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2021 LIU Post & WCWP Homecoming Weekend, WCWP’s 60th Anniversary October 19, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Aviation, Football, Health, History, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Radio, Rock, Sports, Technology, Travel, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Other recaps: 20082009WCWP 50th Anniversary (2011)20122013201420152016, 2017, 2018, 2019

After a year away, Homecoming Weekend was back in full force! And WCWP’s 60th anniversary on Monday made it a four-day weekend!

It was my first time back on the campus of LIU Post since October 28, 2019 – a week after the last Homecoming – with Ryan Grabow.

On Thursday, October 14, I charged up my camcorder and changed batteries in the shotgun mic and audio recorder. I also charged up my GoPro Hero 7 for multi camera production, but didn’t use it.

Friday, October 15

I left for LIU Post via Uber at 10:30. Upon arrival, I gave my COVID-19 self-check form – which I filled out before I left – to the gate attendant. Then, I was driven down to WCWP in the Abrams Communication Center. I immediately went to work as Art Beltrone and Hank Neimark pre-recorded an interview in studio 1 for Monday’s 60th anniversary broadcast. The guest and recorder was Samantha “Sami J” Negron.

Here is the interview:

After that, I moved my equipment into studio 2 to record part of Art Beltrone’s solo show, WCWP’s Early Years, which kicked off the 60-hour (hey, 60 hours + 60 years!) Homecoming Weekend programming block. Jeff Kroll was the board operator and his wife Pat was producer.

Hank Neimark was Art’s first guest:

Jay Elzweig introduced the songs, all from 1961, the year WCWP signed on:

Several WCWP alumni were interviewed via Zoom:

Two of the Zoom guests were Stewart Ain…:

…and Steve Radoff:

Another show feature had Art reading Post Pioneer newspaper articles. This one was “Message to the Students from the Provost”:

Jay showed off his t-shirt:

The show closed with a preview of 4:00’s Strictly Jazz with John LiBretto and Hank Neimark:

Art also asked Jeff and Pat Kroll their thoughts:

After Art’s closing remarks, the show was over.

Here’s video of portions of WCWP’s Early Years:

Joan Yonke, LIU Post Campus Director of Employer and Alumni Engagement, dropped by the station during Early Years and came back again afterward. It’s always nice to see her.

While the pre-recorded WCWP Career Paths with Bill Mozer ran, I took some photos in the lounge area:

Here’s Homecoming Weekend coordinator Zach’s dog Diesel:

Strictly Jazz started a few minutes after 4PM due to technical difficulties, but ran without a hitch after that.

As you saw, Jeff Kroll ran the board again.

Joining John LiBretto…:

…and Hank Neimark…:

…was Rita Sands, appearing by phone.

They spoke to Jon Korkes via Zoom (after John held Jeff’s “un-mute” message up to the webcam):

They spoke to me in studio 2:

And after my dad picked up to drive me home, Ted David on Zoom:

Here is my video of the first hour:

And the scope of the entire show, just as in 2019 when it aired before mine:

10/20 UPDATE: John Zoni took over studio 2 at 6PM:

Sami J was on at 8PM with Total Access:

My friend and ardent supporter Jay Mirabile had a special edition of his DFK Show at 10PM. Here’s a photo he posted with Sami and Peter Sacoulas:

And his aircheck:

Saturday, October 16

I spent much of the morning editing media and drafting this blog post. I left for Post, this time with my dad, shortly after 1PM.

Both gates were open with no need to check in. So, when we got to campus at 1:30, I photographed the turn into the east gate:

Bernie Bernard and Adam Smook were congregating in studio 3. Adam and I are both from Wantagh – Wantagh Woods, at that! – as we discussed. We also talked about fellow alumnus Frank D’Elia, who worked with Adam at WOR and then WABC.

Jay Elzweig and Jett Lightning came in, as our WABC discussion continued, eventually turning to jingles. Bernie mentioned how JAM Creative Productions recorded a name jingle for her. That jingle has become part of her annual Homecoming Weekend show, which airs after coverage of the football game.

The LIU Sharks‘ Homecoming football game was against the Merrimack Warriors. Merrimack won convincingly 43-5. The Sharks only got a safety and a field goal. I walked toward Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium during the third quarter.

