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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 15

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

Here is the interview:

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

Hank Neimark was Art’s first guest:

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

Several WCWP alumni were interviewed via Zoom:

Two of the Zoom guests were Stewart Ain…:

…and Steve Radoff:

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

Jay showed off his t-shirt:

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

Art also asked Jeff and Pat Kroll their thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

As you saw, Jeff Kroll ran the board again.

Joining John LiBretto…:

…and Hank Neimark…:

…was Rita Sands, appearing by phone.

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

They spoke to me in studio 2:

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

Here is my video of the first hour:

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

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

Sami J was on at 8PM with Total Access:

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

And his aircheck:

Saturday, October 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

JetBlue flight B6192 from ACK (Nantucket Memorial Airport):

Carnival attractions in the parking lot:

“Hoco”? That’s a new one on me.

The stadium entrance:

A play on Bronko Piersall Field:

The scoreboard:

The new press box and stands:

The opposite side:

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

Emirates flight 201 from DXB (Dubai International Airport):

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

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

Delta flight 4721 from BNA (Nashville International Airport):

WCWP’s transmitter:

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

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

Next, the aforementioned Bernie Bernard:

The first page of her playlist:

Jett Lightning was Bernie’s first guest:

Then, me:

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

Dave asked for a picture:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Art:

Nick:

Griffin:

Art’s notes:

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

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

…and the video itself:

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

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

Me with Peter and Sami:

John Zoni:

…and Tom Scavetta:

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

Art, Bobby G., Jerry Reilly, Joel:

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

Jett Lightning and Jay Elzweig:

Bernie Bernard:

Bernie and John Mertz:

A candid shot of Art Beltrone and Alan Seltzer:

…and posed:

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

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

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

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

And Bernie’s outro:

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

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

Mike Riccio:

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

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

Sunday, October 17

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

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

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

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

There’s also a video:

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 18

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

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

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

Show timeline:

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

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

Part 2:

Part 3:

And my pre-record-voiding appearance:

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

Art with the cake:

Hank, Jeff, Art:

Hank cutting the cake:

Dr. Cline:

Dan Cox reads County Executive Curran’s citation:

The citation:

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

60 cheers to WCWP! See you next year.

9/11: A 20th anniversary retrospective September 13, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Commentary, Fire, History, Internet, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, TV, Video.
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Saturday marked 20 years since the September 11 attacks. On the tenth anniversary, I posted part of an essay where I recounted my experience on that morning. I wrote it in December 2001 for an end-of-semester portfolio. Following the excerpt, I elaborated on the events of the day and how I coped.

In this post, I’ll elaborate further and share what has happened in the years since.

There were increased expressions of patriotism after 9/11, including flying American flags outside homes and wearing American flag lapel pins. We flew a flag and, for about two years, I wore a lapel pin, usually with a red, white, and blue ribbon attached. For a while, I also wore a patriotic button, but I don’t remember what it said. Here are photographic examples, starting with my friend Joe Horst’s 20th birthday party on October 3, 22 days later:

Sitting in Ehrhart’s Clam House in Freeport (part owned by my family) with Joe Horst, Scott Schoenberg, and Scott Condenzio

Side note: Joe was wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers t-shirt that day. Coincidentally, it was the 50th anniversary of the Shot Heard ‘Round the World: Bobby Thomson’s home run off Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca to win the National League pennant for the New York Giants. As Russ Hodges said on the Giants radio broadcast: “The Giants win the pennant!”

Back on topic, my 20th birthday, November 17:

Christmas at the Falco house:

Joe Falco, a family friend and FDNY firefighter in Engine 1 Ladder 24, survived the South Tower collapse. He was the subject of a documentary that served as my senior project. You can watch it here:

Ringing in 2002:

For eleven years, inspired by a news report I saw on New Year’s Day in 1994, I saved each year’s desk calendar pages and had friends and family throw them as confetti:

Throwing calendar page confetti

I saved and scanned the September 11 pages:

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? calendar 9/11 page, front
Back

It’s ironic that the Millionaire calendar question involved the Department of Defense. The Pentagon was one of the targets that morning. 9/14/21 UPDATE: Further irony involved a PAMS jingle for WABC (770 AM) during its Musicradio era: “Flight 77, WABC, nonstop…music.” Earlier in 2001, I discovered Allan Sniffen’s Musicradio tribute site and that was one of the jingles I listened to obsessively, assuming I heard it there if not elsewhere. Obviously, I could never listen to it the same way again. A variation was among jingles recorded by JAM Creative Productions, PAMS’s spiritual successor, for SiriusXM’s 60s on 6.

