘s Night Music around the time Storytelling was released. Here is that performance:

Click here to download the show 25 aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 9/2/20 September 3, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Film, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Video.
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The September 2, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded two segments per day from August 5 to 7.

The playlist was created and annotated on August 4 with additional annotations during the recording sessions.

I had It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World on my mind as I played Gerald Albright‘s cover of “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by James Brown. I had seen the film on Amazon Prime Video earlier in the week. I didn’t like it as much I thought I would. I was hoping for a happier ending. I eventually came to accept the way the film ended and appreciate the its historical significance.

The horn section in Bob James‘s interpretation of “We’re All Alone” by Boz Scaggs was too numerous to mention in my back-sell, but you can read the list here.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 6/24/20 June 25, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, TV.
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The June 24, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded on the afternoon of May 26 with rerecording on June 5.

Work on the playlist began on May 19 with annotations on the 24th and during the recording session on the 26th.

I was proud to incorporate Dave Pike and Randy Waldman into the show.

I bought Dave’s Jazz for the Jet Set after listening to “Sweet ‘Tater Pie” on Spotify. I was first exposed to the song after hearing WABC-AM DJ Dan Ingram play it on his WABC-FM (later, WPLJ) show in 1967. The jazz and blues show differed greatly from the top 40 he played the AM side. The aircheck I heard can be found on the Musicradio 77 website.

As for Randy Waldman, my musician friend Nelson Rangell recommended Superheroes to me during a phone conversation the night before I bought it and Dave Pike’s album. The first song I was drawn to was the “Mighty Mouse Theme.” It made me think of a routine in Andy Kaufman’s stand-up act. As Foreign Man, he would stand next to a record player while the theme played on an LP. He would stand perfectly still until the line “here I come to save the day!,” which he would lip-sync while heroically moving his arm.

Speaking of stand-up acts, I unknowingly channeled comedian Timmie Rogers both times I said the title of Brian Hughes‘ song “Oh Yeah!” That was Rogers’s catchphrase, exemplified in this 1960s performance:

I have a feeling I’m the only DJ in North America to play Anders Enger Jensen on the radio. His music is all over YouTube – on channels like The 8-Bit Guy, Techmoan, Technology Connections, and of course, his own channel – but it needs the terrestrial treatment, and I provided it.

The end of the first hour’s second segment and all of the third had to be rerecorded on the morning of June 5. After referencing Norman Brown‘s “Something Just for You,” on the same album as “It’s a Feelin’,” my segue to the tease should have been “A Song Just for Bilbao,” but I inverted “just” and “for” and didn’t notice the mistake until a day after recording. Since it wasn’t a factual error or repeated phrase (i.e. “but first”), I initially chose not to rerecord. A week after recording, I realized I neglected to acknowledge Dave Holland, the bassist on Michael Brecker‘s cover of “Song for Bilbao.” Since there was music playing under both omissions, I had to redo the entire segment. After that, I fixed my flub at the end of the previous segment.

Unfortunately, as I feared, the redone segments were not added to automation. So, listeners heard the original “for just” and Dave Holland-less segments. The lesson here is to thoroughly check your recordings before submitting them.

Click here to download this show’s aircheck MP3, which I modified to include the corrections, or listen below:

Audiobooking 5 April 1, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Audio, Audiobooks, Comedy, Commentary, Film, History, Media, Military, News, Personal, Politics, TV, Video.
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In light of my practically apolitical audiobook streak since I impulsively quit the “Audiobooking” series, save for the right end of the spectrum, I chose to bring it back. Here’s what I’ve been listening to while exercising since September 2018:

2018 humbled me with the unexpected political turns in the memoirs I listened to, not to mention Kevin Hart’s endless tangents. It taught me to choose the audiobooks I buy carefully. If the author is politically active from the left on social media, chances are it will come up in their book. Eric Idle was the last mistake in that respect, which is why I haven’t bought John Cleese’s memoir. Thankfully, Neil Ross only had one political sentence in his book: deriding right-to-work states. I wonder what Goldie Hawn’s memoir, released in 2005, would have been like if it came out today. Never Play Dead and The United States of Trump weren’t exactly choir music, either. The books reminded me of the political stories I missed while avoiding current events. Nevertheless, they were worth listening to, as were the rest of the audiobooks listed above.

Whenever Andrea Barber mentioned her son Tate in Full Circle, I thought of a running gag on the Game Sack YouTube channel involving TATE Mode, the vertical screen orientation for arcade games. It’s generally pronounced “tah-tay,” but host Joe Redifer pronounces it phonetically, an acceptable alternate pronunciation. Whenever a game is featured with TATE Mode, he’ll get facetiously hyperbolic.

I have three more audiobooks to listen to in my Audible app after I finish Full Circle, and you’ll see what those were in the next “Audiobooking” post. Until then, happy listening.

