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Instrumental Invasion, 9/7/22: Dan Ingram Tribute September 8, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Game Shows, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Pop, Radio, Rock, TV.
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The September 7 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was a tribute to the late New York radio personality Dan Ingram on what would have been his 88th birthday. The tribute came 18 years after I played my re-creation of his closing theme edit of “Tri-Fi Drums” by Billy May and His Orchestra (from Wild Stereo Drums) to close The Instrumental Invasion that aired on Dan’s 70th. This tribute covered most of the show. The theme was songs that start with a letter in any of the call letters of stations Dan worked for. Talk breaks were supplemented by edits of jingles, led by my mashup of a WCWP jingle with the bell at the end of the WABC Chime Time jingle:

As I said on the air, thanks to Allan Sniffen and Jon Wolfert for their inspiration. I absorbed Big Dan’s lore from repeatedly listening to archives of The Life and Times of Dan Ingram: In His Own Words that Allan produced for Rewound Radio, and Jon’s The History of Musicradio WABC Jingles, also for Rewound Radio.

The show playlist was created on July 5 and annotated on the 6th, followed by the talk break script draft that carried into the 7th.

Unlike previous weeks, the show was mostly recorded sequentially, two segments per day from July 8 to 10. I recorded the last segment before recording the fifth because I anticipated going over or cutting it close. Instead, I was 14 seconds short, increasing my surplus to 22 seconds. The fifth segment dropped the surplus to 12 seconds. In the process of recording pickups on the 10th, with 12 seconds left to make up, I remixed the second and fourth segments that I painstakingly tweaked to run exactly 18 minutes during initial recording. The third talk break of the second segment was originally speed compressed and I cut my quip about most Love Connection contestants going home solo (a false memory, as the linked entry reminds me) – playing off the name of Julian Vaughn‘s album with “Love Connection” on it. I redid the entire talk break at regular speed with the quip included. Thus, that segment went 8 seconds over and the fourth went 4 over, completing the 18-minute average I strive for.

Speaking of “love,” “jeg elsker deg” (pronounced “yale skaday”) means “I love you” in Norwegian and the “I love you” vocal in Nick Colionne‘s cover of “Hurry Up This Way Again” (on Arrival) allowed me to reference Dan Ingram’s on-air affirmation while married to Norway native Anita Strand.

Enough talk. Click here to download the (tele)scoped aircheck MP3 or listen below:

This was my first aircheck (mostly) recorded from a new computer. More about that in an upcoming post.

Bonus material:

2022 Long Island Retro Gaming Expo recap August 21, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Aviation, Books, Education, History, Internet, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Podcast, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Previous LI Retro recaps: 2017 (Sunday), 2018, 2019
Spinoff recaps: UPLINK (2020), Festival of Games (2021)

Part 1: Introduction

The Long Island Retro Gaming Expo‘s long-awaited return came on Friday, August 12, after a three-year COVID-caused absence. Yes, the expo was expanded to three days starting this year, running from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. The venue was the same as always: the Cradle of Aviation Museum, situated along Museum Row in East Garden City on the former site of Mitchel Air Force Base.

The purported 2020 edition of LI Retro was announced in February of that year. I immediately bought a weekend pass (still just two days). Little did anyone know that the faraway disease then referred to as the Coronavirus would reach the United States a few weeks later. As COVID-19 spread and a pandemic grew, venues shut down and events were either canceled or postponed. LI Retro’s postponement came that May. 2020 tickets would be honored in ’21. UPLINK, a virtual expo, was scheduled in its place on August 8 and 9. Of course, I attended and wrote a recap.

Even as vaccines were rolled out going into 2021, the organizers felt it was too soon to resume. Thus, they postponed again to ’22; and again, tickets for the postponed years would be honored. Another edition of UPLINK was held virtually in February. I attended, but was overwhelmed by the amount of transcribing and note-taking I’d have to do for the panels I planned on watching. So, I abandoned the recap in favor of continued radio show production.

Last December, LI Retro held its first annual one-day Festival of Games. I was in and out within two hours after a photographic walking tour (similar to the one you’ll see later in this post), arcade game sampling, and buying games from vendors. There was a recap for that.

