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My day at the final round of The Northern Trust August 29, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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Previous event recaps: 2012 (The Barclays), 2016 (The Barclays)

For the second year in a row, a Long Island golf course hosted the PGA Tour event now known as The Northern Trust, the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs. Last year, which was the last year as The Barclays, the event was held at Bethpage Black Golf Course. This year, The Northern Trust was about 12 miles west at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury. Glen Oaks is adjacent to SUNY Old Westbury and not too far from NYIT (New York Institute of Technology) or LIU Post, my alma mater. In fact, as you’ll see near the end of this post, I wore my WCWP shirt that you’ve seen in previous posts. As for the other two colleges, I went to day camp at them for a few childhood summers. In 1989 and ’91, main camp activities were at NYIT while swimming was at SUNY Old Westbury. In 1990, activities were exclusive to Old Westbury.

My father Bill and I attended the final round of The Northern Trust, which began 50 years ago as the Westchester Classic, on Sunday. Jordan Spieth (-12) and Dustin Johnson (-9) were the last group of the day. Would Spieth hold on? Could D.J. catch him? Or would it be someone else?

Dad and I left for general parking at Nassau Coliseum at around 11:30. Once we arrived, we boarded a shuttle bus. On board, a welcome video looped on TV screens. The shuttle arrived at Glen Oaks Club just before 12:30. Weather conditions were excellent: partly sunny skies with warm, dry air and a cool breeze.

I would have loved to bring my Nikon D5500, but only smartphones on silent were allowed for photography. Thus, the pictures in this recap were taken on my iPhone 6 and edited afterward in Adobe Photoshop Elements 15. Since the phone lacks an optical zoom, I preserved the original resolution rather than shrink the pictures, as I usually do on this site. In most cases, you’ll have to zoom in to see the far-away players.

With that out of the way, let’s begin:

From here, pictures aren’t entirely in chronological order. Until we get to the 18th green, pictures are in order of the hole where they were taken.

The practice green:

The 1st hole:

LaGuardia Airport is close to the course, so there were plenty of low-flying planes in their final approach:

The 2nd hole:

Henrik Stenson and Martin Laird:

Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

Paul Casey and defending champion Patrick Reed:

Dottie Pepper and Peter Kostis of CBS Sports walking ahead of…

Jordan Spieth…

…and Dustin Johnson:

Robert Streb and Scott Brown on the 4th hole:

Stenson and Laird at the 5th hole:

The 6th green:

The 7th hole:

The 8th hole:

Jason Day and C.T. Pan:

Matt Kuchar and Jon Rahm:

The 9th hole:

The 10th hole:

David Lingmerth and Louis Oosthuizen:

Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

The 11th hole:

Jason Kokrak and Morgan Hoffmann:

A jib passing the 12th hole:

Dad and I followed Robert Streb and Scott Brown from here to the 17th:

There was a horse stable next to the 13th hole:

It’s rare that I hear horses neighing and sputtering in real time.

The 13th hole:

The 14th hole:

The 15th hole:

The 16th hole:

The 17th hole:

The 18th hole:

David Lingmerth and Louis Oosthuizen:

I spent the last two hours of the tournament at this spot by the 18th green:

I had to endure a few men behind me, who I assume were in their 20s, not necessarily following etiquette (that’s all I’ll say), but it was worth it.

The TV tower where Jim Nantz and Sir Nick Faldo called the action:

The Northern Trust is the last tournament of the year for CBS. The remainder of the FedExCup playoffs are on NBC.

After Lingmerth and Louis Ooie (as voice actor Jeff Bennett calls him) finished their round, the next pair to play 18 was Robert Streb and Scott Brown:

Followed by Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

Vegas shot a 65 to finish at -9.

Then, Patrick Cantlay and Russell Henley:

Justin Thomas, who won the PGA Championship two weeks earlier, and Chez Reavie:

Justin Rose and Jason Dufner:

Keegan Bradley and Kevin Chappell:

Matt Kuchar and Jon Rahm:

Rahm finished tied for third with Jhonny Vegas at -9.

Paul Casey and Patrick Reed:

And finally, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson:

Jordan and Dustin came to 18 tied at -13. Johnson’s tee shot landed in the rough and his second shot was short of the green. He would end up with a long par putt. Spieth, meanwhile, had a long birdie putt.

Spieth missed his birdie putt:

That meant D.J. could force a playoff if he parred…

…and he did!

The camera didn’t focus properly, but you get the idea.

Here’s how the putt looked on TV.

Spieth made his par putt to ensure the playoff:

The playoff:

Johnson hit a massive tee shot that landed within 95 yards of the hole. Here’s how it looked on TV. (6:42 PM UPDATE: The shot was shown in last night’s episode of Feherty when guest Darius Rucker listed D.J. as one of his three favorite golfers of all time. Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods were the other two.)

D.J.’s approach shot landed near the hole:

The shot looked like this on CBS.

Spieth missed a long birdie putt to extend the playoff:

But Johnson made his birdie putt and won The Northern Trust:

The winning putt can be seen at the end of these extended highlights.

Dottie Pepper interviewed Dustin afterward:

Here’s the interview.

Our last two times at The Barclays, Dad and I stuck around to watch the off-air trophy presentation. This year, after a playoff, we were eager to head home, which, after buying a hat and shirt in the shop, we did.

Three FedExCup playoff tournaments remain. Can Dustin, Jordan, or anyone else in the top 100 win it all? We’ll know by the evening of September 24. (9/24 UPDATE: Someone else: Paul Casey.)

On the way to the shuttle bus, Dad took this picture of me:

We got home at exactly 8:00. It was an exciting eight hours. What a finish! Our next golf trip will be next June for the third round of the U.S. Open, held at Shinnecock Hills.

