jump to navigation

A day on trains and at the 118th U.S. Open June 18, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
add a comment

I spent 2 1/2 hours with my dad at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Saturday for the third round of the 118th U.S. Open.

It was the fifth time Shinnecock hosted the U.S. Open, and fourth since 1986. Counting this one, my dad has been there every one of the those modern four. This was my second time, having gone in 2004 when Retief Goosen won. It was his second U.S. Open victory. With my grandpa, my dad saw Raymond Floyd win in ’86, and, with his friends, saw Corey Pavin win in ’95.

Getting to and from Shinnecock Hills was an adventure. My mom dropped my dad and I off at the Wantagh Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station at around 10:45 AM. Dad bought our round trip train tickets, which required changing at the Babylon station, the end of that branch of the LIRR. We didn’t have to wait long as an eastbound train arrived while walking up the stairs to the platform. 20 minutes after boarding, we were in Babylon. We followed a few other fans that were bound for Shinnecock to another platform and boarded a Patchogue-bound train at 11:17. Just under an hour later, we were in Patchogue. Unfortunately, the Montauk train that would ultimately take us to Shinnecock wasn’t due to arrive in Patchogue until 1:17.

With an hour to spare, Dad and I walked to a nearby waterfront seafood restaurant, Harbor Crab, that he saw as we pulled into the station.

We both ordered Fish and Chips, which was delicious.

After paying the check and leaving a tip, with 15 minutes left to spare, we headed back to the LIRR station.

It took another hour to get to Shinnecock Hills, but we were finally there:

Dustin Johnson won the U.S. Open two years ago when it was held at Oakmont Country Club:

A monitor showed Dustin Johnson, the 36-hole leader, practicing before his disappointing round of 77 (+7):

I asked Dad to take a picture of me at the course map:

On the way home, I posted an edited version of the pic to Instagram:

My dad and I spent two hours or so at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the third round of this year’s U.S. Open. We spent more time traveling there round trip, though.

A post shared by Mike Chimeri (@mikechimeri) on

The iconic clubhouse:

2010 [British] Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Cantlay on the 13th green:

The 13th fairway:

Aaron Baddeley and Xander Schauffele:

Tyrrell Hatton’s ball in the 12th fairway:

This year’s Masters champion Patrick Reed after his second shot:

The 15th tee:

Aaron Baddeley after his tee shot:

This is what the leaderboard looked like before dry, windy conditions got the better of the players:

The 16th tee and 5th green:

Bryson DeChambeau’s tee shot:

Hideki Matsuyama’s tee shot:

In the distance on the 5th green are Ian Poulter and Brooks Koepka:

It didn’t occur to me that a day later, Koepka would repeat as champion.

The 17th tee:

The 18th fairway and green:

The main leaderboard:

The grandstand:

Baddeley and Schauffele completing their rounds:

DeChambeau and Matsuyama completing theirs:

Not wanting to get home too late via multiple trains, Dad and I headed for the merchandise tent, where I bought a ticket holder:

Then, we walked back to the LIRR station, a temporary stop during the championship, and waited 15 minutes for the train back to Babylon.

I hope to be at Winged Foot in 2020:

I hope traffic and transit is better in 2026:

Dad suggested Mom pick us up in Babylon rather than wait for a train to Wantagh. She agreed. The train arrived at the temporary station 20 minutes before its scheduled departure. Since the train was full up, it left eight minutes early. Unfortunately, it ended up in Babylon ten minutes late. The railcar my dad and I were in was standing room only. We found seats, but other passengers stood in front of us until seats became available at Mastic-Shirley. Chatter and loud young girls dominated the ride, and reached a crescendo when one girl, bless her heart, had a meltdown one stop from Babylon.

In all, Dad and I spent 3 1/2 hours traveling to Shinnecock Hills, an hour and a half traveling from there to Babylon, and about 20 minutes in Mom’s SUV back home. Though we spent less time at Shinnecock, it was still a great experience, especially considering Brooks Koepka ultimately won the next day.