As August drew closer, a third day of LI Retro was introduced. I considered attending, but opted to stick to the weekend.

With a week to go, I feared I’d compulsively take too many photos, a habit that’s gotten out of hand (i.e. Memorial Day boat ride, June 18 Mets game). I only took 353 photos at another Mets game on August 10, but sure enough, I went overboard at LI Retro. To that end, this is the first post with photo galleries.

The bulk of my photos were shot with my DSLR, but I took supplemental photos with my iPhone.

I arrived at the Cradle of Aviation Museum at 10:06 AM on Saturday:

Within 15 minutes, I was inside. I walked to the box office and handed my ticket to the attendant in exchange for a badge. “Finally,” I told her, “after 2 1/2 years, I get to use this [ticket].” She handed me my badge and my adventure began.

Part 2: Panels

My first panel – after meeting and greeting, and photographing the vendor rooms, was by Brett Weiss. “I Survived the Video Game Crash of 1983” began at 11AM in Panel Room 2. I joined it in progress, grabbing a front row seat, but oddly holding back on photos.

Brett talked about his experiences with arcade games and home video game consoles from the second generation into the third, and how the rise of home computers played a role in the 1983 crash.

During the Q&A session at the end, I relayed (but didn’t ask, so I apologized) my video game experience growing up. I was a home (and school) computer guy, fluent with Apple II, and my sister and I received an NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) in February 1990, as the third home video game console generation gave way to the fourth.

The book in the last photo is the one I bought from Brett afterward.

After snacking on a protein bar, I entered the Main Theatre for Pat Contri and Ian Ferguson’s 12:30 PM panel. I spoke to Pat and Ian during my meet and greet session two hours earlier, reminding them that I met them in 2019 and immersed myself in content from Pat’s YouTube channel after buying (at their merchandise table) the four DVD sets of Pat the NES Punk and the book Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library. I subsequently bought the SNES guide. I wrote reviews of each – NES, SNES. (And you can buy the DVDs and books here.) This year, I bought two stickers and a CU Podcast (Completely Unnecessary Podcast) t-shirt. It was the last large size they had. I said I’d probably get along swimmingly with Frank, Pat’s older friend from New Jersey who settled in San Diego before Pat and Ian made their respective moves there.

Pat and Ian’s panel was a live portion of their next episode of the CU Podcast. Before it started, and while I settled into my front row seat, the volunteer assigned to the theater asked them to “say something into the microphone” as a mic check. Ian jokingly parroted the request: “say something into the microphone.” I amusingly replied, “I knew you were gonna say that.”

Continuing from prior episodes, Pat and Ian criticzed Tommy Tallarico and his vaporware console that would have been (or could still be?) the Intellivision Amico. On display above them was the console’s leaked “fact book.” There will be audio and video, but first, the photos:

You can hear the panel-turned-podcast-episode here. My portion of the Q&A starts at 1:57:08, but I’ve clipped it here:

The word I used to describe Frank was “luddite.” Yes, I stumbled on the title Ancient Aliens, coming out as “ancient alenins.”

And this is a video excerpt from the panel – shot with the iPhone on the table – that was posted to Pat’s YouTube channel:

I was the voice at 16:44 saying that Sean Astin narrated a video game documentary. I was thinking of Video Games: The Movie, but a comment to the video said the fact sheet was referencing the later docuseries called Playing with Power: The Nintendo Story.

I liked Ian’s quaint pronunciation of wanton, “wonton” instead of “wantin’.”

Video of the Q&A portion:

My questions start at 18:26, “Tommy” starts at 25:13.

Theater guests had to exit on the third floor, so I bode my time by taking photos of the few console freeplay tables there. Then, I snapped pics for most of the second floor exhibits prior to the Axinn Air and Space Museum Hall entrance. I saved that for after the 2PM panel back in the theater.

In that 2PM panel, John Blue Riggs performed a live ROM hack of Super Mario Bros. for the NES, the first game I played in February 1990 via the Duck Hunt combo cart. With the right software, John imported tiles from whatever NES game ROMs the audience requested, and he altered the SMB code to altered the colors and text. Let the editing begin!