Weather Whys and Wonders calendar 9/11 page

Hosting The Mike Chimeri Show on March 1, 2002:

One last photo: July 12, 2002, heading back from Atlantic Canada aboard the Carnival Triumph:

The cruise embarked from the Hudson River side of Midtown Manhattan, taking us past where the towers fell ten months earlier:

Cruising past Lower Manhattan aboard the Carnival Triumph, ten months after 9/11

I still have the lapel pin, which I showed on social media Saturday morning:

On September 12, 2001, I added angel wings and a halo to the twin towers portion of a backdrop I made five years earlier for a home video/audio show I did with my cousin – The Chris and Mike Chimeri Show – based on a video bumper for The Late Show with David Letterman. I kept the backdrop up until September 30, 2019, during a basement cleanup. I photographed the backdrop for posterity before taking it down (for privacy, I’ve blurred my signature):

My family lit memorial candles in the backyard, as seen on the 14th, three days after the attacks:

I did not know any of the victims personally, but Cynthia D’Arpino, my learning assistant in ARC (C.W. Post’s Academic Resource Center), lost her brother-in-law Tim O’Brien who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. On the tenth anniversary, I photographed the TV when his name was read:

I did the same for Richie Muldowney:

Like Joe Falco, Richie was a Freeport native and firefighter, also serving in the FDNY, Engine 16 Ladder 7. He was among the 343 FDNY firefighters lost on 9/11. Beginning in 2011, I got to know his niece Lauren, mother Anne (who passed away in 2020) and surviving siblings: fraternal twins Kevin (Lauren’s father) and Colleen (Andello), and Mary (a.k.a. Mary Mo). I have yet to meet Brian, but for all I know, I met him, and Richie, when I was younger. My father Bill says it’s possible I saw Richie when I worked in Ehrhart’s Clam House (May 2000 to November 2001). In April 2012, Kevin married my mother’s friend and co-worker Mandy.

In 2013, I attended Freeport’s 9/11 memorial ceremony. The attacks led my dad to become a firefighter himself in 2002, in Truck 1, Joe Falco’s Freeport Fire Department company. I took a photo of him before the ceremony:

My father, Bill Chimeri, at Freeport’s 9/11 memorial ceremony in 2013

During the ceremony:

The following year, Dad and I ran (and walked) the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K.

Along the way, I photographed the new One World Trade Center (a.k.a. Freedom Tower)…:

…and a banner with Richie’s photo:

It’s become a 9/11 tradition on Facebook to link to the 2011 “My 9/11 experience” blog post, the Joe Falco documentary, and sometimes, a photo of the World Trade Center that I took in December 1999, after touring the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park:

Last year, a podcast host discovered my documentary and asked to use portions of it in a special 9/11 episode. I happily agreed.

A wealth of retrospective documentaries have aired on various channels this year and I’ve watched them all. It may be a cliche, but we can never forget. Those documentaries are a permanent reminder of what happened, along with stories of survival and how the victims’ children have grown into adulthood.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to muster up a blog post to mark the 20th anniversary, but here we are. Thank you for reading.

9/16/21 UPDATE: Game Dave‘s latest video is a Q&A edition of Digitally Distracted. For that video, I submitted a 9/11-related question, which he answered (video cued up to relevant portion):

Mini golf in Bethpage, walking the Jones Beach boardwalk August 6, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Aviation, Golf, Personal, Photography, Travel.
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My friend Kelly visited from Connecticut last weekend. Among our Saturday exploits were a round of mini golf at Bethpage Mini Golf, located within Batter Up, and a walk along the Jones Beach boardwalk.

First, the mini golf photos:mc73121001-smallermc73121002-smallermc73121003-smallermc73121004-smallermc73121008-smallermc73121006-smaller

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Kelly kept score:bethpageminigolf-73121-1
Upon scanning the card when we got home, I noticed that there was a five-stroke limit, rendering the score incorrect.

Here is the corrected scorecard:bethpageminigolf-73121-correction-1

After about an hour at home, Kelly and I headed down to Jones Beach to walk the boardwalk.