I’ll leave you with a few news stories on the final round (subscription required for Newsday/News 12 links):
AP (via PGATour.com)
Newsday
Newsday column by Mark Herrmann, who also wrote the story in the above link
News 12 Long Island

I can be seen in the background in one clip from News 12’s video. Here’s a high-resolution screenshot from my TV:

And here’s a closer look:

3:29 PM UPDATE: I just learned I was actually in the background during CBS’s telecast, not in News 12 B-roll. Here is a vidcap:

8/31 UPDATE: Inside the Ropes segments of this week’s Inside the PGA Tour:
Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Final Round

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SJFS 2017 Night 2 recap May 8, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Horse Racing, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Phone, Photography, Sports, Thoroughbred, TV.
13 comments

Other SJFS recaps: 2008, 2008 meet-and-greet, 2009, 2010, 2011, 20122013 Night 1, 2013 Night 2, 2014 Night 1, 2014 Night 2, 2015 Night 1, 2016 Night 1, 2016 Night 2, 2017 Night 1

Keyboardist Jay Rowe‘s 15th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit continued Saturday night with the second of two concerts. The headliners were Chieli Minucci (“key-L-e min-OO-chee”), Steve Oliver, Nelson Rangell (soft g), and Steve Cole.

I was only able to get 3 1/2 hours of sleep, although I may have gotten an hour or two more when I thought I was half asleep.

At 6:45 AM, I stretched and went down to the Hampton Inn fitness center to exercise. Running on the treadmill was tough. My body was used to the treadmill at home and I could only manage a broken 2.4 miles (meaning I took a lot of breaks) before giving up and moving on to weightlifting. (I had a better handle on the treadmill yesterday morning, running 5 miles with less breaks.)

Later in the morning, I went to the lobby to drink hot chocolate and mingle with musicians and fellow jazz fans. First, I ran into Mark Abrams and his wife Phyllis. Then, I had a long, engaging, intriguing conversation with Nelson Rangell. My mother Lisa was in on the conversation for a little while. As a went to pour my second cup of hot chocolate, I met Steve Oliver, who was pouring a cup of coffee. I told him I’d been a fan of his music since I first heard it on The Weather Channel in 2002. He was pleased to hear that.

While my parents spent the afternoon at Mohegan Sun, I edited pictures from Friday night, chose the ones to include in the recap, uploaded them to the website, and placed them in the rough draft. When I was finally finished, I killed some time walking from Hampton Inn to a couple of stores on Boston Post Road (U.S. 1). I didn’t buy anything, but at least I passed time before dinner.

When my parents returned, we drove up Boston Post Road to the Olive Garden in Orange. I ate minestrone and cheese ravioli with meat sauce. Delicious.

It was 7:15 when we arrived at Veterans Memorial Auditorium back in Milford. I watched a replay of the Kentucky Derby on my iPhone since I forgot about the race. Always Dreaming won by 2 3/4 lengths.

At 8:00, the dream of Saturday night’s concert became a reality. Kevin McCabe of Jumpstart Jazz got things started with a welcome and thank yous:

After Kevin introduced Jay Rowe’s house band, he introduced Jay himself. His band was made up of Rohn Lawrence on electric guitar, Dave Anderson on bass, Trever Somerville on drums, and Steve Scales – who graduated from the University of Bridgeport earlier in the day – on percussion.

We’ll get to pictures of the band and headliners after you see the…

SET LIST
1.
Smooth Ride (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Smooth Ride (2016)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

2. Daybreak (Chieli Minucci)
Originally heard on: Global Village (Special EFX) (1992)
Featured musicians: Chieli Minucci (acoustic/electric guitar), Steve Oliver (acoustic guitar, vocals)

3. High Noon (Steve Oliver)
Originally heard on: Positive Energy (2002)
Featured musicians: Steve Oliver (acoustic guitar, vocals), Chieli Minucci (acoustic guitar)

4. Lavish (Chieli Minucci)
Originally heard on: Deep as the Night (Special EFX) (2017)
Featured musicians: Chieli Minucci (acoustic/electric guitar), Nelson Rangell (alto sax)

5. Vonetta (Nelson Rangell; Earl Klugh cover)
Originally heard on: Soul to Souls (2006)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (flute), Chieli Minucci (acoustic guitar)

6. Another Star (Nelson Rangell; Stevie Wonder cover)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Chieli Minucci (electric guitar)

7. Turning Night Into Day (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Turning Night Into Day (1997)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Steve Cole (tenor sax), Chieli Minucci (electric guitar)

8. Thursday (Steve Cole)
Originally heard on: Spin (2005)
Featured musicians: Steve Cole (tenor sax), Chieli Minucci (electric guitar), Steve Oliver (electric guitar), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

9. Going in Circles (Steve Cole; Friends of Distinction cover)
Originally heard on: Pulse (2013)
Featured musicians: Steve Cole (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

10. Chips and Salsa (Steve Oliver)
Originally heard on: 3D (2004)
Featured musicians: Steve Oliver (acoustic guitar, vocals), Chieli Minucci (acoustic guitar, vocals)

11. Sunlight Within (Steve Oliver)
Originally heard on: Global Kiss (2010)
Featured musician: Steve Oliver (acoustic guitar, vocals)

12. Mirage (Steve Cole)
Originally heard on: Turn It Up (2016)
Featured musicians: Steve Cole (tenor sax), Nelson Rangell (flute), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

13. Sonora (Nelson Rangell; Hampton Hawes cover)
Originally heard on: Destiny (1995) (alto sax); My American Songbook, Vol. 1 (2005)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (whistling/piccolo), Steve Oliver (acoustic guitar), Chieli Minucci (electric guitar)

