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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This concludes the COVID-19 portion of the post.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1990s Debut Albums September 18, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, New Age.
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The last episode (for now?) of Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection is devoted to 1990s jazz and new age debut albums.

Note and links from the video description:
This episode was recorded in mid-July, a few weeks before guitarist Chuck Loeb passed away.

Chuck Loeb, “Life Colors” (1990): https://www.amazon.com/Life-Colors-Chuck-Loeb/dp/B000003DDE/

Dave Koz, “Dave Koz” (1990): https://www.amazon.com/Dave-Koz/dp/B000002UUL/
Dave’s website: http://davekoz.com/

Ken Navarro, “The River Flows” (1990): https://www.amazon.com/River-Flows-Ken-Navarro/dp/B000000JYI/
Ken’s website: http://www.kennavarro.com/

Fourplay, “Fourplay” (1991): https://www.amazon.com/Fourplay-FOURPLAY/dp/B000002LQ5/
Fourplay’s website: http://fourplayjazz.com/

Norman Brown, “Just Between Us” (1992): https://www.amazon.com/Just-Between-Us-Norman-Brown/dp/B000001AL7/
Norman’s website: http://normanbrown.com/

Craig Chaquico, “Acoustic Highway” (1993): https://www.amazon.com/Acoustic-Highway-Craig-Chaquico/dp/B00001NFR2/
Craig’s website: http://craigchaquico.com/

Down to the Bone, “From Manhattan to Staten” (1997): https://www.amazon.com/Manhattan-Staten-Down-Bone/dp/B000001YJZ/
DTTB website: http://www.downtothebone.com/

Steve Cole, “Stay Awhile” (1998): https://www.amazon.com/Stay-Awhile-Steve-Cole/dp/B0000062SV/
Steve’s website: http://stevecole.net/

Title music: “Wishing for Something” by Jay Dobbins, from “Anything for You” (2013): https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jaydobbins

Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection premieres July 31! July 14, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Jazz, Music, New Age, Personal, Video.
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It’s official: Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection will premiere on my YouTube channel on Monday, July 31! Each week, I will showcase select albums from my collection of over 1,200 jazz and new age CDs.

Unfortunately, out of fear of copyright claims, I will not be including excerpts from the albums in each episode, but I will link to Amazon, CDBaby, and eBay listings in the descriptions below the videos.

Here are the first four episode titles:

  1. “6 Albums from 1981”
  2. “1970s Debut Albums”
  3. “8 Albums from 1992”
  4. “2000s Debut Albums”

Watch the trailer video below:

Thanks to Jay Dobbins for the music, “Wishing for Something” from his Anything for You album, that I used in the trailer and will be the title music for the show.

Be sure to subscribe to my channel, and if you want, click the bell icon to be notified when new videos are posted.

Expanding my Christmas album collection again December 17, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Christmas, Jazz, Media, Music, New Age, Personal.
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2014 Christmas presents prior to unwrapping

Two years ago, I wrote about my love of Christmas music, which I incorporated into an extensive iTunes playlist. I listed all the albums I had compiled prior to 2013 and the albums I added that year. Last year, I updated the original post:

12/21/14 UPDATE: This year’s additions to my collection were A Smooth Jazz Holiday compiled by Nu Groove; Grover Washington, Jr.’s Breath of Heaven: A Holiday Collection, and A Soulful Christmas from Brian Culbertson. Tracks from those three albums, plus additional tracks from albums I already had, increase the duration of my iTunes playlist to 13 hours and 34 minutes!

This year, three new Christmas albums came out and I didn’t hesitate to pre-order either of them on Amazon.com. A pair of men named Kim released their albums in October. Kim Pensyl’s Early Snowfall was released on October 2 while Kim Waters’ My Gift to You came out two weeks later. Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band released A Big Phat Christmas WRAP THIS! on November 6. I added to the Christmas Music playlist three tracks from My Gift to You, eight from …WRAP THIS!, and nine tracks from Early Snowfall.

But that wasn’t all. About a year ago, my girlfriend gave me several Dave Koz albums, including A Smooth Jazz Christmas (Dave Koz & Friends) and December Makes Me Feel This Way. I didn’t take the time to listen to those albums until March. There were plenty of gems to be found, including a Hanukkah song (“Eight Candles”). Six songs from those albums were added to the playlist.

And just yesterday, I bought the instrumental tracks from David Benoit’s 2 In Love and Believe albums. I added “Guaraldi Medley” from Believe to the playlist.

Those 27 tracks, along with more material from the albums I already had, added another four hours and two minutes to the playlist; 17 hours and 36 minutes overall.

So far, the only person to hear my playlist this year is me. Since Thanksgiving, whenever I’ve gone for a run, or when I want to drown out music I don’t like in a store or restaurant, I listen to the playlist on either my iPod or iPhone. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I’ll share my playlist with family and friends, as I do every year.

Merry Christmas to all.