We drove south on the Wantagh Parkway:
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I periodically photographed planes that had taken off from Republic Airport… or were approaching John F. Kennedy International Airport. This one just left Republic:MC73121044MC73121045-smallerMC73121046-smallerMC73121047-smallerMC73121048-smallerMC73121049-smallerMC73121050-smallerMC73121051-smallerMC73121052-1-smallerMC73121053-1-smallerMC73121054-smaller
We briefly drove west on Ocean Parkway before turning into Field 4:
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We parked in the H section:MC73121059-smaller
This is one of many planes approaching JFK:MC73121060

Thanks to FlightStats, I was able to identify each plane. Above was JetBlue Flight 4 from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (San Juan).

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9/11 memorial:MC73121065-smallerMC73121067-smaller
This was the best view of the water tower:MC73121068-smallerMC73121069-smallerMC73121070-smaller
AgustaWestland AW109, owned by Area 109 in Brooklyn:MC73121071MC73121072-smallerMC73121073-smallerMC73121074-smaller
Kelly and I posted for photos along the south end of the boardwalk. Here’s mine:MC73121076-smaller
Lufthansa Flight 10 from Franz Josef Strauss Airport (Munich):MC73121077MC73121078-smallerMC73121079-smallerMC73121080-smallerMC73121081-smallerMC73121082-smaller
This GA (general aviation) aircraft was arriving at Republic: MC73121083MC73121084-smaller
Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater:MC73121085-smallerMC73121086-smallerMC73121088-smallerMC73121089-smaller

We turned back for Field 4 just shy of the East Bathhouse.

EgyptAir Flight 985 from Cairo International Airport:MC73121091MC73121092-smallerMC73121094-smallerMC73121095-smallerMC73121096-smallerMC73121097-1-smallerMC73121098-smallerMC73121099-smallerMC73121100-smallerMC73121101-smaller
I didn’t notice a rainbow in the sprinkler stream until editing on Monday:MC73121103-smaller
Aer Lingus Flight 305 from Dublin Airport:MC73121104
A close view of Jones Beach Theater off Bay Parkway:MC73121106-smaller
Back on Wantagh Parkway:MC73121107-smallerMC73121108-smallerMC73121109-1-smallerMC73121110-1-smallerMC73121112-smallerMC73121114-smallerMC73121115-smallerMC73121116-smallerMC73121117-1-smallerMC73121118-smaller

From here, Kelly and I traveled west on Merrick Road for dinner at La Piazza in Merrick.

It was a fun afternoon, and weekend, for both of us.

Instrumental Invasion, 4/28/21 April 29, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Rock, Travel, Video.
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The April 28, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over four days. One segment was recorded per day on March 23 (at home) and 24 (away on my laptop), and two per day on the 25th and 26th, both at home.

The playlist was created on March 21 and annotated on the 22nd, after which the script was drafted. While drafting, I forgot to include a tidbit about David Benoit‘s cover of “Your Song” by Elton John. The original came out in David’s last year of high school and he’s been a fan of Elton ever since. I added that tidbit in a March 27 pickup.

There were plenty more tidbits to go around, including one that required a pickup to make clear I was saying “funky” and not some other word. The personal tidbits are true and I have photographic evidence. Here I am in Florida at Christmastime in 1992, possibly the day that Cedar Walton‘s Manhattan Afternoon was recorded:

And this was taken during that trip on March 28, 2004, wherein I listened to “Expression” by Joyce Cooling and other songs on This Girl’s Got to Play:

One tidbit, however, was cut for time in the first segment:

Here is the cover of “Palladium” by Weather Report that I recommended in the outtake:

As for what aired, click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

February 18-19 winter storm February 21, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Personal, Photography, Weather.
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After an unexpected quick inch of snow last Wednesday night into Thursday, we lucked out with the next few storms. They were either next to nothing or mild and rainy. Plenty of melting occurred with the mild rain this Monday night into Tuesday.

Our good fortune ended Thursday with a two-day winter storm, but snow accumulation was minimal: four inches on Thursday and two on Friday, along with a coating of sleet.