14. Katy’s Groove (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Smooth Ride (2016)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards); Foran High School Advanced Vocal Ensemble, directed by Theresa Voss

15 (Finale). Cruise Control (Chieli Minucci)
Originally heard on: Butterfly (Special EFX) (2001)
Featured musicians: Everyone

Here are the pictures, starting with Jay Rowe:

The end-of-solo glide:

Rohn Lawrence:

Dave Anderson:

Trever Somerville:

Steve Scales:

Chieli Minucci on electric guitar:

Acoustic guitar:

Steve Oliver on acoustic guitar:

“Guitar symphony orchestra” intro to “Chips and Salsa”:

“Olé!”:

Electric guitar:

Vocals:

Nelson Rangell on alto sax:

Flute:

Chimes, at the beginning of “Sonora”:

Whistling on “Sonora”:

Piccolo:

Back to whistling:

Steve Cole:

Steve Oliver and Chieli:

“Tayyy-yo!”:

Chieli and Nelson:

Steve Cole and Nelson:

Nelson, Steve Cole, Chieli:

Steve Cole’s “wall of guitar” for “Thursday”:

The Foran High School Advanced Vocal Ensemble, directed by Theresa Voss, vocalized on “Katy’s Groove”:

The finale: “Cruise Control”:

Jay had many people to thank, but Rohn wanted to thank Jay:

With that, the 15th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars was complete.

I had another engaging conversation with Nelson the following morning as I began editing pictures. I finished editing them on the drive home, which only took an hour and a half. Until next year, Milford.

SJFS 2017 Night 1 recap May 8, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, Video Games, Weather.
13 comments

Other SJFS recaps: 2008, 2008 meet-and-greet, 2009, 2010, 2011, 20122013 Night 1, 2013 Night 2, 2014 Night 1, 2014 Night 2, 2015 Night 1, 2016 Night 1, 2016 Night 2, 2017 Night 2

On Friday and Saturday nights, keyboardist Jay Rowe hosted the 15th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars in his hometown of Milford, Connecticut. The concerts benefit the Milford Public Schools music department. Friday’s headliners were Will Donato, Nick Colionne, Jeff Kashiwa, and Rick Braun.

It was ten years ago April 28 that I attended SJFS for the first time, making this my 11th year in attendance. Like that first time, my parents came with me.

We left for the Milford Hampton Inn at around 2:30. It had been rainy and windy all day, but the rain let up and wind diminished about a half hour into our drive. Unfortunately, we encountered heavy traffic throughout, especially in Connecticut.  Under normal traffic, we’d be at the hotel in an hour and 45 minutes, but the drive took nearly twice as long this time.

Perhaps as a good omen, the Watercolors channel on SiriusXM played “Smooth Ride,” the title track from Jay’s latest album:

Watercolors was on throughout our not-so-smooth ride. I also spent the first half of the ride breaking in my new Nintendo 3DS XL. I played a couple of 3DS games – Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 (just the time trials) – as well as two DS games – Mario Kart DS (again, only the time trials) and You Don’t Know Jack.

After checking in and settling in to our third floor rooms, we made our way to the home of Smooth Jazz for Scholars: Veterans Memorial Auditorium, located in the Parsons Government Center. Along the way, we ate dinner at Wendy’s.

At 8:10, the show began, as Kevin McCabe of Jumpstart Jazz welcomed the audience and thanked sponsors:

The show opened with performances by West Shore Middle School general music students, directed by Chris Kalafus:

…and the Foran High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jessica Shearer:

Then, it was on to the main event. Jay Rowe’s house band consisted of Rohn (“Ron”) Lawrence on guitar, Dave Anderson on bass, Trever Somerville on drums, and Steve Scales on percussion. Pictures of the band and headliners can be seen below, but first…

SET LIST
1. Bumpin’ on Hollywood (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Red Hot and Smooth (2006)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Jonathan Law/Foran High School horn section, Rick Braun (trumpet), Will Donato (alto sax), Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax)

2. Funkability (Will Donato)
Originally heard on: What It Takes (2010)
Featured musicians: Will Donato (alto sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar)

3. New Life (Will Donato)
Originally heard on: Will Power (2005)
Featured musician: Will Donato (alto sax)

4. When You Love Somebody (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: Influences (2014)
Featured musicians: Nick Colionne (guitar, vocals), Jason Grant (drums)

5. The Journey (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: The Journey (2016)
Featured musicians: Nick Colionne (guitar), Jason Grant (drums)

6. Movin’ Up (Jeff Kashiwa)
Originally heard on: Play (2007)
Featured musician: Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax)

7. Do It Again (Jeff Kashiwa; Steely Dan cover)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musician: Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar)

8. Notorious (Rick Braun)
Originally heard on: Body and Soul (1997), Sessions: Volume 1 (2006)
Featured musicians: Rick Braun (flugelhorn), Will Donato (tenor sax)

9. My Funny Valentine (Rick Braun; standard by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart)
Featured musician: Rick Braun (vocals, muted trumpet)

10. Everything is Alright (Rick Braun)
Originally heard on: Around the Horn (2017)
Featured musicians: Rick Braun (trumpet, vocals), Rohn Lawrence (guitar, vocals), Jay Rowe (keyboards, vocals)

11. Morning Call (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: The Journey (2016)
Featured musicians: Nick Colionne (guitar), Jason Grant (drums)

12. Supersonic (Will Donato)
Originally heard on: Supersonic (to be released July 2017)
Featured musicians: Will Donato (alto sax), Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax)