The New York Metro Area has two more years of local majors. Next May, the PGA Championship will be at Bethpage Black Golf Course in Bethpage State Park – the first year its held in May – and, as seen earlier, the U.S. Open comes to Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck in June 2020. I hope to be at both.

For now, I’ll leave you with media links. While aggregating them, I noticed that the USGA was heavily criticized for their conduct during this year’s U.S. Open, but I chose not to look at those.

U.S. Open website:
118th U.S. Open Sights and Sounds: A Look Back at a Great Week
Final Round: Highlights Down the Stretch
Brooks Koepka’s 68 in less than 3 minutes

Fox Sports:
Brooks Koepka on winning the U.S. Open for the second year in a row
Brooks Koepka shoots 2-under to win the U.S. Open for the second year in a row
Joe Buck and Paul Azinger wrap up the 2018 U.S. Open

Newsday (Newsday or Optimum subscription required for all links):
Fans say attending U.S. Open a treat on Father’s Day
Mark Herrmann: Repeating at U.S. Open puts Brooks Koepka in elite group
Curtis Strange welcomes Brooks Koepka into back-to-back club
Long Island crowd gives Phil Mickelson a mulligan
Brooks Koepka wins, becomes seventh player to repeat as champion
LIRR: More than 78,000 passenger trips to, from U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

Golf Channel:
Back to back: Koepka wins second U.S. Open
Repeat U.S. Open win gives Koepka credit he deserves
Best Father’s Day ever: Bob Koepka soaks in son’s victory
Koepka: ‘It is much more gratifying the second time’
Koepka’s caddie pushed him to ‘keep plugging away’
Koepka’s Father’s Day gifts … just U.S. Open trophies
U.S. Open purse payout: Koepka clears $2 million

8/13 UPDATE: Koepka went on to win the 100th PGA Championship yesterday at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, coincidentally in his 100th career start. He is the fifth golfer to win the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in the same year. The first four were Gene Sarazen in 1922, Ben Hogan in 1948, Jack Nicklaus in 1980, and Tiger Woods in 2000. Tiger shot a final round 64, finishing two shots back. He congratulated Koepka by the clubhouse afterward.

Advertisements

SJFS 2018 Night 2 recap May 1, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Softball, Travel, TV, Video.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
16 comments

Other SJFS recaps: 20082008 meet-and-greet200920102011,20122013 Night 12013 Night 22014 Night 12014 Night 22015 Night 12016 Night 12016 Night 2, 2017 Night 12017 Night 2, 2018 Night 1

The 16th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit run by keyboardist Jay Rowe on Saturday night with the second of two concerts. The headliners were Nelson Rangell, Jessy J, Matt Marshak, and Paul Taylor.

Like last year, I got a limited amount of sleep in my room at the Milford Hampton Inn into Saturday morning due to nervous energy related to impending photo editing. I got 5 1/2 hours, and maybe another hour half asleep. At around 7:30, I took my laptop and its power supply to the lobby to mingle with any musicians and fellow jazz fan friends I saw. When I arrived, David Benoit, Marc Antoine, and Roberto Vally were seated at a table, so I said hello and sat one table over. When they left for the airport, I moved to a seat at an elevated table with outlets for charging. I plugged the laptop power supply into an outlet and spent the next few hours editing in that spot, occasionally getting up for hot chocolate.

There was a man that looked like film and TV archivist Ira Gallen. It turned out his name was John, and after apologizing for mistaken identity, I had a nice conversation with he and his wife Mary. My friend Mark Abrams also came in the lobby and introduced me to John Caramagna and his wife Barbara Grocki. And I briefly spoke to Kevin McCabe and Steve Lewis.

Also in the lobby, though I didn’t talk to any of them, was the Le Moyne College softball team. They were in town to complete their Northeast-10 (or NE-10) regular season against the University of New Haven. They lost the series, but ended the regular season with a 2-1 win Sunday afternoon while I was back home in Wantagh. Adelphi University, where my sister went for her master’s, is in the NE-10 and are the reigning conference champions. Le Moyne plays New Haven later today in the first round of this year’s conference championship.