Rob Paulsen with Michael Fleeman, Voice Lessons November 7, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Audiobooks, Books, Comedy, Health, Media, Music, Personal, TV, Video.
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Posing with Rob Paulsen (right) and Michael Fleeman (left) after they discussed Voice Lessons at Strand Bookstore

Four weeks ago today, I attended a discussion and signing at Strand Bookstore for voice actor Rob Paulsen‘s memoir (with Michael Fleeman), Voice Lessons: How a Couple of Ninja Turtles, Pinky, and an Animaniac Saved My Life. Two weeks passed before I began simultaneously reading the book and listening to the “read by the author” audiobook.

On the afternoon of October 24, I read the front and back covers, Rob and Mike’s signatures, and the “Praise for Voice Lessons.” Then, I opened the Audible app on my iPhone and began the simulcast. I read and listened to the dedication, foreword (written and read by Rob’s son Ash), introduction, and the first chapter. I took care of the rest of the book, including photos and the “about the authors” page, over nine of the next thirteen days. It was a quite a literary journey.

Voice Lessons recalls key moments in Rob Paulsen’s life and career, including growing up in Michigan, leading a cover band, moving to California to pursue acting, his biggest roles, and winning an Emmy Award.

The last 40% of the memoir covers the harrowing journey through Rob’s throat cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. I felt like I was there and I sympathized. I cheered inside as his recovery progressed. I remember listening to the first Talkin’ Toons podcast Rob did after his recovery, which he cited in the last chapter. His lead sentence even served as the chapter title: “faith, kindness, passion, humor…and Cheez-Its.”

There is also a heartwarming story about Chad Gozzola, a Duchenne muscular dystrophy patient whom Rob first met at a charity hockey game in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and remained in touch with – along with his family – over the rest of his life.

The book concludes with the return of Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, which will premiere next year on Hulu. Rob also announced that at the book discussion.

This humble review only scratches the surface. Voice Lessons is about 200 pages long and worth reading. The audiobook is seven hours and seven minutes long and worth listening to. I recommend both at the same time, although you’ll occasionally notice differences in phrasing.

I’ll leave you with a photo of my copy and my log:

I kept in Strand’s Post-It note, indicating I’m in signing group 1, as a reminder of my experience last month. As for the log, I tracked the content I read and how many pages it was. For example:

11/1/19: Chapter 7 (27)

Rob Paulsen at Strand Bookstore October 13, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Audiobooks, Books, Comedy, Health, Internet, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, TV, Weather.
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I traveled to the borough of Manhattan for the second Thursday in a row. This time, my destination was the Strand Bookstore in the East Village to see voice actor Rob Paulsen discuss his new memoir, Voice Lessons: How a Couple of Ninja Turtles, Pinky, and an Animaniac Saved My Life. He was joined by his co-author Michael Fleeman, and later by Randy Rogel, the brilliant mind behind many great songs and episodes from Animaniacs and Histeria!, among other credits, and animation writer, including for Batman: The Animated Series, which I began watching on the DC Universe app and website on September 27 and will complete today.

The trip to Strand Bookstore marked my first time on the east side of Greenwich Village after a few years traveling to the West Village for performances at Blue Note. My most recent trip there was for John Scofield’s Combo 66 last November.

A nor’easter had been churning offshore since Wednesday and was supposed to push back west, giving the region rain and wind until Friday or Saturday. I woke up Thursday morning to unexpected sunshine. It turns out the rain wasn’t going to start until the afternoon. I regularly run for exercise, so I took the opportunity to get in 10.4 miles, an outdoor personal best that I would break by .1 miles only two days later.

The sun held out much longer than I thought it would and I was able to walk to the Wantagh LIRR station without needing to take Uber to avoid walking in the rain. I only had to contend with light rain for the last quarter-mile and for ten minutes on the platform. As the train proceeded west toward Penn Station, away from the nor’easter, the skies cleared. The ride was uneventful except for the sight of a Southwest Airlines plane approaching LaGuardia Airport. If only I had my camera out of my backpack.

After arriving at Penn Station, I proceeded up West 34th Street to 6th Avenue, where I went down to 34th Street-Herald Square Station and took the Q train to 14th Street-Union Square Station.

These are the sites I took in as I walked through Union Square and down to Strand:

It was 5:58 when I walked into Strand. Rob’s discussion was on the 3rd floor, the Rare Old Books floor. I walked up the stairs where a few people waited by the door until we were allowed in at 6:30. The line grew over the next half hour, but before long, the door opened and those of us that were on the guest list checked in. We were given a copy of Voice Lessons with a Post-It that had a number written on it. Mine had the number 1, which meant I was in group 1, the first to get books signed by Rob Paulsen and Michael Fleeman.

I sat in the front row, right next to Rob and Mike’s chairs. To my right, a laptop was connected to a TV for slides and a couple of videos that would be shown during the discussion:

Rob and Mike entered the room at 7:09 and the discussion began.

Rob’s brother Mike was in attendance, along with his high school friend, his agent, and a few others. Randy Rogel sat with them until the musical portion of the event. The rest of the attendees were, like me, hardcore Rob Paulsen fans.

Here are select close-ups of Rob Paulsen:

…and Michael Fleeman:

Rob and Mike discussed the structure of the book and went over its highlights.