I planespotted to and from Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium, watching planes turn toward JFK. This is Delta flight 169 from BCN (Barcelona El Prat Airport):

JetBlue flight B6192 from ACK (Nantucket Memorial Airport):

Carnival attractions in the parking lot:

“Hoco”? That’s a new one on me.

The stadium entrance:

A play on Bronko Piersall Field:

The scoreboard:

The new press box and stands:

The opposite side:

That’s enough for me. Back to the station.

Emirates flight 201 from DXB (Dubai International Airport):

Jeff Kroll told me he’s been on that flight in the past, all 13 hours of it.

Delta flight 858 from ATL (Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport):

Delta flight 4721 from BNA (Nashville International Airport):

WCWP’s transmitter:

When the game was over, I got to work photographing the postgame show, hosted by John Zoni:

Here is my aircheck of the postgame show, which includes final thoughts from the broadcast booth by Tom Scavetta and Alex Damiris:

Next, the aforementioned Bernie Bernard:

The first page of her playlist:

Jett Lightning was Bernie’s first guest:

Then, me:

Meanwhile, WCWP’s internet station, The Wave, hosted a barbecue outside. Zach was the grillmaster:

Dave asked for a picture:

Seconds later, Qatar Airways flight 701 from DOH (Doha Hamad International Airport) was flying about as low as the earlier Emirates plane:

Jeff’s been on that flight, too. It’s 14 hours long! Nonetheless, he raved about their service.

One last Delta plane: flight 1984 from SAL (San Salvador International Airport):

Back inside, John Zoni and Lew Scharfberg wrapped up the bagels from earlier in the day:

Jay Elzweig was the last of Bernie’s guests that I photographed and video recorded:

In addition to reminiscing, he gave the weather forecast, right up my alley as a fellow weather buff:

The weather Friday and Saturday was warm and a little humid, but a cold front came through Saturday night, leading to seasonably mild and dry conditions Sunday and Monday.

Video of all three segments (my vidcap is the thumbnail):

I chose to leave earlier this year, but there was more to do before I left.

I photographed Art Beltrone’s interview with Nick Mattina and Griffin Ward:

Art:

Nick:

Griffin:

Art’s notes:

A candid shot of Art’s off-air conversation with Lew Scharfberg:

Then, I recorded Art’s interview with me. Here are vidcaps:

…and the video itself:

I mentioned Dan Cox’s predecessor as WCWP’s Director of Broadcasting, and Dan himself who has held the position for 19 years and counting, but forgot to acknowledge Joe Manfredi, the Director of Operations when I was a student. He’s my fellow 2021 WCWP Hall of Fame inductee along with Jay Mirabile. Participating on Zoom during the broadcast to remedy my omission voided the chance for this interview to air; no double-dipping.

Finally on Saturday, posed photos, starting with Peter Sacoulas and Sami Jo Negron:

Me with Peter and Sami:

John Zoni:

…and Tom Scavetta:

Art Beltrone, Bobby Guthenberg (a.k.a. Bobby G.), Joel Mahan:

Art, Bobby G., Jerry Reilly, Joel:

I met Joel and Jerry in 2019 and was so glad to see them again this year. Joel was eager to listen to my regular Wednesday night show and Bobby complimented my work.

Jett Lightning and Jay Elzweig:

Bernie Bernard:

Bernie and John Mertz:

A candid shot of Art Beltrone and Alan Seltzer:

…and posed:

And with my dad having arrived in the parking lot, the last photo was me with Bobby and Alan:

Like Art at the end of his interview with me, Bobby thanked me for everything I do. I told him I appreciate that.

It’s an aircheck palooza from here on out, except for any photos I find in the WCWP Alumni Association Facebook group. To that end, here’s a photo of another guest on Bernie’s show: her former student Joe Connelly:

Alan Seltzer and Bobby G., followed by just Alan:

And Bernie’s outro:

Bobby G. and Mike Riccio were next at 7PM. Here is a scope of their first hour:

Again, courtesy of Bernie, it’s Bobby and Jett:

Mike Riccio:

And the four original hosts of The Rock Show: Bobby, Mike, Alan and Bernie:

A partial scope of Alan’s 10PM show, Seltzer with a Twist:

Sunday, October 17

Once again, I spent the morning editing content from the day before and the aircheck of Instrumental Invasion. Full details about the show are in a separate post, but here’s the scoped aircheck:

I airchecked a handful of Sunday’s shows, also of the partial scope variety. Jay LaPrise was on at 8AM with The Why I Work in Television Radio Show:

At noon, “Jammin'” Jamie Mazzo and Sara “Sadie” Dorchak hosted The Ladies of Prison Break Radio. This is a partial scope, but a long one: 49 minutes. The aircheck begins with a trailer-style Homecoming Weekend promo voiced by Zach:

10/20 UPDATE: Next, at 4PM, Joseph P. Honerkamp. You can call him Joe. Here’s a full scope:

There’s also a video:

I made a scoped version with re-synced audio and the end part that the video missed:

Jett Lightning came on at 6PM with Lightning’s Hits and Rarities Reliquary. As you’ll hear, Jay Elzweig – weather forecast in tow – joined Jett later in the show:

Rock ‘N’ Soul Gospel followed at 8PM, hosted by Grandfather Rock Chris MacIntosh. His scope includes a community calendar spot voiced by me and a promo for Monday’s 60th anniversary special voiced by Jeff Kroll:

And as midnight approached, Zach wrapped up the weekend that was:

Monday, October 18

I had yet another morning of editing; in this case, Sunday’s aircheck scopes heard above.

Noon came, and so began the WCWP 60th anniversary broadcast, hosted by Art Beltrone and Hank Neimark, board operated by Jeff Kroll, and produced by Pat Kroll; same as Friday.

My initial plan was to listen to the stream, but as noted earlier, I joined in on Zoom. Here are some screencaps:

Show timeline:

  • Introduction with sign-on audio
  • Dr. Jennifer Holmes, Dean of Arts, Communications, and Design; and Michael Berthel, Chief of Staff and Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Hank counts down to 12:15, pops champagne, cuts cake
  • Dr. Kimberly Cline, LIU President
  • Jeff Kroll
  • Dan Cox, WCWP Director of Broadcasting, reads citation from Nassau County Executive Laura Curran
  • Hank Neimark
  • Bruce Mahler (via Zoom)
  • Jon Cole (via Zoom)
  • John Commins (via Zoom)
  • Joel Feltman (via Zoom)
  • Diane Taylor (via Zoom)
  • Stewart Ain (via Zoom)
  • Joe Honerkamp (via Zoom)
  • John LiBretto (via Zoom)
  • Jon Korkes (via Zoom)
  • Rita Sands (on the phone)
  • Bernie Bernard (recorded Saturday)
  • Jeff asks Art and Hank to share their recollections
  • Harry Lowenthal (via Zoom)
  • Mike Chimeri (via Zoom)
  • Bobby Guthenberg (via Zoom)
  • Zach Parker
  • West Side Story opened in theaters the same day WCWP signed on
  • Alan Seltzer (via Zoom)
  • Ted David (recorded via Zoom)
  • Jeff’s recollections, John Commins and Mike Chimeri’s interjections
  • Aleen “Junie” Thomas (via Zoom)
  • Dr. William Martinov, LIU Director of Athletics (recorded Saturday)
  • Andrew Scarpaci (recorded Saturday)
  • Art and Hank re-read citation
  • Pat Kroll
  • Joe Honerkamp and Stewart Ain share stories about Mrs. Abrams
  • Lew Scharfberg (via Zoom)
  • Bruce Leonard (via Zoom)
  • Fred Gaudelli (via Zoom)
  • Bill Mozer (on the phone)
  • Jon Cole, Mike Chimeri, Fred Gaudelli, Joel Feltman speak to Bill
  • Elise Person (recorded on the phone)
  • End

The show was 2 1/2 hours, but I’m posting audio in three parts. Here’s part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

And my pre-record-voiding appearance:

Pat Kroll also took several photos, starting with the cake:

Art with the cake:

Hank, Jeff, Art:

Hank cutting the cake:

Dr. Cline:

Dan Cox reads County Executive Curran’s citation:

The citation:

Thank you very much for reading, viewing, and hearing all the way to the end. To repeat myself, I greatly appreciate the support I get for the work I do. This was a labor of love and friendship.

60 cheers to WCWP! See you next year.