Nelson Rangell and Jessy J joined me at the table for a while. We had a lengthy, interesting conversation, which included remembrance of John Patterson, who tragically, suddenly died in March. John came to SJFS in 2016 to promote the River Raisin Jazz Festival. I made a video of his promotional pitches from both nights and posted it to Facebook. I’d like to share it here.

I never met John in person, as I added him on Facebook afterward, but we had shared interests in music and politics, so I was glad to know him.

My friend Kelly was the last friend I saw in the lobby before I went back to my room. CNN was on the TV behind me and I was hearing viewpoints I didn’t want to. The secret to having and keeping most of my friends that are music fans or musicians is to avoid politics. Thankfully, Kelly is apolitical. After finishing editing Friday’s pictures in my room, I watched initial coverage of the remaining rounds of the NFL Draft. I hung out with Kelly for a half hour and then went back to my room. After watching some YouTube videos and SnapKay’s Twitch stream, 5:00 came and it was time for dinner.

My parents and I went to Mexico Tipico, where Uno used to be, on U.S. 1 right before I-95. We went there early because we thought we would have to wait. There was no wait and we were finished by 6:15. I had my favorite Mexican dish: plain chicken quesadillas without any other toppings or sides. I was back at the Hampton Inn for about five minutes, then Kelly met me in the lobby and we took the scenic route to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Part of that route was the building that’s home to The Dan Patrick Show:

The show is syndicated on radio stations nationwide and simulcast on Audience and NBCSN.

We arrived at the auditorium just before 7:00 and the doors opened at precisely 7:00.

Once inside, we went our separate ways until after the show. I set up in the orchestra pit, took a break in the lobby to buy 50/50 raffle tickets (I lost), and went back to the pit.

Once again, the show began before 8:00; eight minutes, to be exact. Kevin McCabe spoke first:

The opening act was the Foran High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jessica Shearer:

The ensemble played two songs, the second of which was “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione, but in a lower key than Chuck played.

Jay Rowe and his band came on stage at around 8:10.

Jay worked the keyboards:

Dave Anderson played bass:

Trever Somerville on the drums:

Steve Scales on percussion:

…and Rohn (“Ron”) Lawrence on guitar:

As I said at the top, the headliners were Nelson Rangell on alto saxophone (below), flute, and whistling:

Jessy J on tenor sax:

Paul Taylor and soprano (below) and alto sax:

Matt Marshak on guitar:

…and for two songs, special guest Marion Meadows on soprano sax:

Unfortunately, that was the only solo shot I took of Marion, but there are plenty on the first night.

SET LIST
1. Rosemary’s Tune (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Live at Daniel Street (2011), Smooth Ride (2016)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo)

2. Sunny Salsa (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Jessy J (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

3. Hot Sauce (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: Hot Sauce (2011)
Featured musicians: Jessy J (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo)

4. Tequila Moon (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: Tequila Moon (2008)
Featured musicians: Jessy J (tenor sax), Matt Marshak (guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

5. Lifestyle (Matt Marshak)
Originally heard on: Lifestyle (2014)
Featured musicians: Matt Marshak (guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

6. Sleepwalk (Matt Marshak; Santo & Johnny cover; Larry Carlton arrangement)
Featured musician: Matt Marshak (guitar)

7. Pleasure Seeker (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: Pleasure Seeker (1997)
Featured musicians: Paul Taylor (soprano sax), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

8. Arrival (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: Countdown (2016)
Featured musician: Paul Taylor (alto sax)

9. Over the Rainbow (Nelson Rangell; Arlen/Harburg ballad from The Wizard of Oz)
Musicians: Nelson Rangell (whistling), Jay Rowe (keyboard)

10. By Light (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (flute), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

11. Lookin’ Back (Matt Marshak)
Originally heard on: New York (2016)
Featured musicians: Matt Marshak (guitar), Marion Meadows (special guest) (soprano sax)

12. From the Start (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Matt Marshak (guitar)

13. All I Want (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: Live at Yoshi’s 10 Year Anniversary Special (2018)
Featured musicians: Jessy J (tenor sax), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

14 (Finale). Ladies’ Choice (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: Ladies’ Choice (2007)
Featured musicians: Everyone (Paul played alto sax)

Rohn didn’t play on any songs featuring Matt.