They also talked about Rob’s signature characters, starting with Raphael from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Donatello from the 2012 series:

Carl Wheezer from The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius:

Yakko Warner on Animaniacs:

Genetically-enhanced lab mouse Pinky of Pinky and the Brain, which began as shorts on Animaniacs and were spun off into their own series:

This portion led to a reading of the book’s introduction: “Pinky Gets Bad News”:

Then, Mike introduced a pair of commercials Rob appeared in:

The first was his first role: a 1979 ad for west coast fast food chain Jack in the Box during their Fring (french fry/onion ring) campaign:

Here is that ad:

The second was the infamous “Aaron Burr” Got Milk? ad where a radio call-in contestant fails to coherently recite the correct answer because he doesn’t have milk to wash down his peanut butter sandwich:

You know the one: “Awwin Buww!” Rob voiced the radio personality, Sean Whalen played the unfortunate caller, and Michael Bay – yes, that one – was the director! Watch:

The discussion inevitably turned to Rob’s throat cancer, which he thankfully survived (knock on wood):

The stage then turned to Randy Rogel:

Referring to the sign behind him, he quipped: “I like how this is ’18 miles of books,’ and now it’s 18 miles and one inch.”

Rob explained how Randy got into showbiz:

Randy talked about when Rob told him he had cancer:

“…but the truth is, the doctor said to Rob, ‘Rob, you have a very rare form of cancer. It’s called The Rob Paulsen Cancer. And he said, ‘why me?!'”

Jokes aside, Rob and Randy were part of Animaniacs LIVE! at Joe’s Pub the night before. Unfortunately, I was unaware of the event and did not attend. For those of us that couldn’t make it, and even for some that did, we were treated to a few songs.

To the Joe’s Pub attendees, “if I had known you were gonna be here tonight, I’d have written a new song”:

Rob replied, “Not too far from the truth.”

The first song was “When You’re Traveling from Nantucket,” from Animaniacs episode 87, which focused on the concept of time:

“… The international date line’s an imaginary cleft. Today is on the right side and tomorrow’s on the left. …”

“… that it was mildly amusing, but then totally confusing, and we bet you wish we hadn’t sung at all!”

Next was a song from Histeria! episode 32, “Writers of the Purple Prose.” Chronicling the works of William Shakespeare, it’s “That’s the Story That’s Told by the Bard”:

It was a duet:

Singing of MacBeth: “… Then he kills others, it’s really quite vicious, Until in the end, he gets stabbed in the duff!”

“No, that’s wrong. By MacDuff.”

The third and final song was Randy’s first: “Yakko’s World“:

“United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Haiti, Jamaica, Peru…”

“… Tunisia, Morocco, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Djibouti, Botswana-aaaaa, …”

“…Crete, Mauritania, then Transylvania, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Malta, and Palestine, Fiji, Australia, Sudan!”

Michael Fleeman returned for Q&A:

Rob and Mike fielded four questions:

And that was it!

“Thank you, guys. Randy! Mike Fleeman!”

With the discussion complete, it was time to sign. While waiting in the group 1, I passed by a Remington Standard 10 typewriter:

I had Andrew, a Strand employee, take a picture of me with Rob and Mike:

Both of them signed my copy, Mike first and Rob second. Thinking ahead, Mike wrote:

To Mike,
What he said
(arrow pointing up)
Mike

Rob signed with a variant on Yakko’s “Helloooo, Nurse!” catchphrase:

Hellooo, Mike!
Rob Paulsen

I told Rob we were friends on Facebook and that I’d met him two years ago at New York Comic Con. He instantly remembered.

I said my goodbyes and went back to my chair, but before I packed up and headed back to Penn Station, I got to meet Randy Rogel:

I told him I loved his music and his Emmy-winning writing work for Batman. He liked that, looking back fondly.

Within ten minutes, I was at 14th Street-Union Square Station and back aboard the Q for 34th Street-Herald Square. Unfortunately, power disruptions on the Broadway corridor delayed the ride. We were stuck on the center track at 23rd Street Station for about five minutes, though it felt longer. At Penn Station, I bought a frozen yogurt to eat on the ride back to Wantagh. Since I missed the 8:56 Babylon branch train, I’d have to wait until 9:31. But as I stood by a timetable waiting for a track number for the 9:31, I noticed there was a 9:13 Babylon train. It didn’t stop at Wantagh, but did stop one hamlet west in Bellmore. So, I took that and was picked up in Bellmore. The forecast of rain didn’t pan out. That light rain I encountered earlier in the day was the extent of it. Once I was home, I unpacked and went to sleep.

It was a great night at Strand, and a pleasure to see Rob Paulsen again, and meet Michael Fleeman and Randy Rogel for the first time. In the days ahead, I will read Voice Lessons and simultaneously listen to the “read by the author” audiobook. I have done this in years. When I finish, I’ll write a review. Until then, thanks for reading this post.

NOTE: Strand recorded the event to add to their YouTube channel. Once added, I will update this post with their video.

10/14 UPDATE: The video is up. I’m in it, taking and checking pictures, and otherwise listening intently. Watch:

10/22 UPDATE: The day after appearing at Strand, Rob appeared on Fox Business Network anchor Liz Claman‘s eponymous podcast, Everyone Talks to Liz Claman. The episode went up a week later. You can listen to it here.