13. Hyde Park (The “Ah, Oooh” Song) (Jeff Kashiwa)
Originally heard on: Another Door Opens (2000)
Featured musicians: Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax), audience (“ah, oooh”)

14 (Finale). Grazin’ in the Grass (Rick Braun; Hugh Masekela cover [a.k.a. “Grazing in the Grass”])
Originally heard on: Shake It Up (collaboration with Boney James) (2000); Sessions: Volume 1 (2006)
Featured musicians: Everyone

As promised, here are the pictures. We start with the “Bumpin’ on Hollywood” horns:

Jay Rowe:

Rohn Lawrence:

Dave Anderson:

Trever Somerville:

Steve Scales:

After “Bumpin’ on Hollywood,” Will Donato went to the lobby to start “Funkability.” He worked his way through the audience, picking out my friend Kelly along the way to the stage:

Now, the on-stage shots:

Tenor sax on “Notorious”:

Nick Colionne:

Vocals on “When You Love Somebody”:

Working through the audience on “Morning Call”:

Spotting my camera:

Striking a pose:

I gave him an approving thumbs up as the audience laughed.

Jason Grant was on drums for Nick’s songs:

Jeff Kashiwa:

Rick Braun on flugelhorn for “Notorious”:

On hitting the last note: “I can do it!”

He did:

Muted trumpet for “My Funny Valentine”:

Regular trumpet for “Everything is Alright”:

Rick also sang “My Funny Valentine”:

…and “Everything is Alright”:

Rohn backed him up:

And so did Jay!

Will and Rohn:

Jeff and Rohn:

Rick and Will:

Rick and Rohn:

Will and Jeff:

The finale: “Grazin’ in the Grass”:

Jay had some closing remarks as the song wound down:

The last note:

Before I left for the night, I caught up with Will Donato and we posed for a picture:

It’s always nice to see him. He’s been very complimentary of my work, and was when we spoke Friday night. It goes without saying that I’m fond of his work, as well. When I posted on Facebook yesterday that I was back home, he left the following comment:

Mike! It was so great to see you! You always make me feel so welcome when I travel back east! I respect and admire YOUR talents! WD

Reading that now brings a smile to my face.

A recap of Saturday night’s show can be seen here.

2017 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony April 3, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Interviews, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, TV, Video.
4 comments

Previous Hall of Fame ceremonies: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

It may have been April Fools’ Day, but there was serious business at LIU Post on Saturday. The 2017 class of the WCWP Hall of Fame was inducted during an afternoon ceremony in the Goldsmith Atrium at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts.

It was the sixth ceremony overall, but only the fifth I’ve attended. I couldn’t make last year’s ceremony because I was in Milford, Connecticut, ahead of the second night of musician Jay Rowe’s annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit concert series. Thankfully, this year’s HOF ceremony came six weeks before this year’s SJFS.

I arrived on campus about a half hour before the ceremony, which was due to start at 1PM. As always, I took pictures and video. You can see the video at the end of this post, but first, the pictures:

The ceremony began with an introduction by Dan Cox, WCWP’s Director of Broadcasting:

…and a video narrated by Jim Cutler:

The 2017 inductees are John March:

John LiBretto:

…and Neil Marks:

2015 inductee Jeff Kroll was the host:

2012 inductee Hank Neimark introduced John LiBretto:

2013 inductee Harry Lowenthal had a question for John:

Pat Kroll presented John with a gift bag:

John March was interviewed ahead of the ceremony from his home in South Carolina:

Hank accepted on John’s behalf:

The third inductee of 2017 was Neil Marks, introduced by Jeff:

The view from my Panasonic HC-V770 camcorder:

Neil had a speech prepared:

Neil’s family:

I took this picture of Neil with the family before the ceremony:

Then, it was story time:

Neil’s father had a question:

Pat had a few stories to share:

The ceremony concluded with this picture:

…and cutting of the cake:

Then, it was off to the Abrams Communications Building, home to WCWP for 51 1/2 years, for more reminiscing:

Now, the video:

Video was recorded with my Panasonic HC-V770 camcorder and mixed with audio from my Tascam DR-03. Thanks to Dan Cox for providing the introductory video and interview with John March, which were incorporated into the video.

It’s an honor and a privilege to capture events for WCWP and to mingle with fellow alumni. Congratulations to John LiBretto, John March, and Neil Marks. Welcome to the WCWP Hall of Fame.

Watching YouTube and playing video games March 8, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Game Shows, History, Internet, Interviews, Media, Music, News, Personal, Politics, Technology, TV, Video Games.
1 comment so far

After about a year of watching TV shows, movies, documentaries, and comedy specials on Netflix in my downtime, I nearly ran out of things to watch. As a result, I turned my attention to YouTube. I watched several episodes of Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show, Game Sack, and Gaming Historian on there last year. But in the last month, I’ve re-watched Game Sack and Gaming Historian episodes, and binge watched The 8-Bit Guy/8-Bit Keys and My Life in Gaming. This post is about how I discovered the channels I frequent.

I discovered Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show last year while looking for interviews of Kevin on YouTube. I was listening to his book, How I Slept My Way to the Middle, on Audible last March, and was completely unaware of his chat show, which he’s had since 2009. In the two months that followed, I watched episodes with guests who I was familiar with or whom I didn’t expect to express their political beliefs. Once I was caught up, I would watch new archived episodes two days after they streamed live. I tried watching one episode live, but I focused more on the chat room discussion than the interview. For a few months, the KPCS YouTube channel was down; all videos were gone. Eventually, they were restored and I resumed watching new episodes.

I found Gaming Historian while looking for longplay video game videos like they have at World of Longplays. What I got instead was informative historical documentaries on video game franchises, consoles, companies, and industry executives. Norman Caruso does a great job.