Here are groups of pictures by artist, starting with Nelson Rangell on alto sax:

Whistling:

…and on flute:

Jessy J:

Prompting the audience to clap on “Hot Sauce”:

They obliged:

Matt Marshak:

Paul Taylor on soprano sax:

Prompting the audience to wave their arms side to side on “Pleasure Seeker”:

Again, they obliged:

…and alto sax:

Jay Rowe:

Dave Anderson:

Trever Somerville:

Steve Scales:

Rohn Lawrence:

Pointing at Jay because it was his turn to solo on “Rosemary’s Tune”:

Wide shots, starting with Nelson and Jessy:

Rohn and Jessy:

Matt and Jessy:

Rohn and Paul:

Matt and Marion (MM and MM):

Matt and Nelson:

Jessy and Jay:

The finale: “Ladies’ Choice”:

The end:

The meet and greet began with Jessy J:

I brought my copy of Live at Yoshi’s 10 Year Anniversary Special for her to sign. I was the first person to pledge to the album’s PledgeMusic campaign. I also told her a funny story. When I pledged to her 2015 album, My One and Only One, I foolishly typed my name for her to sign rather than a personal message. So, when that album arrived in my mailbox, she had signed my name, “Mike Chimeri,” on the cover. It was like that early episode of The Simpsons – “Lisa’s Substitute” – where Mr. Bergstrom (Dustin Hoffman under the pseudonym “Sam Etic”) left a note for Lisa which read “You are Lisa Simpson.”

Jessy, Paul Taylor, and Marion Meadows used to tour as Sax and the City. Saturday night served as a reunion, which was 2/3 immortalized below:

Marion also took a selfie.

I met and posed with Paul Taylor myself:

I was happy that Paul remembered me when he saw me. “Mike!,” he exclaimed.

When I approached Nelson Rangell, he signed an empty envelope (or so I thought while working on the post). It read:

For my buddy Mikey!
(signature) Nelly

So, you can understand why I have a big grin on my face:

Here’s the envelope Nelson signed:

Waiting at the end of the line was Matt Marshak:

I hadn’t seen Matt since his November 2015 show at Houndstooth Pub, which was the first time I used my Nikon D5500 at a show. He was at SJFS two years ago, but I didn’t meet him afterward.

I couldn’t see the expression Matt was making above. I only knew he spread out his arms, so I spread mine out.

While waiting in line, I saw my friend Jay Dobbins and his girlfriend Philomena. Jay took three of the last four pictures. Kelly took the one of me with the envelope. After saying goodbye to Jay, Philomena, Steve Lewis, and photographer Steve Cooper, Kelly and I headed back to the hotel.

I got a half hour less of sleep and began editing in the lobby at 6:00 Sunday morning. It was quiet for the first hour or so, but I did meet Mike, who was going to drive Jessy J and David to the airport. Then, Jessy and David came downstairs. They liked the pictures I had edited so far. Later in the morning, I met Diane Roth and her friend Rich. We had a fascinating conversation. It turns out that envelope Nelson signed originally contained a framed photo from last year. Diane took the photo and gave it to him as a gift. While working on these recaps, I noticed that there was another unframed print in the envelope. I scanned it to include here:

After Diane and Rich left, Mark and Phyllis Abrams said hello, John and Mary waved goodbye, the Le Moyne Dolphins congregated, Kelly dropped in, and Nelson and I spoke for a half hour.

I was finished editing by 10:55. I put my laptop away, went back to my room to get my packed suitcase and tripod, left a tip for housekeeping, said goodbye to Kelly in her room, exited the hotel, and got in the car with my parents. Despite pockets of heavy traffic on I-95 in the Bronx, and on the Grand Central and Southern State Parkways, it only took an hour and 40 minutes to get home. Along the way, I watched a couple of YouTube videos on my phone (this and this).