My experience at Day 1 of 2021 New York Comic Con October 9, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Art, Audio, Audiobooks, DVD, Health, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Technology, Trains, Travel, TV, Video, War, Wrestling.
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Other New York Comic Con recaps: 2012 Day 22014 Day 1, 2017 Day 1, 2018 Day 1, 2019 Day 1

I returned to the Javits Center on Thursday for the first day of this year’s New York Comic Con, my sixth time at the event. It was also the first time I set foot in Manhattan since a failed trip to Lisa Hilton’s performance at Carnegie Hall, nearly two years ago.

The days and weeks leading up to my trip were filled with trepidation. I felt anxious about what to expect. Would there be a capacity limit? Would I get scolded by staff or security? Did I waste my money on a badge? Why did William Shatner have to go to space, leading his events to be moved to the evening?

The day turned out to be as exciting as it was my last time at NYCC in 2019.

Under the assumption that I’d be meeting Shatner, I tweeted him about my concerns:

Been going back/forth on replying, but here goes: I have Asperger Syndrome, & I’m going to day 1 of NY Comic Con on Oct 7. I’m worried about what to expect, including photo op w/you that I bought. I’m hoping staff are nice, not angry/scolding. Will wear mask, of course.

Mike Chimeri

He replied encouragingly. I was hoping to link to that reply, but it seems to have been taken down.

Regardless, that led to many more replies from fellow fans. One fan in the UK made this suggestion:

Hi Mike, not sure if you have the same in the States, but in the UK we have a scheme where people wear a lanyard with sunflowers on, this signifies that the person wearing the lanyard may perceive life differently and to be a bit more understanding around them.

Mark ELVIS Goddard, @GBsBestElvis

He followed that up with…:

They are just a subtle way to let people know to be kind I work in the tourist industry & if a customer is wearing one we automatically know 2b kind & maybe a bit calmer around them, but they don’t have that awkward conversation of explaining why they don’t do lifts for example!

Mark ELVIS Goddard, @GBsBestElvis

So, I paid about $8 for a set of artificial sunflower heads. They shed like dog fur, but I proudly put one in my ticket holder above my badge.

My day began like any other Thursday since last April, in the days when the Javits Center was a field hospital for COVID patients: edit Wednesday’s Instrumental Invasion aircheck, make a scoped version for my blog, publish the blog post, and share the post on social media. That left me about 45 minutes to eat breakfast (a bowl of cereal), shower, and get dressed and packed.

An Uber driver picked me up around 9:00, dropping me off at Wantagh LIRR station within ten minutes. Once there, I bought my ticket and walked to my usual spot on the west end of the platform, above Wantagh Avenue. The train arrived at 9:28:

I was hoping for the new M9 railcar, but it was the old M7. Oh, well.

I listened to much of my aircheck on the platform and then on the train.

Penn Station has changed drastically since last January, as seen in these photos taken on the way back from Javits:

When I arrived at Javits, my Clear app vaccination voucher was scanned, then my badge, and I went through security. It was hassle-free, thankfully. I took the first photo at 10:42, snapping away until I reached the autographing area in hall 1E:

Knowing I’d be meeting Dee Bradley Baker, earlier in the week, I ordered a compilation DVD on Amazon of Phineas and Ferb episodes centered around Perry the Platypus, Dee’s character. Assuming I’d be seeing William Shatner’s panel at 11AM and getting a photo op at 12:10 PM, I bought a 1PM ticket for Dee. Thankfully, it was accepted at 11:00.

As I waited in line, I saw Dee and other celebrity guests assembling behind the curtain. I waved to Dee and he signaled back to me, pointing two fingers at his eyes and then toward me, as if to say “I’m watching you.” That was flattering. When I was next in line, I learned that photos were not allowed at the table; autographs only. I asked the representative if he had a photo op. Yes, at 3:40, an hour and 50 minutes before the rescheduled Shatner photo op would have been. I was fine with that.

Dee and I spoke briefly as he signed the DVD box art:

To Mike!

Dee Baker

Agent P (Perry’s code name in the O.W.C.A. [Organization Without a Cool Acronym])

Dee’s autograph

Then, he graced me with Perry’s signature vocal effect. We said our goodbyes and I proceeded to the sales table to buy my photo op.

It took half an hour because neither my credit nor debit cards worked and I had to withdraw cash from an ATM, then going on the line for cash payments.

I had 3 1/2 hours to spend until it was time to wait in the queue. What to do?