2013 in review December 31, 2013

Posted by Mike C. in Art, Audio, Commentary, Film, Health, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, New Age, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Radio, Technology, Travel, Weather.
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The following is an excerpt of an end-of-year post WordPress created for MikeChimeri.com.  Scroll down for my editorial.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,600 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

2013 was the first full year for the WordPress version of MikeChimeri.com.  April was a transformative month that saw my upgrade from a Nikon D3100 camera to a D5100, and finally join iPhone nation.  I upgraded from an LG enV3 to an Apple iPhone 5.  (I ended up giving my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 to someone very special.)  A week after those two upgrades, I documented the 2013 WCWP Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  A week after that, I was in Milford, Connecticut, for the first two-night Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit concert seriesApril also marked five years since The Mike Chimeri Blog was launched; MikeChimeri.com launched in May 2005, seven years before merging with the blog.

In addition to some new contemporary jazz releases, I broadened my musical horizons by adding Return to Forever, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, and various Christmas compilations to my collection.  I posted more expressway and parkway pictures.  I spent most of the summer scanning old 35mm pictures and recording cassettes and microcassettes to one of my hard drives.  I returned to LIU Post and WCWP in October for my annual Homecoming Weekend Show and Homecoming itself.  I attended Charlie Fillizola’s art exhibit at Wantagh Public Library.  And besides SJFS, I attended concerts in August, October, and November.

I didn’t mention this in any post, but there was one dark spot in 2013: the loss of my paternal grandmother, Marilyn “Mazz” Chimeri (née Garing), in early July.  She was the last of my grandparents remaining after I lost my maternal grandparents, Lennie and Arthur Rose, in June and November 2010, and my paternal grandfather, Carmen Chimeri, in December 2011.  I miss them dearly, but feel lucky to have known them for as long as I did.  I love you all.

I hope for the best in 2014, not only for myself, but for each and every one of you visiting this site.  Have a happy and healthy new year.

Expanding my Christmas album collection December 11, 2013

Posted by Mike C. in Christmas, Jazz, Media, Music, New Age, Personal.
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Christmas Night in 2010

For over 25 years, the holiday season is my favorite time of year. One reason for that is the music; sans vocals.

In my formative years, The Weather Channel would replace their regular Local Forecast (later, Local on the 8s) playlist for most of December with instrumental Christmas songs. Over the years, viewers heard excerpts from Christmas albums by David Benoit (Christmastime, Remembering Christmas), Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel (The Gift), Mannheim Steamroller (Christmas), Chet Atkins (East Tennessee Christmas), Vince Guaraldi (the soundtrack for A Charlie Brown Christmas), and compilations put together by Narada (The Narada Christmas Collection, … Volume 2) and GRP (A GRP Christmas Collection, GRP Christmas Collection II, …Collection III).

Between 2002 and 2009, I bought those albums and compiled them onto personal CDs to play at Christmas parties and at my house on Christmas Day. I even bought albums with music not played on The Weather Channel. Those include Russ Freeman (Holiday), Craig Chaquico (also Holiday), Kim Waters (Home for Christmas), Peter White (Songs of the Season, Peter White Christmas [with Rick Braun and Mindi Abair]), Ken Navarro (Christmas Cheer), Nelson Rangell (All I Hope for Christmas), Bob James and Hilary James (Christmas Eyes), Plan 9 (The 9 Days of Christmas), Fourplay (Snowbound), and Spyro Gyra (A Night Before Christmas).

Last year, I took a big digital step and made an iTunes playlist for my iPod, which took the place of the CDs at future parties and Christmas Days. Last week, I decided to take another big step and expand my Christmas album collection even further. I bought four Windham Hill albums (The Carols of Christmas, A Windham Hill Christmas, …Christmas II, …The Night Before Christmas), two Boney James albums (Boney’s Funky Christmas, Christmas Present), another GRP album (Making Spirits Bright: A Smooth Jazz Christmas), and one by John Boswell (Festival of the Heart). My favorite song so far on those albums is “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by saxophonist Richard Elliot. I’ve heard many arrangements of that tune, but never with the Jeff Lorber sound. Jeff arranged Richard’s rendition with Steven Dubin. (12/20 UPDATE: Inspired by Music Choice’s smooth jazz channel, I made one more purchase: Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm’s The Very Best of Christmas.  My favorites thus far are U-Nam’s rendition of “This Christmas,” and Gregg Karukas’ cover of “The Christmas Song.”) (12/21 UPDATE: Further inspired by a post on Smooth Jazz Magazine’s Facebook page, I bought an MP3 album: the instrumental version of Peggy Duquesnel’s All I Ask for Christmas.) (12/21/14 UPDATE: This year’s additions to my collection were A Smooth Jazz Holiday compiled by Nu Groove; Grover Washington, Jr.’s Breath of Heaven: A Holiday Collection, and A Soulful Christmas from Brian Culbertson. Tracks from those three albums, plus additional tracks from albums I already had, increase the duration of my iTunes playlist to 13 hours and 34 minutes!)

‘Tis the season for great music, great joy, and gratefulness.  With the purchase of eight additional albums (plus five since this was originally posted), I have more music to share with my friends and family every year.