After a few hours of decompressing, I chose pictures for the two recaps you’ve read. It was tough to get to sleep, but I think I got six or seven hours. I drafted the recaps yesterday and published them this morning.

Thank you for joining me on my journey. And thank you to everyone I spoke to and saw perform this weekend. Until next year, so long.

January 4 blizzard, January 5 aftermath January 5, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in News, Personal, Photography, Weather.
3 comments

There had been a few brushes with snow in the last days of fall and the first days of winter, but the first major storm barreled through Long Island yesterday.

The initial forecast didn’t call for more than a few inches, but as I expected, the accumulation prediction went up as the storm approached. Nassau County also ended up in the blizzard conditions that were originally supposed to stay in Suffolk, particularly central and eastern Suffolk.

My plan was to wait for the snow to end before shoveling it. Until then, I periodically took pictures outside my bedroom window.

I took the first picture at 8:25 AM, about two hours after I woke up:

9:41 AM:

11:52 AM:

2:07 PM:

4:06 PM:

An hour later, the last snowflake had fallen from the sky, but snow continued to blow off roofs, trees, and cars as winds gusted above 40 mph.

6:38 PM, before shoveling:

After shoveling the front porch, I stuck an 18-inch ruler into an area with flat accumulation; no drifts. I measured 13 inches of snow on the ground.

8:06 PM, after giving up shoveling until morning:

I felt guilty for giving up so soon, but I just didn’t have the stamina to go on. I went inside, watched The Big Bang Theory, played a couple of games on my Nintendo 3DS, and went to sleep.

I figure I got eight hours of sleep and was half-asleep thinking of shoveling for an hour. Finally, around 7AM, I bundled up and finished what I started. My dad had to leave for work, so he came out to help. My mom followed after that, but she wasn’t out for long. Dad went inside to get ready for work, then he came back out to drive there. I finished on my own for 45 minutes.

I took this picture at 9:18 AM, after grabbing my camera to shoot outside:

…where the rest of the pictures were:

There will be more winter storms this season, and I’ll post about them afterward. Until the next one.

Audiobooking 4 December 12, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Comedy, Country, Film, Game Shows, History, Internet, Media, Music, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Technology, Theatre, TV.
add a comment

Here is a list of all the audiobooks I’ve listened to in the 51 weeks since my previous “audiobooking” post:

These audiobooks got me through workouts, bedtime, long walks, and boredom.

In the case of Ron Perlman’s book, I found out after the “Legacy” chapter that Ron is politically active on social media. But I digress.

While I was obsessed with Game Show Network (now GSN) in the early 2000s, I saw plenty of Bill Anderson on Goodson-Todman game shows like Match Game and Password Plus. So, it was nice to be reacquainted with him and introduced to his music.

When you read a book, you don’t hear the tone and inflection that the author had in mind. Listening to Shelly Peiken read Confessions of a Serial Songwriter put what her words I read 16 months earlier into perspective.

Next year’s post will be #5, but will not mark five years of regularly listening to audiobooks. That milestone comes in a year and a half. In the meantime, I hope I’ve inspired you to give the above audiobooks a chance. Happy listening.

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.
1 comment so far

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: Justin Thomas.)

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

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.
1 comment so far

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…

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: , , , , ,
2 comments

(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:
iph102116001

iph102116002

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.

iph102116003

iph102116004

iph102116005

iph102116006

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:
iph102116008

iph102116010

iph102116011

The ceiling:
iph102116009

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.

iph102116014

iph102116015

iph102116017

iph102116018

iph102116020

Here’s how that selfie looked:

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

iph102116021

iph102116024

iph102116025

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:
iph102116026

Then, I made my way down the stairs, through the lobby, and out the door. Merchandise was available in the lobby:
iph102116027

Rather than walk back to West 53rd Street to take the E train again, I walked to 59th Street-Columbus Circle station.

iph102116029

iph102116030

iph102116031

I took the 1 train back to Penn Station:
iph102116032

iph102116033

iph102116034

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.