First, I bought lunch at the food court: chicken fingers with waffle fries and a Sprite. I ate as I finished listening to my aircheck. When I went to out my Bose SoundLink wireless headphones away, the ear cushion for the right channel came loose. I had to buy a replacement set from their website.

After that, I proceeded up to the show floor:

What?! Jerry “The King” Lawler and Jim “Good Ol’ J.R.” Ross?!

I was a big pro wrestling fan growing up, along with my sister Lauren and cousins Chris and Sam (Samantha). After another ATM trip, a dream of mine was fulfilled: an autographed photo…:

To Mike!

“King” Jerry Lawler (WWE) HOF 07

Jim Ross

WWE HOF ’07

Jerry and Jim’s autographs

…and a photo op with King and J.R.!:

As you can see, I wore my 2020 U.S. Open shirt, previously seen in my pretend Winged Foot photo.

Before the photo, I told King that I didn’t know he’d be there. True to form, he quipped that he didn’t, either, but found himself and J.R. there anyway, or words to that effect. Don’t quote me. All I know is my comeback was “yeah, that’s how it goes,” meaning that’s what happens. After the photo, I told J.R. how long I’d been a fan and that I really enjoyed his two books, Slobberknocker and Under the Black Hat, which I listened to on Audible. He thanked me. (I synopsized Under the Black Hat in my latest “audiobooking” post.)

I took some more photos on the show floor…:

…then went back to the food court for seltzer (sparkling water) and a cookie. I engaged in conversation with my table mates, then called a few friends, and texted Lauren and Chris with a photo of the photo:

There was still plenty of time, so I sought out room 1E01: the Quiet Room:

As the name suggests, it’s a place where you can silently contemplate. I used my time in the room to charge my phone and draft the post you’re reading now.

My plan to pass the time worked. 3:15 came and I walked to the queue:

I spent the next 20 minutes or so chatting with my fellow queue members, then it was time.

I handed a staff member my ticket, put my belongings on a shelf, and was reunited with Dee. Here is our photo:

I was looking straight ahead, so I didn’t know what expression he made. I love it: Jack Benny-esque.

I said goodbye again, grabbed my belongings, picked up my photo print, and left the Javits Center. I may not have seen and met William Shatner, but I made many lasting memories. I’m so happy with how the day turned out. I will definitely be back.

Incidentally, there are articles on Bill’s 6:45 panel – which I would have seen if it was still at 11AM – on CNN’s website and Mediaite. Mediaite’s article includes a YouTube video of the panel (by Gragon Productions):

I watched on Friday night. It was like I was there in person.

10/13 UPDATE: Bill’s space trip was this morning. I didn’t realize it would only be a few minutes, but those few minutes were literally awesome for him. Watch the Blue Origin webcast replay:

10/14 UPDATE: Then, watch the moment of apogee inside the capsule:

10/17 UPDATE: Blue Origin had one more video up their sleeve: a recap:

Back to October 7.

Here’s my photographic journey back to Penn Station:

I reached Penn at 4:05…:

…and took the 4:12 bound for Wantagh, which was another M7:

When I arrived in Wantagh at 5:02, my mom was waiting to drive me home. As it turns out, the Penn-bound train was an M9:

Back in my room, I took photos of all the day’s belongings:

POSTSCRIPT: While perusing the New York Comic Con site on Friday afternoon, I noticed George Takei, Bill’s Star Trek co-star, was in the Q&A portion of his panel. So, I watched, periodically taking screencaps. In addition to Star Trek, he fielded questions about the animated film Kubo and the Two Strings, the video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, his political activism stemming from internment during World War II (I ached as he told his story), and fond memories of Leonard Nimoy, another Star Trek co-star. One anecdote in particular was about how George saw Leonard perform in the play Equus on Broadway and Leonard returned the favor when George performed in the L.A. production. After the last question, George stood up, thanked the fans in the hall, and gave them Spock’s Vulcan salute. Now, how about those screencaps?

Well, thank you for making it this far. My next task is to chronicle the return of WCWP Homecoming Weekend. Till then, so long.

Instrumental Invasion, 5/19/21 May 20, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Health, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel.
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The May 19 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded entirely on my laptop through an Apogee MiC 96k. The first hour was recorded on April 12, with the second hour recorded on the 13th (one segment) and 14th (two segments). I thought I’d be doing one hour each on the 12th and 14th, but symptoms from the second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine were low enough that I spread out the second hour’s recording.