I spoke to John during the meet and greet, letting him know that like his son, I am on the autism spectrum, specifically with what used to be called Asperger Syndrome. While at his table, I bought a Sega Genesis ROM hack that put Scott Pilgrim from his titular video game in Streets of Rage 2. We posed for a photo, but when I got home, I was dismayed to find that my DSLR’s lens didn’t focus on us when his tablemate Dave took our photo. They graciously allowed a do-over with my iPhone Sunday morning.

Here is John’s aforementioned vlog of his LI Retro experience:

I’m in the vlog at 13:30, going through my DSLR camera roll before John’s panel. At 19:56, he and Dave ate at Friendly’s in nearby East Meadow. I ate there with my girlfriend Kelly during her visit in April.

After the panel, I photographed what I believed to be nearly every other nook and cranny of the freeplay and tournament areas. John saw much more than I did.

The last item on my Saturday agenda was to buy games from vendors. (See the end of part 4.)

The combination of excitement from earlier in the day and a loud block party somewhere south of my house kept me from relaxing and easing into sleep. I probably slept two to four hours, at best.

I arrived at day three of the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo at around 10:30 AM. I met Justin, Marshall, and Kieran from Cinemassacre/Screenwave Media (and bought Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie), got the second chance photo with Riggs, and hung out at Leonard Herman‘s table. I’ve known Lenny (to his friends and family) since meeting him at the 2018 LI Retro and then reviewing his video game history book, Phoenix IV. In 2019, I met his associate Jeff, and this year, I was honored to meet Patrick Wong and Mark W. Baer, the middle child of Dena and Ralph H. Baer, the inventor of videogames (one word). They’re all nice and friendly, and it was my pleasure buying Ralph’s book Videogames in the Beginning, and Kate Hannigan‘s biographical children’s book, Blips on a Screen. I will definitely read that to Leo F. Giblyn School students next March, another annual tradition of mine.

Lenny and Mark’s panel was at 11:30 AM in Panel Room 2. Again, I sat in the front row. Lenny grew to be like a surrogate son to Ralph, and the brotherly love between he and Mark was on display throughout the panel, especially in the first two pics.

I linked to it in the gallery, but here again is Ralph and Bill Harrison’s 1969 Brown Box demo:

Part 3: Meet and greet photos

Lenny Herman and Mark Baer:

Patrick Wong:

Jeff, in his Pac-Man suit:

Brett Weiss:

Pat Contri and Ian Ferguson:

John Riggs:

The Cinemassacre/Screenwave Media crew, Justin and Marshall:

…and I met Kieran while browsing a vendor’s games:

You’ll see merchandise and games in the pickups portion of this recap.

Part 4: Touring the expo

Musical performance: 88bit (a.k.a. Rob Kovacs):

88bit was featured in John Riggs’s vlog.

The other performers were ConSoul, Retro & Chill, and Super Thrash Bros. (also in John’s vlog).

The line ahead of the cosplay contest, held Saturday at 3:30 PM in the Main Theatre:

High score challenges:

Galaga:

Just Dance 4 (to “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley):

Tournaments:

Game Boy Selfie Station with the Game Boy Camera and Printer:

Console freeplay:

Indie and homebrew games:

Arcade freeplay:

PC freeplay:

Before I left for home on Sunday, I tried out some console and arcade freeplay games, but not PC games. Maybe next year. The console games I played were Joust (Atari 7800), Sonic CD (Sega CD), Donkey Kong Country (Super Nintendo), and Virtua Tennis (Sega Dreamcast). The arcade games I attempted were Space Invaders, Arkanoid, NARC, VS. Hogan’s Alley, Ms. Pac-Man, and Mortal Kombat.

I even gave LJN Video Art a try. It was just as finicky as The Angry Video Game Nerd (James Rolfe) made it out to be.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a TV running the WeatherStar 4000 simulator, a tribute to The Weather Channel local forecasts/Local on the 8s in the 1990s (check TWC Classics for examples):

Vendor Room:

Vendor Room annex (“More Vendors”), also home to meet and greets (and the food court):

When I was finished taking photos on Saturday, I began making the rounds in the vendor room to pickup video games. I vowed not to spend more than $25 on a game, and with one exception, I honored my vow. I successfully haggled when necessary, paying $15 for $17 worth of games, $20 for $23 worth, and $30 for $33 worth. Otherwise, one vendor discounted $7 from my $132 total and another had a two for $10 deal if you bought two $6 games. The only game I bought priced above $25 was the Xbox port of The Simpsons: Hit & Run, which was $35. It was my last purchase before leaving on Saturday. My last two purchases on Sunday were Legacy of the Wizard and Rolling Thunder, both for NES.