Joe Falco Documentary September 10, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Fire, History, News, Personal, Video.
1 comment so far

Five years ago, I posted my 9/11 experience, via a written summary of a portfolio I submitted in college a few months after 9/11. Two years after that summary, for my senior project, my dad Bill and I interviewed Joe Falco, an FDNY firefighter who survived the collapse of the World Trade Center’s South Tower. I never posted it to YouTube until tonight. Here is the resulting documentary, with pictures added two years later:

A day at the 2016 PGA Championship July 30, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, Books, Golf, Health, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
3 comments

I spent my Friday with my father Bill at the second round of the PGA Championship, held this year at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey. The championship was held two weeks earlier this year because of the Olympics. This is a photo recap of our day. Regular cameras weren’t allowed, so all pictures were taken on my iPhone 6.

A few months ago, I listened to the Audible version of Love That Boy, a book by National Journal senior political columnist Ron Fournier. (I ended up buying the book and then buying a copy for my dad for Father’s Day.) It’s mainly about his relationship with his son Tyler, before and after he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at age 12, about five years before I learned I had it. After the diagnosis, Ron began taking Tyler on trips to presidential museums and to meet a few living presidents, whom Ron covered while a reporter. My dad and I have also taken trips since my diagnosis: to golf tournaments, especially major championships. He used to go to golf tournaments with his friends and father, my grandpa Carmen. In particular, he attended the 1986 and 1995 U.S. Open Championships at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, and the 1993 U.S. Open at Baltusrol. Since 2002, when the U.S. Open was first held at the Bethpage Black Course in Bethpage State Park, we have been to six majors and a handful of regular tournaments. The majors we’ve been to, counting the one that’s the subject of this post, are:
2002 U.S. Open, 3rd Round – Bethpage Black Course
2004 U.S. Open, Final Round – Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
2005 PGA Championship, Final Round – Baltusrol Golf Club
2006 U.S. Open, Final Round – Winged Foot Golf Club
2009 U.S. Open, 3rd/Final Round – Bethpage Black Course
2016 PGA Championship, 2nd Round – Baltursol Golf Club

In 2005 and 2009, play was suspended due to thunderstorms (PGA) and darkness (U.S. Open). I watched the rest of those two majors on TV the following day. In 2009, I also went to the course twice before the first round; once with my mother Lisa and once alone. Here’s how that went.

Dad and I didn’t plan on going to this year’s PGA Championship, even though it was in the tri-state area, but earlier this month, my uncle Jim gave us two grounds tickets to the second round. We would be going, after all.

Rain was in the forecast for Thursday night and yesterday, which I thought would mean no trip or a wasted trip. But play was only delayed 45 minutes and the rain subsided shortly before we left Wantagh around 10AM. General parking was about a half hour away from Baltusrol at Oak Ridge Park in Clark, New Jersey. We arrived there a little after noon.

iPh72916001

Shuttles traveled to and from the park and Baltusrol around the clock.

iPh72916002

We got to the grounds just before 1PM.

iPh72916004

iPh72916005

The 2019 PGA Championship will be at Bethpage Black:
iPh72916006

iPh72916007

iPh72916008

iPh72916011

iPh72916012

We watched Soomin Lee, Joost Luiten, and William McGirt finish their second round starting at 16.

The 16th green:
iPh72916013

iPh72916014

iPh72916015

The MetLife blimp:
iPh72916016

iPh72916017

iPh72916019

iPh72916020

iPh72916021

The 17th green:
iPh72916023

iPh72916025

The 18th hole:
iPh72916027

iPh72916029

iPh72916030

The clubhouse:
iPh72916032

iPh72916033

We reached the practice green just in time to see Phil Mickelson leave it and make his way to the 1st tee:
iPh72916034

Phil won the last time we were at Baltusrol in 2005.

iPh72916036

In his second round, he recovered from a triple bogey at the 1st to shot an even par 70, making the cut at +1.