The playlist was created and mostly annotated on April 10 with further annotations on the 11th and 12th once I acquired the albums three hour two songs appeared on. Expect to hear more from those albums, and two others that I purchased, in the coming weeks. The script was drafted on the 11th.

“Grey Area” by Cindy Bradley had been played before, but I didn’t acknowledge Mike Broening‘s piano solo. I made up for that this time. As you saw in the link, he goes by Michael professionally, and I will address him as such in the future. I’ve called him Mike because I once heard Cindy call him that in an interview.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 2/24/21 February 25, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Audiobooks, Health, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Radio, TV, Video Games.
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The February 24, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days. The first hour was recorded on January 22, the first two segments of the second hour on the 23rd, and the last segment on the 24th.

The playlist was created on January 21 while chasing lost opportunities to buy a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X from GameStop, and then Walmart. I annotated the playlist on the morning of the 22nd and drafted the script for each segment of the first hour as I recorded. I scripted the second hour’s talk breaks on the 23rd while digitizing a book on tape: How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere: The Secrets of Good Communication by Larry King with Bill Gilbert. Larry, who was one of my broadcasting heroes, succumbed to COVID-19 that morning and I wanted to revisit the audiobook that got me through the latter half of 11th grade.

For the second week in a row, I had to pad out the last talk break of hour 1, then did it for both talk breaks in the last segment of the show.

I played “Serious Business” by Jazz Funk Soul in an effort to give airplay to their first two albums: Jazz Funk Soul and More Serious Business. I had previously only played tracks from their latest, Life and Times.

As with the last segment of last week’s show, the first segment of hour 2 this week was remixed to incorporate a new liner from guitarist Nick Colionne. The talk break coming out of his song, “Nite Train,” was rerecorded to compliment a vintage WCWP liner, and the end of that break was rerecorded following news of Chick Corea’s passing.

I ended the show with “Revelation” by Yellowjackets and WDR Big Band to make up for the last ten seconds getting cut off back on December 9.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

As a bonus, here’s a blooper from the first segment:

Instrumental Invasion, 12/30/20 December 31, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Football, Health, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel, TV.
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The December 30, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days. The first segment was recorded on November 25, the next two on the 26th (Thanksgiving), and the second hour on the 27th (Black Friday). A pickup for the first segment of hour 2 was recorded on the 29th and the segment was re-edited. All segments were truncated from 18:45 to 18:40 on December 10.

The playlist was created and annotated on November 23.

The show was a scaled-down version of the 40-year musical journey special I had in mind for Homecoming Weekend, had there been one. Obviously, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Homecoming itself was canceled, along with the LIU Sharks football season, if not merely postponed to spring. There were plans to have an abbreviated virtual Homecoming programming block, but those were scrapped in September. (Click here to wistfully read about the 2019 Homecoming Weekend.)

Had the weekend gone on and my proposed special aired, the playlist would have looked like this. As you can see, most of what I had in mind ended up in the December 30 show. “Snake Eyes” by Grover Washington, Jr. was put in the November 11 show, and I played “Born to Be Bad” by Joe Sample on December 2. Like “Snake Eyes,” “Message to Michael” by Earl Klugh and “Strikes Twice” by Larry Carlton were included to make up for an unaired segment in the April 8 show. The inclusion of “Silverbird” by Jeff Jarvis and “Cruisin’ Down Ocean Drive” by The Rippingtons made up for the July 8 show‘s unaired segment.

My talk-up for “Going All the Way” by Nelson Rangell was inspired by Chris Berman‘s catchphrase “(and) he could…go…all…the…way!,” which he used when narrating NFL highlights on ESPN.

“That ending sneaks up on you,” my line coming out of “Aniversário” by Fourplay, was recycled from my live 2016 Homecoming show.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

I’m happy and thankful for the opportunity I was given in 2020 with Instrumental Invasion. Here’s hoping 2021 is happier and healthier for all of us.

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 since this 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.)

1/11/21 UPDATE: The 2022 PGA has been pulled from Trump National Bedminster due to the riot at the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday by some of the outgoing president’s supporters. An alternate venue has not been chosen yet. I hope it’s one in the New York metro area as Bedminster would have been.