Here’s a photographic timeline, starting at 7:50 AM Thursday:

10:27 AM:

12:47 PM:

2:16 PM:

4:21 PM:

5:30 PM, after my dad Bill used the snow blower:

6:17 PM:

There was no new accumulation when I woke up Friday morning. I took the first photo of the day at 8:02 AM:

About ten minutes later, sleet was falling:

10:20 AM, after shoveling:

12:41 PM, with new snow accumulation:

2:41 PM, after additional shoveling:

5:10 PM:

One more shot of snow came through as it got colder, seen at 7:44 PM:

I took the last photo at 8:58 PM:

I didn’t bother shoveling the next morning. I just let the sun do its thing.

It doesn’t appear any measurable snow is coming anytime soon. If that changes, I’ll post about it.

February 7 snowstorm February 8, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Football, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, TV, Weather.
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Hours before Super Bowl LV, a fast-moving snowstorm gave us 5 inches of wet snow.

The forecast called for snow to start before dawn, but it hadn’t started when I first looked out the window at 7:07 AM:

By the time I returned to my room at 10:13 after running on the treadmill, snow had begun:

12:02 PM:

The heaviest snow was in progress at 1:18:

2:49:

4:07:

My dad Bill took these backyard photos from the back door at 4:54 while the snow was winding down:

And this one on the front porch a few minutes later:

I took these:

By 5:07, snow blowing had commenced:

Along the way, the clouds broke:

Then, the two of us shoveled. I was finished by 5:40 and took these photos:

Meanwhile, Dad walked through the backyard for this batch of photos:

Dinner and Super Bowl LV awaited. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs by the score of 31-9. (Links: NFL, ESPN, Tampa Bay Times)

I took one more photo outside my bedroom window at 10:38, as CBS‘s post-game show was wrapping up:

The next round of snow is a quick inch or two on Tuesday, followed by a storm that could last as long as last week’s, albeit with less accumulation. We’ll see.

January 31-February 2 snowstorm February 3, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Film, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Weather.
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I said in the last winter storm post that “there will be storms this winter.” It took until the last hours of January for the next storm to come, lasting nearly two days and dropping 17 inches of snow.

The first snowflakes fell at around 8PM on Sunday, January 31. I took this photo at 8:05 before going to bed:

After a broken eight hours of sleep, I was up for the day, taking this photo at 6:28 AM on Monday, February 1:

8:25 AM:

Following my morning workout, and a botched attempt at treadmill running, I returned to my room, taking these photos at 9:13:

Snowflakes were thicker at 9:53:

In the next few hours, I began watching The Goonies on Blu-ray, along with special features, and worked on the March 10 Instrumental Invasion playlist. I took a break at 12:43 PM for the next photographic update:

Any photo of the backyard was risky, as the wind gusted out of the northeast (it was a nor’easter, after all):

The snow seemed to be tapering off by 1:53, so I attempted to shovel part of the driveway after taking another batch of photos:

Before photo:

I measured 15 inches of snow on the lawn with a wooden 18-inch ruler.

After photos, 58 minutes later (2:54 PM):

For the second storm in a row, I initially felt I had wasted my time shoveling. Snow re-intensified as I shoveled and it re-accumulated. My goal was to shovel a path from my dad Bill’s car on the side of the driveway to the front door. But when he came home around 4:00, he had to park in the road. The snow I had left for the snow blower to get was too high. I wasn’t sure if he’d use the blower right away, but work began at 4:25:

At one point, Dad let me try out the snow blower. I asked my mom Lisa to capture the moment:

Working around the visible license plate, here is my edit of Mom’s video:

Having gotten the hang of it, I let Dad finish up:

It took 30 minutes to clear all that snow. Now, Dad was able to move his car into the driveway:

I took photos these at 5:13, after ten minutes of touch-up shoveling:

Unfortunately, the snow was still not over. Another two inches would fall by the early morning hours of Tuesday, February 2. I took this last photo of the 1st at 6:46, shortly before an early bedtime:

I got a broken 8 1/2 hours of sleep this time and woke up at 4:59 AM. Two minutes later…:

After watching more of The Goonies, I decided it was time for one last touch-up at 6AM. I used a 12-inch ruler to measure the additional snowfall in the driveway: 2 inches, making for 17 in all. It must have taken half an hour to shovel the driveway and then another half-hour to shovel the sidewalk up to the property line.

Starting at 7:04, I captured the after photos:

Unfortunately, a plow came through within the hour, which undid my edge work.