I discovered Game Sack, a channel run by Joe Redifer who co-hosts with his friend Dave White, via suggested videos after watching some Gaming Historian episodes. Each episode features playthroughs and critiques by Joe and Dave of the same categories I listed for Gaming Historian, as well as video game genres. The videos are entertaining, informative, humorous, and well-spoken; a perfect blend.

David Murray is the 8-Bit Guy. His videos focus on retro technology such as computers, digital cameras, and the aforementioned video game consoles. A video about video game music in the 8-bit era was suggested to me after a Game Sack episode. That video inspired David to start the 8-Bit Keys channel, which focuses on synthesizers and keyboards. I binged watched those videos a few weeks ago while recovering from an upper respiratory infection.

I support the latter three YouTubers on Patreon. Searching for other YouTubers to support on that site led me to My Life in Gaming. I watched an episode or two and became hooked. It’s hosted by two friends named Coury Carlson and Marc Duddleson (aka Try4ce). Their videos range from masterclasses on video game consoles and hardware for capturing gameplay to live streams of gameplay. Similar to Gaming Historian and Game Sack, they also have videos devoted to video games and VG developers. They even had a series of “How to Beat” videos which parodied 1990s VHS tips videos. Here’s one of them.

All these videos inspired me to buy NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), Game Boy, Super NES, and Sega Genesis video games to add to my collection. I even bought a refurbished Xbox 360 with a wireless controller a couple of weeks ago. Once it arrived, I bought several pre-owned games at a nearby Gamestop. They include puzzle games, quiz games, racing games, kart racers, and platformers. The game I’ve played the most thus far is Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. I bought the Xbox 360 because it’s backward compatible with most Xbox games which I plan on eventually getting. I also have in mind the Playstation 3 because of its backward compatibility with PS1 and PS2. If only the PS4 and Xbox One were backward compatible with all their predecessors.

Getting back to YouTube, there are two more channels I’d like to discuss. For a couple of years, I’ve been subscribed to a channel called Prager University. It was created by talk radio host Dennis Prager as “an online video resource promoting knowledge and clarity on life’s biggest and most interesting topics.” The channel “gather[s] some of the world’s best thinkers and distill[s] their best ideas into free, 5-minute videos on things ranging from history and economics to science and happiness.” One video led me to another channel. It was by Dave Rubin, a former left-wing ideologue who is now a free-thinking, open-minded classical liberal. After watching that video, YouTube suggested another video from Dave’s channel, The Rubin Report. Now, I’m hooked on that, too. I haven’t binge watched videos, but I have seen his commentaries and most recent interviews. Not only is Dave a political commentator, but he’s also a gamer. He played through Contra on the NES in his latest live stream video.

If you like video games and/or politics, I recommend you give these channels a try. They’ve given me hours of information and enjoyment. Thank you all.

Audiobooking 3 December 23, 2016

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

* – Left-wing viewpoint occasionally expressed

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

Acoustic Alchemy at Iridium on my 35th birthday November 20, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Food, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, Weather.
3 comments

Other Acoustic Alchemy recaps: June 2008, October 2010, June 2012

11/24 UPDATE: I forgot to note that this trip to see Acoustic Alchemy at the Iridium came ten years to the date after seeing Yellowjackets at Birdland on my 25th birthday. I referenced that trip back in April.

Thursday night, on my 35th birthday, I took a trip to the Iridium in Manhattan’s Theater District to see British contemporary jazz band Acoustic Alchemy perform. It was my first time back at the venue since October 2012, one week before Hurricane Sandy.

Following Chieli Minucci and Special EFX at the Long Beach Jazz Festival in September, I learned through fellow audience members that Acoustic Alchemy would be playing at the Iridium two months later, on November 17 and 18, to close out their U.S. tour. My birthday falls on the 17th, so I bought a ticket for that night. There were two shows each night, at 8:30 and 10:30. As usual, I chose the early show.

Since I would be on my own at the Iridium, birthday dinner and ice cream cake with my family was moved up to Wednesday night. My parents, sister, and I ate dinner at Margarita’s Cafe, a Mexican restaurant in North Wantagh:
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Ice cream cake was waiting back at home:
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We usually get Carvel cakes, but this one was from Friendly’s. It tasted just as good.

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I spent much of my 35th birthday afternoon responding to “Happy Birthday” wishes on Facebook. One of my friends, radio personality Don Tandler, quipped in his wish that I’m no longer in the young demographic, which is 18 to 34. I got a chuckle out of that.

At about 4:10, I took an extended walk from my Wantagh Woods home, to make up for not running, to the Wantagh LIRR station and bought an off peak round trip ticket for Penn Station. I boarded the 4:59 train and arrived an hour later. I responded to more birthday wishes on the train.

I was told the Iridium door wasn’t opened until 7:30, which meant I had a lot of time to kill. Rather than take the 1 Subway train to West 50th Street, I walked all the way from Penn Station to the club.

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The walk took twenty minutes. I stood outside for about ten minutes before figuring out I could wait inside at the bottom of the stairwell.

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I was first in line.

Once staff began letting ticket holders in, a few minutes before 7:30, I chose a seat at a center table right by the stage.

While waiting for the set to start, I took a picture of the monitor as this upcoming event image was on screen:
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8:30 arrived and the show began. The image below was posted to Acoustic Alchemy’s Facebook page a few minutes in:

You can see me, camera in hand, right by the stage. You’ll also notice the stage has been renovated since my last visit.