2/4/21 UPDATE: The PGA announced their replacement last week, which I didn’t find out until this morning. It’s far removed from the New York metro area: Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They were originally scheduled to host the PGA in 2030, which means a new venue will have to be picked for then. The next major in the New York metro area will be the 2026 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

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

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.

February 9 blizzard pictures February 10, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Health, Personal, Photography, Video, Weather.
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This is my 400th post!

After the January 7 snowstorm, I was prepared for a bombardment of similar storms, or even blizzards. But outside of light snow the following Saturday and last Tuesday, the rest of January was relatively quiet. The only heavy precipitation to affect Wantagh was rain. There was the potential for a snowstorm on Super Bowl Sunday, but it never materialized. Relieved, I let my guard down. Last Friday, I told my friend Rob that I didn’t expect anymore big storms the rest of the season.

I was wrong.

On Monday, I learned that there was another storm on the horizon, and this one would not miss us. And as usual, the forecast for yesterday’s storm, ironically on the heels of unseasonably warm conditions on Wednesday, worsened as it approached. 6 inches of snow was the max in Monday’s forecast, rising to 10 inches, and then 14. Also, the winter storm warning was upgraded to a blizzard warning because the wind forecast increased. (Coincidentally, there was a blizzard four years ago yesterday.)

As snow fell yesterday, I went about my daily routine inside, including running on the treadmill for the first time in two years. At around 12:30, it seemed like the snow was about to end, but the radar filled up with more snow while I was on the treadmill. Snow didn’t end until around 4:00. 20 minutes later, my sister Lauren and I shoveled the driveway.

I brought an 18-inch ruler outside with me to measure snow in the middle of the driveway. I was surprised to only measure 8 inches of snow. Assuming that wasn’t the resulting of drifting, we were lucky. Nearby North Massapequa received a foot. Shoveling took about an hour. Thank you, Lauren, for your help.

This brings us to a photographic timeline that begins early in the blizzard and ends after shoveling:

8:28 AM:
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10:19 AM:
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12:12 PM:
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2:03 PM:
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4:02 PM:
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5:47 PM, after over an hour of shoveling:
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5:57 PM:
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And here’s a video timeline:

Light snow with less than an inch of accumulation is forecast for tonight and rain is expected on Sunday. High temperatures will be above freezing every day for the next week. That should speed up the melting process.

I’ve learned my lesson: I’m not declaring in the middle of the season that we’ve had our last snow of the season. In fact, I expect at least two more snowstorms before spring. After they strike, I’ll post about them here.

10 years of weight loss and maintenance January 2, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Food, Health, Personal.
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The mid-2000s were an unhealthy period of my life. I repeatedly indulged in desserts and dinners. I went from normal weight to overweight to obese. I surpassed 200 pounds late in 2004 and climbed all the way to 233.4 when I stepped on the scale on the morning of January 2, 2007, ten years ago today. By then, even my size 42 pants were too small. Enough was enough. I vowed to go on a diet. My goal was 160 pounds.

This diet required a lot of discipline, going for long periods between meals, and limiting myself to under 2,000 calories. I had a little over 2,000 calories on January 2, but the days that followed saw my daily calories drop to 1,600. A typical day began at noon with an Atkins bar, which was 240 calories at the time. A few hours later, I would eat a can of Progresso soup, either Hearty Chicken and Rotini or Homestyle Chicken. At the time, both were 200 calories. An hour or two after that, I ate two cups of Ronzoni Ziti Rigati with 1/2 cup of Ragu Traditional or Meat Sauce and four teaspoons of Kraft Parmesan Cheese. For dessert, which came after another hour or two, I ate three 100 calorie packs of Pringles or Sun Chips. Eventually, those would be phased out in favor of either Special K vanilla or chocolate bars that were 90 calories each, and then Quaker Chewy Granola Bars that were 100 calories each.

Besides eating, I also made an effort to walk daily with the aid of a step counter that I attached to my belt. In my hour-long walks, I averaged around 6,000 steps.

While on my diet, I skipped Easter and Passover dinners, adhering to my routine. When I was in Florida in March to see the PGA Tour’s PODS Championship (now, the Valspar Championship) at Innisbrook Resort, where my grandparents lived, I stuck to my eating routine. My grandpa Carmen was nice enough to buy the foods that I ate daily for the four days I was down there. A few days before the trip, I fell below 200 pounds. By March 30, I broke 190. On April 27, I broke 180. I was below 170 on May 18.