I was satisfied with my pickups, which brings us to…

Part 5: Pickups

Saturday pickups:

Merchandise:

Non-merchandise in the photo: Leonard Herman and Brett Weiss business cards, Schiffer Publishing and Classic Home Video Games bookmarks

NES (Nintendo Entertainment System):

Sega Master System:

Super NES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System):

Nintendo 64:

Nintendo GameCube:

Microsoft Xbox:

Nintendo Wii:

I’d wanted The Simpsons: Hit & Run ever since it was lauded in the Game Sack video on Simpsons games. (Click here to start at the relevant portion.) Epic Mickey was on my mind after seeing it on Friday in a 2017 Cygnus Destroyer video on his Top 10 Disney Games. I didn’t think to check the condition of the discs before buying, and was disappointed to see their scuffed appearance on Saturday night. You’ll see below that Epic Mickey 2 was one of my Sunday pickups from a vendor that also had the original game. All discs at his booth were in pristine condition. I lamented my mistake from the day before, chalking it up to a lesson learned. This Nintendo link taught me a positive lesson on Sunday night: how to clean discs. Monday night, I took dampened part of a washcloth and wiped Epic Mickey from left to right, line by line, then did the same with a dry part of the washcloth. The game played flawlessly in my Wii U. Tuesday morning, I did the same to Hit & Run and had the same positive result in my Xbox 360. Hit & Run was more fun and intuitive to play than Epic Mickey.

Sunday pickups:

Merchandise:

Non-merchandise in the photo: signed copy of The Angry Video Game Nerd I & II Deluxe (Nintendo Switch) signed by Justin (brought from home after seeing their booth on Saturday), Ralph Baer commemorative coins (one shown from the front, one from the back), my Game Boy Camera print from the Selfie Station, my weekend badge with Jovia lanyard

I watched the AVGN movie in 2019 on Amazon Prime Video, but it was later delisted. Now, I own a Blu-ray copy. They can’t take that away from me.

NES:

Xbox:

Wii:

It may be a while before I get a Super Scope, but the Saturday after LI Retro, I bought a Wii Balance Board, Wii Fit U, and a Wii Fit U Fit Meter. Now, I can play all the Wii Fit games and track my steps.

Just as AVGN made Ikari Warriors infamous (outtakes), Wii Music’s bad reputation stems from the crazy demo at E3 2008. I almost bought still another infamous NES game, Deadly Towers, on the Saturday of the expo, but relented.

Part 6: Conclusion

All good things must come to an end, and my time at the 2022 Long Island Retro Gaming Expo ended at 2:05 PM on Sunday, August 14. I took two parting shots with my iPhone before riding home:

Thank you for making it to the end of my recap. I know there was a lot to process, and it was a labor of love to draft the post. Patience was required often as WordPress struggled to display the text I typed, presumably because of all the photos and captions.

Thank you to all the guests I met and reacquainted with, to the vendors I bought from, and my fellow attendees, like budding game designer Brandon.

Special thanks to the LI Retro organizers and volunteers, especially Ryan Shapiro. You were all friendly and highly accommodating. I greatly appreciate that.

Until next year, so long.

Instrumental Invasion, 3/30/22 March 31, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Game Shows, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, TV, Video.
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The March 30 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP marked two years since my Wednesday night premiere. The show was recorded one hour per day on February 5 and 6 with a pickup on the 7th.

The playlist was created on February 3 and annotated on the 4th. The script was drafted on the morning of the 5th.

As on the first anniversary show last year, the first hour format was 1984 and earlier, with songs released between 1963 and 1980, and the second hour format was 1985 to ’95, with songs running the gamut.

The talk breaks for the first two segments were wordy enough that I resorted to short liners and had to hurry the third talk break of the second segment, removing tidbits about Wes Montgomery‘s Goin’ Out of My Head album. The other four segments required padding with extra liners, starting songs after a talk break, or fading them up (not out) early.

Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione finally aired in its entirety after getting cut off by automation in the first show.

Give It One” by Maynard Ferguson led off the show, as I had bought a compilation CD of Maynard’s three M.F. Horn studio albums days before recording. I’ve been aware of the song since I downloaded an MP3 in the mid 2000s upon learning it was used as the theme to the 1974 pilot episodes of Wheel of Fortune. I incorrectly thought it was made for the show. The first part of the song reminds me an interchange on I-95 in Miami because I was looking at a photo of it while listening. When my travels took me past what’s known as the Midtown Interchange in March 2019, I took a photo of my own:

Thanks to a video slideshow I made for my family of the trip, including my cousin’s wedding, the new photo also makes me think of “Gods of Brazil” by Alison Brown. And speaking of Brazil, I was glad to talk about Iguazu Falls after playing the misspelled “Iguassu Falls” by Jeff Lorber.

Getting back to “Give It One,” trumpeter Eric Miyashiro, once part of Maynard’s big band, posted a great arrangement on YouTube back in October, featuring a solo by fellow Maynard alum Wayne Bergeron, then by him. Enjoy:

5/12 UPDATE: I learned in thanks to this interview with Eric that Maynard’s name was pronounced as it looks, not “may-nerd.”

As for the second anniversary edition of Instrumental Invasion, click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Audiobooking 7 March 26, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

Instrumental Invasion, 3/16/22 March 17, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio.
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NOTE: This post also includes scoped airchecks of the 57th anniversary programming that preceded me.

The March 16 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded on January 26 (four segments) and 27 (two). Pickups were recorded on February 22 and March 3. More on that below.

The playlist was created on January 23, but I put off annotations until the 25th. (I saved the PDF in grayscale to hide the change in ink color when I switched pens.) The talk break script draft began on the 25th and was finished early on the 26th.

Jeff Kroll told me in December that March 16 was WCWP-FM’s 57th anniversary, so I played a song from 1965 to mark the occasion. That song was preceded by “Freedom Sound” by The Jazz Crusaders. I acquired Freedom Sound through a four-CD set containing seven early albums, plus one with Les McCann.

A few weeks before air, I learned from Jeff that the 57th anniversary would be treated like the original carrier current station’s 60th anniversary in October, led by a special edition of Strictly Jazz. He initially said Hank Neimark and John LiBretto would be hosting, and I redid the second talk break to acknowledge the ongoing celebration with just Hank and John as hosts. As noted in the 100th show post from two weeks ago, the spot breaks had promos for Strictly Jazz and Jeff and Pat’s edition of The Rock Show. I re-redid the second talk break because Jon Korkes was listed as a third host.

Here is the scope of Strictly Jazz (with so many great stories):

and The Rock Show:

2:46 PM UPDATE: Pat posted two photos taken during Strictly Jazz. The first is with hosts John LiBretto, Hank Neimark, and Jon Korkes:

…and the second photo adds Jeff:

As you can see, the shows were done from Studio 2, board operated by Jeff (when not posing for this photo).

Getting back to my show, “All ‘n All” by Nelson Rangell was first played last January 20. I used it in this show to set up how composer David Mann borrowed from it when writing “With You All the Way” by Steve Cole, which Steve wrote with Dave.

“With You All the Way” was part of the second 2007-16 segment, which I opted for in place of a second 2017 to present.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 (also scoped, as usual) or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 2/23/22 February 24, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, New Year, Personal, Radio.
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The February 23 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was the first to be produced and recorded in 2022. One segment was recorded on January 3, two on the 4th, and three on the 5th.

The playlist was created on January 2 with annotations and the script draft on the 3rd.

The passing of Nick Colionne on New Year’s Day led me to add a tag to his liner noting the date it was recorded. It doesn’t feel right to run liners posthumously without a tag.

Someday, I’d like to visit the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal via the National Historical Park, immortalized in Ken Navarro‘s “Skating on the C&O Canal.”

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Shortly after hour 2 began, my internet stopped the stream from playing, which means everything after “in 1999, the year” was taken from my segment files with a multiband compressor filter applied.