Acoustic Alchemy was made up of Miles Gilderdale on electric guitar:
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…and acoustic guitar:
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“The Detroit Shuffle” vocal medley:
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Filling in for Greg Carmichael was Nate Najar – a native of St. Petersburg, Florida – on acoustic guitar:
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Rounding out the band was Gary Grainger – out of Baltimore, Maryland – on bass:
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Vocalizing on “One for Shorty”:
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Gary’s brother Greg on drums:
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…and Fred White on keyboards:
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There were ten songs on the set list:
1. Homecoming
Originally heard on: Reference Point, 1990; Arcanum, 1996; Live in London, 2014

2. Overnight Sleeper
Originally heard on: Natural Elements, 1988; Live in London, 2014

3. Mr. Chow
Originally heard on: Red Dust & Spanish Lace, 1987; Arcanum, 1996

4. The Detroit Shuffle
Originally heard on: American/English, 2005

5. One for Shorty
Originally heard on: Roseland, 2011; Live in London, 2014

6. Clear Air for Miles
Originally heard on: Back on the Case, 1991

7. Ariane
Originally heard on: Blue Chip, 1989; Live in London, 2014

8. The Beautiful Game
Originally heard on: The Beautiful Game, 2000; Sounds of St. Lucia, 2003; Live in London, 2014

9. Catalina Kiss
Originally heard on: Blue Chip, 1989; Arcanum, 1996

10 (Finale). Kidstuff
Originally heard on: The Beautiful Game, 2000

Here are wide shots, starting with Miles’s high notes on “The Detroit Shuffle”:
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The finale – “Kidstuff”:
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The last note:
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“Thanks so much, guys!”:
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There was a meet-and-greet after the show. I let Fred White know on Facebook, in the days leading up to Thursday, that I was coming, so he was happy to see me. The feeling was mutual. It was also nice to see Gary Grainger, who I first discovered through his appearances – and Greg’s, as well – on many Ken Navarro albums. I had a female audience member take our picture:
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My camera’s lens focused on the wall rather than us, which happened in a few attempts at a picture the night before at Margarita’s. Since time was short, I didn’t have that audience member take us again. I told Fred, “I’ll get it in editing.”

Thank you to Miles, Nate, Gary, Greg, and Fred for their musical 35th birthday present. I had a blast.

And thank you to everyone that passed along birthday wishes the day before, on, the day after, two days after, and even three days after my birthday.

Jeff Dunham at Carnegie Hall October 22, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Hockey, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Politics, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

(10/26 UPDATE: I have censored the few curse words that were in the recap.)

(10/23 NOTE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Jeff’s show ran “about 70 minutes.” I have corrected that to read “2 hours and 13 minutes.”)

I was in Manhattan for the second night in a row yesterday. Thursday, I was down in Greenwich Village to see the Chick Corea Elektric Band. Yesterday, I was uptown at Carnegie Hall to see ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham. Pictures weren’t allowed during the show, which was part of Jeff’s Perfectly Unbalanced Tour, but I took my plenty before and after. I had to use my iPhone 6 because mobile devices were all that were allowed.

This was my fourth time at Carnegie Hall, but the first time in the Stern Auditorium. My previous three trips were to see pianist Lisa Hilton in the intimate Weill Recital Hall.

Jeff Dunham and his crew made their way to Carnegie at around 4:30. Jeff posted live video of the walk to Facebook:

About an hour after that streaming video, I left the house for the Wantagh LIRR station. It was the last day of a warm and humid air mass. Nonetheless, like Thursday night, I wore my green spring squall jacket in case of rain. There was nary a drop; only fog and mist when I returned six hours later. There had been rain earlier in the day, but while I waited for the 5:59 train for Penn Station, Wantagh was in between rain bands. The band to the east must have been intense because there were impressive cumulonimbus clouds:
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Low cumulus clouds set in starting in Queens, appearing dark against the setting sun.

There were New York Islanders fans on the train through Jamaica. They changed there for the Atlantic Terminal train to Barclays Center where the Islanders went on to beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-2.

The train arrived at Penn Station at 6:55. From there, I took the E train to West 53rd Street and walked four blocks to Carnegie Hall.

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Once there, the crowd had to wait until 7:30 for the Stern Auditorium doors to open. After getting a bottle of water, I got to my balcony seat. Trivia, social media posts, and pictures were shown on the monitor:
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The ceiling:
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There was a welcome announcement at 8:03 following by three intro videos at 8:06. Since they’re from Jeff’s YouTube channel, I’ve included them below:

After an auto-tune montage, the show officially began at 8:16. The voice of Achmed the Dead Terrorist announced Jeff and he walked on stage. I looked at him on the monitor most of the time since I was so high up.

I took ten pages of notes in a 7 x 5 notebook. Below are some of those notes. I’ll try not to give too much away.

Jeff’s opening act:

  • Informal election vote: Hillary – cheers, Donald – more cheers
  • Why he’s a ventriloquist
  • Family – daughters, Audrey, twin boys
  • How Jeff and Audrey found out they were having twins, Jack and James
  • The twins’ birth
  • Changing diapers in NICU
  • Breastfeeding
  • Baby pictures – meme photo (“I CAME OUT OF YOUR WHAT???”), then actual photos: their first birthday, Jeff holding them like dumbbells, at Disneyland
  • Left stage, came back
  • Videotaping show to include message to sons when they’re older

After the opening act, it was time to open the boxes and bring out the characters. Walter came first:

  • “Oh, shut the hell up! (mocking laugh)”
  • Joke about New Jersey
  • How do you get to Carnegie Hall? “Uber.”
  • Joke about auditorium appearance
  • Sick of election garbage – doesn’t like either candidate – like going in for colonoscopy
  • Cut to a video:

  • “You know, folks tell me that I should run for president”
  • Wife
  • Life after death
  • “If Trump becomes president, José’ll be out of the show” (a reference to José Jalapeño on a Stick)
  • Being an older parent
  • “Say good night, Walter.” “Thanks, everybody!”