I reached my goal of 160 pounds on June 16, and my body fat was below 20%, but I was not ready to stop. I continued my diet, falling below 150 pounds on July 24 and breaking 140 on September 7. I had lost 93 pounds in eight months!

I added calories to my daily intake, remaining below 2,000 per day until October 10.

In the following months, my weight hovered in the mid-to-upper 130s. My lowest weight was 134 on April 25, 2008, a day which also saw my lowest body fat: 11.7%. My body fat would hover within 12% (varying tenths of a point), occasionally breaking 13%.

Throughout my diet, I took selfies, though not in the common way, to document my progress. Here are those selfies, all from 2007:

January 30: 215.2 lbs.:
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February 19: 205.6 lbs.:
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March 5: 199.8 lbs.:
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March 30: 189.2 lbs.:
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April 20: 180.8 lbs.:
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May 9: 173.6 lbs.:
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May 29: 165 lbs.:
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June 16: 160 lbs.:
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July 3: 155.6 lbs.:
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July 16: 152 lbs.:
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August 3: 147.6 lbs.:
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August 26: 142 lbs.:
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October 1: 137.4 lbs.:
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October 28: 135.8 lbs.:
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I was still able to maintain my weight for the first half of 2009, but my body fat was regularly within 13% by this time.

Unfortunately, the second half of 2009 marked the beginning of my regain. At first, I was able to keep my weight in the low 140s, occasionally reaching the upper 130s. But by the summer of 2010, I was averaging mid-to-upper 140s. By late 2011, I was averaging the low-to-mid 150s.

After Hurricane Sandy, I had reached the upper 160s to low 170s, where I remained until August 27, 2013. That day, I weighed 173.2 pounds and vowed to begin a new diet. The weight loss was slow at first, but I was down 12 pounds on December 23. Unfortunately, Christmastime dinners and desserts followed. Eventually, I was able to find an under-2,000-calorie routine and stick with it most of the time. There were days where I faltered, but not many. I had broken 160 pounds a few times between January and March 2014, but always came back above 160. That changed after March 16. I have not been 160 or above since. I haven’t been 150 or above since June 29, 2014. I fell through the 140s thereafter. I went below 140 pounds several days between September and December, but no lower than 138.8 on two days in October. I otherwise hovered in the low 140s, except for two days after Thanksgiving when I topped out at 146.

I remained below 140 pounds between June 2015 and January 2016, even breaking 130 several times in October and November. After peaking at 144 pounds in early June 2016, I fell back below 140 by mid-June. I was able to hover in the low 130s starting in mid-July, with body fat staying within 11%, but Christmastime eating has put me in the mid-130s and increased my body fat to around 13%. That’s where I stand as of this post.

What helped me lose my weight the second time around time was running, rather than walking the first time, with the help of the Nike+ Running (now Nike+ Run Club) app on my iPhone. Between May 2013 and May 2015, I opted to run and walk. But then, I challenged myself to only run. If I needed to rest, I would stop, and the app would pause. My early runs were around three miles, then four, then five. Nowadays, I’ll run up around 7 1/2 miles, running above eight miles on a few occasions. My average pace has gone from around 15 minutes a mile, when I started, to between 7:30 and 8 minutes per mile today. From spring to fall, I ran outdoors, but I opted for the treadmill in the winter. So far this winter, I’ve continued to run outdoors. In April 2016, I began stretching before each run, something I should have done all along. I seldom experience stiffness thanks to those stretches. Friends say I should run in a 5K, 10K, or higher, but for now, I feel more comfortable running on my own, setting and achieving goals. In the early days, my goal was 80 miles a month. These days, I like to run at least 100 miles a month. It’s even more satisfying when I reach 130 or 140 miles. My first month above 130 miles was September 2015. In September 2016, I broke 140 miles. And just last month, I broke 150 miles. That’s high enough for me; I don’t want to overdo it.

Since August, my eating routine consists of a protein bar, almonds, Progresso soup, pasta, and six graham crackers. That’s around 2,000 calories. There are days when I’ll break that routine, which I hope will be few and far between in the months ahead.

If your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, I wish you luck. Thanks for reading. I’ll leave you with a second diet before picture from August 2013 at Planting Fields Arboretum…
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…and an after picture from October 2016 during my live WCWP Homecoming Weekend radio show:
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