Instrumental Invasion, 1/12/22 January 13, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Art, Audio, Comedy, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Philanthropy, Radio, TV, Video.
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NOTE: This post concludes with remarks on the passing of Bob Saget.

The January 12 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded from November 23 to 25, 2021. The first segment was recorded on the 23rd, the next three on the 24th, and the last two on the 25th, Thanksgiving. Pickups were recorded on the 25th, 27th, and 28th, with an additional pickup on December 14 to accommodate a shortened final segment. The other five had no wiggle room and remained 18:30 in length.

The playlist was created on November 21 and annotated on the 22nd, followed by the script draft.

I had South America, particularly Brazil, on my mind after watching a documentary on Disney+ called Walt & El Grupo about Walt Disney’s 1941 trip, with a group of studio artists, to South America. Then, I watched the two films inspired by the trip: Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. The combination of watching those and listening to a DAT transfer of an extended of “Life is Like a Samba” by David Benoit, which was on a 7″ EP, are the reason I played the album version of the aforementioned song, “Cabana Carioca” by Spyro Gyra, and Cedar Walton‘s cover of “Aquarela do Brasil,” a.k.a. “Brazil.” And while determining how to pronounce vocalist Jerri Bocchino’s last name, since she sang the “Life is Like…” refrain, I was led to her website where she goes by Jerri Bo Keno. That’s how: “bo keno.”

I continued my tradition of playing a different version of a song I played the week before. Last week, I played the original Nelson Rangell version of “Dancing with Ivy,” and this week, it was the song’s writer Jay Rowe‘s version on his debut album, A Dream I Had.

“Wayman” by Steve Cole, “Still In Love” by Marc Antoine, and “Just Can’t Resist” by Oli Silk were all played for the second time. The first two were singles at the time of recording while the third song, like “Chrome Explosion” last week, was used to fill out the segment.

This was the second week in a row where the first song of the show was from 1979 and by a guitarist, and where the third song was by The Crusaders.

I was unaware of bassist Will Lee‘s Uncle Will nickname until an Instagram post by Bob Saget on October 28. I first used it on the Christmas show a few weeks ago. The reason for this anecdote is the unexpected passing of Bob this past Sunday. I saw a post by him that morning, thinking nothing of it, and was blindsided when I saw this post from actress Khrystyne Haje at the top of my feed around 8PM. I was ready to go to sleep, but couldn’t for about two hours. How could I with shocking news rattling around my brain? How could anyone, especially those that knew him personally?

Bob’s media friends, like Rich Eisen, suggested fans donate to the Scleroderma Research Foundation in his honor. Bob became involved with SRF after the disease took the life of his sister Gay. I made a donation before airtime last night, and I’m happy to report that thousands more have done the same.

As for last night’s show, click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 12/29/21 December 30, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Golf, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, New Year, Personal, Radio, Travel, TV.
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The December 29 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded in two days: the first segment at home on November 9 and the other five at my remote location on the 10th. The denoise filter was applied to all talk breaks but the first. Pickups were recorded on December 14, without the filter, for three shortened segments.

The playlist was created on November 7 and annotated on the 8th with the script draft carrying into the 9th. I forgot to include the New Year’s Eve host succession included in the annotation for “Auld Lang Syne,” but it’s fine. It was better to focus on Guy Lombardo and my Freeport beginnings. The use of Fourplay‘s “Auld Lang Syne” makes this the second week in a row where the show begins with a song from their Snowbound album. It’s also the second regular show in a row with an extra 2017 to present segment in place of 1984 and earlier.

Michael Brecker‘s rendition of “Song for Bilbao,” which followed “Auld Lang Syne,” was first played last June 24. This time, listeners got to hear the correct information as my segment redo the last time didn’t air. I played “Groove Reflections” by Jay Rowe to make up for the end getting cut off on November 3.

The last time I visited my grandparents’ condo, in March 2011, I photographed grandpa Carmen’s hole in one trophy from two angles:

As I said coming out of “Hole in One” by the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Carmen shot a hole in one on the eighth hole of Tarpon Springs Golf Course on August 11, 1995.

The show had its share of running gags, including “plural” and a flat “yes” response to musical questions.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

See you in 2022!