Before bringing out the next character, Jeff announced that his next special will be taped in Dublin, Ireland, in May for Netflix. It will debut in August. The theme will be family. Jeff found out he is of Irish descent. To that end, a new character he tried out at Carnegie Hall was an Irish baby he was trying to get adopted:

  • Big head
  • Adult voice with brogue
  • Influenced by the other characters (“I keel you” from Achmed)
  • Much smarter than apparent age
  • Cursing (from Peanut)
  • Mother gave him up for adoption
  • Vaccination/shots – “Gin, rum, vodka”
  • Can’t walk, but can pub crawl
  • “All the drunks just think I’m a leprechaun”
  • “And that’s the new baby!”

Bubba J:

  • “I’m doin’ pretty good!”
  • “…watchin’ NASCAR and drinkin’ beer”
  • Twins
  • Wife
  • Running for president
  • “Press the flesh”
  • Debate/da bait, defense/da fence, Syria/Siri
  • Fracking: “Me and the wife are down to once a month”
  • “Say good night, Bubba J”

Peanut:

  • “Dat’s goooooooooood!”
  • (singing): “New York…..”
  • “Two infants at your age, how the hell did that happen?!”
  • Running gags (toward Jeff, into mic): “’cause you’re old”, “’cause you’re an a**h***”, “’cause I’m an a**h***”
  • Porn riff (“chicka-chicka-wow-wow”) – baby-related dirty talk
  • Caffeine zaniness – “It’s great!”, “Yes!”
  • Coffee enema
  • Lost a shoe – “No, dude, I found one”
  • Peanut fell off and his mouth was stuck open – after a few minutes of incoherent speech (“ahh***”), Jeff closed it
  • “Jeff-fa-fa”
  • “Nnnnnnyeow!”
  • Spoke to two men in the front row
  • Hearing aid joke (pretending to cut out)

Achmed the Dead Terrorist:

  • “Most beloved terrorist throughout the world”
  • Achmed’s origin story – tried out Dead Osama a year after 9/11, six blocks from Ground Zero – crowd loved act – retooled as Achmed starting in Spark of Insanity
  • “Greetings, American infidels!”
  • Usama Bin Laden is “dead dead”
  • “Do you know me, infidels?!” – cheers – “Thank you, I keel you (2x)”
  • “Achhhhhmed”
  • “It’s not funny!”
  • “Silence! I keel you!” – cheers – “Thank you, I keel you”
  • Achmed’s many kids: “…and Steve”
  • Games
  • Life story: “Once upon a time, (boom!). The end.”
  • Presidential election
  • “Oh! Bomb! Ah!”
  • Questions: “Dear Achmed…” – by my count, 19 questions – Favorite breakfast cereal: “Life” – Hugh Jorgen (huge organ): “I can’t believe you fell for that!” – Legs fell off, then arms, then ribcage

After one last joke, that was it. Since it was over, I resumed photography. There was one last bit of business for Jeff: a crowd selfie with his wife Audrey.

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Here’s how that selfie looked:

As you can see, balcony members weren’t in the picture, but I don’t mind.

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In all, Jeff was on stage for 2 hours and 13 minutes, leaving the stage at 10:29.

I took a selfie of my own a few minutes later:
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Then, I made my way down the stairs, through the lobby, and out the door. Merchandise was available in the lobby:
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Rather than walk back to West 53rd Street to take the E train again, I walked to 59th Street-Columbus Circle station.

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I took the 1 train back to Penn Station:
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I would have taken the 11:08 LIRR train to Wantagh, but there happened to be an 11:01 express train that didn’t make local stops until Wantagh. So, I boarded that one. There were some passengers that didn’t realize it was an express and had to change at Jamaica for the later, entirely-local train. It only took 43 minutes to get to Wantagh! Now that’s what I call express! I wouldn’t have arrived until 20 minutes later had I taken 11:08 train.

Thus ended my six-hour adventure. Jeff was hilarious, as always. I wish the show was available on video so I could watch it again and again. My notes and memories will have to do until then.

While I slept, Jeff was live on Facebook as his YouTube channel surpassed one million subscribers!

Congratulations, Jeff, and thank you to fans like me for getting the channel to a million and beyond.

Chick Corea Elektric Band at Blue Note October 21, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel.
4 comments

After a month away from the Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village, I returned last night to see the Chick Corea Elektric Band. It was the first of two shows in two nights. Tonight, I’m going to see ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham in the Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. Pictures aren’t allowed, so that recap will be all words. (10/22 UPDATE: The recap of that show is now up. I was allowed to take pictures before and after, but I was still quite descriptive. Jeff’s YouTube videos and social media posts are also included in the recap.)

After the seating issue when I went to see Lee Ritenour in August, I opted for a seat further from the stage last night. It was still cramped, but my table seat was against the wall, which meant I was free to get up to take pictures without getting in anyone’s way. It was quite a workout, in addition to the 7.6 miles I ran in the afternoon. I was seated across from Phil, an avid Chick Corea fan from Vancouver, and his wife Kim. They made the time before the show worthwhile.

Now, the backstory: Pianist, keyboardist, and composer Chick Corea turned 75 back in June. In honor of this milestone, Blue Note arranged a two-month celebration/residency, which began Wednesday night with the first of five nights of the Chick Corea Elektric Band. The residency ends with Return to Forever meets Mahavishnu (Orchestra, I assume) from December 8 through 11. That show will combine half of Return to Forever, Chick and drummer Lenny White, along with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin on guitar. Victor Wooten will round out that band on bass.