Gregory Bourdy chipping off the green:
iPh72916037

He went on to shoot a 68 after starting at the 10th tee. At -3 for the championship, he was six shots back of Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb (-9) after two rounds.

iPh72916038

iPh72916039

Brian Gaffney’s ball adjacent to the 6th fairway:
iPh72916040

Gaffney reached the green and was able to save par, but he shot a 74 (+4) in the first round and 73 (+3) in this second, missing the cut by five shots.

iPh72916041

The 7th fairway:
iPh72916042

The 11th tee and 10th green:
iPh72916044

From there, we watched two groups that started at the 10th:
1) Omar Uresti, Greg Chalmers (who had an autism awareness patch on his bag), Ross Fisher
2) David Muttitt, Smylie Kaufman, Zac Blair

iPh72916045

The view from the grandstand by the 10th tee and 9th green:
iPh72916047

Here, we watched a few groups:
1) J.B. Holmes, Brian Stuard, Hideki Matsuyama
2) Matt Dobyns, Tyrell Hatton, Harris English
3) Ernie Els (whose son is autistic), Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson

We left the grandstand before Jimmy Walker’s group reached the 9th green.

The 13th green:
iPh72916048

The aforementioned Harris English’s ball adjacent to the 13th fairway:
iPh72916049

He did make the cut and was five shots back (-4).

iPh72916052

iPh72916053

Walking through Patron Plaza…:
iPh72916056

iPh72916057

A misting fan:
iPh72916058

iPh72916059

iPh72916060

iPh72916061

iPh72916062

iPh72916063

After 4 1/2 hours, our day came to an end:
iPh72916064

iPh72916065

Since it was rush hour, the shuttle ride back to Oak Ridge Park took about 40 minutes. From there, Dad and I drove home, listening to the coverage of the rest of the second round on SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Radio. Heading up the coverage was the voice of the New York Giants, who play a half hour away at MetLife Stadium, Bob Papa. We arrived back at the house at about 8:30.

It was a memorable day at the PGA Championship. Thank you, Uncle Jim, for the tickets.

I will update this post after the final round.

7/31, 7:30 PM UPDATE: The rains came yesterday (Saturday) afternoon and suspended play until this (Sunday) morning. Jimmy Walker briefly trailed in the third round this morning, but regained the lead heading into the final round this afternoon. Moments ago, Walker held off defending PGA Champion Jason Day, and his own nerves, to win the 2016 PGA Championship. He won wire-to-wire, leading or tied for the lead after every round. Day showed class by congratulating Walker on the 18th green.

I’m glad to have been part of the tournament as a second round spectator.

7/31, 8:41 PM UPDATE: Post-championship links:
PGA/CBS Sports: Walker’s winning par putt
PGA/CBS Sports: Wanamaker Trophy presentation and interview
Nick Menta, Golf Channel: Walker bests Day by one to win PGA Championship
Kyle Porter & Robby Kalland, CBS Sports: PGA Championship 2016 leaderboard, highlights: Breaking down a wild ending

8/1 UPDATE: More links:
Matt Stypulkoski, The Star-Ledger: Jimmy Walker continues trend of first-time major winners
Steve Politi, The Star-Ledger: Jimmy Walker’s PGA Championship victory is a win for grinders everywhere
Hank Gola, The Star-Ledger: Is it still Jimmy Walker’s day if he had been paired with Jason Day?
Andy Vasquez, The Record: Walker holds off Day for first major
Tara Sullivan, The Record: Walker’s wire-to-wire act was dynamite (a reference to “dynomite!,” the catchphrase of J.J. Evans on Good Times, portrayed by namesake Jimmie Walker)
Michael Bamberger, Golf Magazine: Jimmy Walker Edges Jason Day, Wins 2016 PGA Championship
Art Stricklin, Golf Magazine: Party Awaits Jimmy Walker at His Home Club in Texas

8/2 UPDATE: Even more links:
PGA: Full Sunday Highlights
PGA: Full Tournament Highlights
PGA: Jimmy Walker’s Full PGA Champion Press Conference
PGA: Top 10 Shots of the 2016 PGA Championship (#9 spoiler: I saw John Senden on the practice green after he completed his second round.)