Festival of Games recap December 13, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Aviation, Christmas, History, Internet, Media, Personal, Photography, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Saturday, for the first time in two years and four months, I made the pilgrimage to the Cradle of Aviation Museum along Museum Row in East Garden City. The event was Festival of Games, spun off from the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo. The main expo returns next August, but video games were calling for me. So, I bought a ticket to the Festival on November 23.

My plan Saturday was to attend for two to three hours, walking through the vendor hall, free play zones, and ticketed arcade zone. (Patrons were given a ticket with their wristband at the front desk.) If any arcade games caught my eye, I’d play them. Then, I’d go back to the vendor hall and pick up games. I followed that plan to the letter upon my arrival just after 12:30. Here are the photos:

I didn’t play NARC then (or now), but I videotaped two of my friends playing, per these vidcaps (12/27 UPDATE: I upscaled the vidcaps with Bigjpg):

I left this out of the stacked gallery, but one of the free play TVs was connected to a Famicom Disk System, which ran a festive program:

Back at the vendor hall, I picked up 33 games for various consoles. I don’t remember what I bought from which vendor, but the business cards show they were Geek Guilt, Flashback Gaming, The SemiCollector, and Joega’s Comic Chaos. When greeting one of the vendors, I inadvertently said “hello” like Sheldon Cooper, Jim Parsons‘ character from The Big Bang Theory (and Iain Armitage‘s from Young Sheldon). Noticing, I repeated and got a laugh. As I edited Saturday’s photos, I noticed I missed a couple of vendors over the course of my shopping spree. Oh, well.

As I shopped, I checked my video game collection Word document to make sure I didn’t buy a game I already had. I didn’t.

While waiting for a ride home, I photographed my haul:

Once I got home, I photographed my pickups by console.

Going chronologically, I picked up 15 NES games:

Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode is out of order because I mistook the subtitle for the lead title. Thank goodness for Pat Contri‘s Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library.

Five for Sega Master System:

The vendor took $10 off Rastan.

Three on Game Boy:

Two for Super Nintendo:

One for Super Famicom!:

Two for Sega Genesis:

One for Sony PlayStation:

One for Nintendo 64 (N64):

Two for PlayStation 3:

Two for Microsoft Xbox 360:

And one for Nintendo Switch:

In writing, the games were:

Nintendo Entertainment System:

Sega Master System:

Game Boy:

Super Nintendo Entertainment System/Super Famicom*:

Sega Genesis:

PlayStation:

Nintendo 64:

PlayStation 3:

Xbox 360:

Nintendo Switch:

Thank you to LI Retro for an enjoyable Festival of Games. I’ll see you in August.

Instrumental Invasion, 12/1/21 December 2, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Technology, Travel, Video.
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The December 1 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day on October 10 and 11.

The playlist was created and annotated on October 9 while the script was drafted before recording on the 10th.

I chose to take the next two weeks off to focus on covering WCWP’s Homecoming Weekend and then to unwind, but was pressed into service on October 21 after an additional underwriting spot at the top of each hour necessitated shortening segments to 18:30, and also picking up where I took out a liner. The first segment couldn’t be shortened.

This is the first show with a new thumbnail, after updating my profile photo on my various platforms last Saturday. I took the photo on a GoPro Hero 7 attached to a 10″ flexible tripod. I held a tripod leg with my right hand while taking the photo in an iPhone app with my left hand. It was time-consuming adapting the photo to the show banner, and then updating thumbnails for all completed shows recorded to date, but the end results were worth it, even if the image is darker without a flash.

I led off the show with “Unisphere” by The Dave Brubeck Quartet because I had purchased their Time Changes album – an ironic title, considering my later circumstance – after watching video of a live performance on Dave’s Facebook page:

The song was inspired by the steel structure that served as the theme symbol to the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. As noted on the air, I saw the Unisphere firsthand back in July 2017:

This is the documentary I spoke of, After the Fair:

I saw The Rippingtons live at My Father’s Place in Roslyn in March 2019, the night before Open Road was released. Their set included “Tangerine Skyline.”

I made up for last week’s mistake by including “Watch Your Step” by Chris Geith in the second hour’s second segment.

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