The Elektric Band featured its definitive lineup, first heard on Light Years, the band’s second album, in 1987.

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Chick Corea played keyboards:
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…piano:
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…and, during the encore, keytar:
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Eric Marienthal was on alto sax:
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…and soprano sax:
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Frank Gambale on guitar:
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John Patitucci on bass:
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…and Dave Weckl on drums:
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The 8:00 set consisted of six songs with extended solos. The songs were:
1. Trance Dance
Originally heard on: Eye of the Beholder, 1988

2. C.T.A. (Miles Davis cover)
Originally heard on: Paint the World, 1993

3. Jocelyn – The Commander
Originally heard on: To the Stars, 2004

4. Beneath the Mask
Originally heard on: Beneath the Mask, 1991

5. Silver Temple
Originally heard on: The Chick Corea Elektric Band, 1986

6 (Encore). Got a Match?
Originally heard on: The Chick Corea Elektric Band, 1986

The encore started with an audience call and response intro. Chick would play:
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…and the audience would echo:
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Then, “Got a Match”:
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The last note:
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After the set, I briefly caught up with drummer Dave Weckl and we posed for a picture:
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I had a longer conversation with saxophonist Eric Marienthal, whom I’ve seen perform many times: with the Rippingtons in 2005, David Benoit in 2006, at Smooth Jazz for Scholars in 2008, solo in 2011, and with the Jeff Lorber Fusion in 2014, my first time at the Blue Note.

Just as we were posing for a picture, bassist John Patitucci walked by and I asked if he could get in, too. He did:
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I interviewed both Eric and John on The Mike Chimeri Show over a decade ago. All interviews can be heard here. (Out of self-consciousness, I haven’t listened since editing them for air.)

The Chick Corea Elektric Band put on a thrilling show last night. If you’d like to see them and get the same thrill I did, they play at 8:00 and 10:30 tonight, tomorrow night, and Sunday night.

Here is the rest of Chick’s residency schedule:

  • October 26-30: For Miles
  • November 2-6: Three Quartets, the Leprechaun Band
  • November 9-10: Experiments in Electronica
  • November 11-13: Flamenco Heart
  • November 16-17: Chick Corea Big Band
  • November 18-20: The Piano Duets
  • November 22-23: Chick Corea & Gary Burton
  • November 25-27: Origin II
  • November 30-December 4: The Music of Return to Forever – Acoustic
  • December 7: Chick Corea with John McLaughlin
  • December 8-11: Return to Forever meets Mahavishnu

10/30 UPDATE: Highlights from all five nights of the Elektric Band at Blue Note were posted to Chick’s Facebook page:

2016 LIU Post & WCWP Homecoming, 2017 Hall of Fame Announcement October 10, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Football, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, Video, Weather.
7 comments

Earlier recaps: 2008, 2009, WCWP 50th Anniversary (2011), 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Later in this recap, I share airchecks from my pre-recorded Homecoming Weekend show that aired early yesterday morning. To see and hear my live show on Friday, click here.

After kicking off Homecoming Weekend on Friday, I returned to the campus of LIU Post for Homecoming itself.

On my way to campus, I put on WCWP, whose signal wasn’t entirely clear at first, and listened to the Post Pioneers‘ Homecoming game against the Saint Anselm Hawks. The game had begun moments earlier and it was already 14-0! As my mother turned toward the Abrams Communications Building, where WCWP is located, the Pioneers scored their third touchdown to go ahead 21-0.

When I made my way from WCWP to Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium, all part of my Homecoming Day routine, it was 35-14 with a minute to go in the first half.

Before standing by the gate adjacent to the field, I photographed the carnival rides in the parking lot:
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Skies were cloudy and the air was mild and humid. There was spotty drizzle, but not enough to scare me away. (My camera isn’t weatherproof.)

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Joe Szadok and Jeff Kroll, on the right end of the press box (their left), called the game for WCWP:
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The series of pictures below are the touchdown to increase the Pioneers lead to 41-14, followed by the extra point that made the score 42-14:
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The Pioneers would go on to rout the Hawks 63-20 (thanks to a missed extra point) and improved their record to 6-0.

On my way back to WCWP, I zoomed my camera lens to 300 mm lens as an Emirates airline jet flew low in its descent toward JFK International Airport:
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The spotty drizzle intensified to a light rain shower, so I had to put my camera under my jacket for the rest of the walk back. Except for walks to and from Hillwood Commons for snacks from the vending machine, I didn’t leave WCWP until my dad picked me up an hour into Mike Riccio and Bobby G.’s radio show. More on that later.

I was pleasantly surprised to see faces from my early days at WCWP, especially Joe Manfredi, the former director of operations:
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Also on hand were Billy Houst and Karen Fiorelli, who took this picture of Joe, him, me, and Jay Mirabile:
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Jay is my biggest champion, always propping me up on Facebook, complimenting me and my talents.

John Zoni hosted the halftime and postgame shows:
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Bernie Bernard, who once again had a show after the football game, spoke to Jeff and Joe, still in the press box, during the postgame show:
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Here’s Bernie, moments into her show:
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When she wasn’t playing music, she played host to a cavalcade of alumni, starting with Bobby Guthenberg, AKA Bobby G.:
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Next were Jeff Kroll, fresh from the press box, and Pete Bellotti to announce the 2017 inductees to the WCWP Hall of Fame:
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The 2017 inductees are Neil Marks, John LiBretto, and John March.

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Jay Elzweig gathered by Jeff and Pete’s mic to discuss his history with WCWP and “The Original Hootenanny” show:
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