I took indoor photos at 7:10:

My Tuesday proceeded from there. Wet snow showers came in the afternoon, but didn’t accumulate. I did a little more shoveling around 4:00, taking this indoor photo at 4:37:

Snow showers persisted after sunset when temperatures were back below freezing. That meant the snow stuck to the ground, as seen at 7:18:

I initially tried to shovel the new accumulation on the morning of Wednesday, February 3, but it was merely a coating, so I left it.

Tuesday was also Groundhog Day, and if you’re wondering, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. That means six more weeks of winter and more storms to photograph. The next one is expected on Super Bowl Sunday. Until then.

December 16-17 winter storm December 19, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Personal, Photography, Radio, Technology, Weather.
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It had been nearly three years since I last encountered a major winter storm in the winter, and less than that since a major storm that hit in early spring. I didn’t have to shovel snow in the winters of 2018-19 or 2019-20, and the snow blower that my dad Bill bought after the January 2018 blizzard remained in the garage. As winter 2020-21 approached, that blower would finally be put to use. While checking the weather on my Weather Underground app on December 12, I saw that up to a foot of snow was forecast for the 16th. Forecasts are variable, especially days in advance, but I prepared myself for shoveling and blowing.

We ended up with a mix of snow, sleet, and wet snow between mid-afternoon Wednesday (the 16th) through early afternoon Thursday (the 17th), leaving about six inches of accumulation.

Here is a photographic timeline starting at 3:41 Wednesday:

5:05 PM:

7:36 PM:

I tried to go to sleep around 8:00, sleeping intermittently overnight.

I was up at 2:20 AM Thursday, shortly after checking the aircheck of the 9PM Instrumental Invasion, relieved that the end wasn’t cut off in automation. Here was the view from my window at that time:

After another 2 1/2 hours of sleep, I was up at 5:40 AM to take this shot:

7:55 AM:

I kept the window closed for backyard shots starting here:

9:35 AM:

The sun peaked out at 9:54:

11:08 AM, before shoveling and snow blowing:

The view from the kitchen window:

Front door:

While I shoveled, Dad ran the snow blower:

He asked if I wanted to try, but I declined.

Unfortunately, snow continued to fall as I shoveled and Dad used the snow blower. After a shower, I noticed the skies had cleared, so I attempted to shovel again after the next few photos at 12:16 PM:

The window is open again:

The snow was too dense for me to shovel entirely, so I gave up after about 20 minutes. I felt defeated, and said as much on Facebook, but was reassured by my friends and Dad. These photos were taken at 12:44 PM:

I took what I thought would be the last photo at 1:03 after Dad left for his office (he cleared off his car before he left):

When I noticed melting at 2:45, I decided to take more photos:

This is as far as I could shovel:

I took still another photo at 4:48 PM after Dad came home and my mom Lisa cleared off her car:

I’m hoping that the next winter storms are all snow and easier to shovel. I have no doubt in mind that there will be storms this winter, and my dad and I will be ready for them.

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.)

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

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

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

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

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

Guest reading at my old elementary school: Year 5 March 5, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Books, Education, Personal, Photography.
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Other guest reading posts: 20152016, 2017, 2018

Monday simultaneously marked my fifth National Read Across America Day at Leo F. Giblyn School in Freeport (where it’s known as Guest Reader Day), and the fifth anniversary of my debut.

I was unable to attend last year as I was in South Florida for my cousin’s wedding, but Meghan Carney allowed me to read to her class a month and a half later.

Unfortunately, Lori Downing, the teacher who first invited me to be a guest reader five years ago, couldn’t make it this year due to a death in the family. She graciously lent me her classroom as my home base for the day. I hung out there between reading sessions.

This year also had a theme: Be Kind, based on Pat Zietlow Miller’s book of the same name. The day began with an assembly for students in the cafetorium (cafeteria/auditorium), hosted by Gina Newcombe. There were separate assemblies for kindergarten through second grade, and for third and fourth graders. I attended the first assembly.

An introductory video featured messages from faculty – including principal Amanda Muldowney and assistant principal Amy Lederer – and slides, the latter of which can be seen here:

Next, Lisa Eisenberg presented a few scenarios based on book excerpts. They were acted out by Larraine Brown, Stephanie Huggard, George DiGiovanni, and Wendy Connelly. Each scenario had an unkind and kind version, prefaced by Mrs. Eisenberg.

After the first assembly, I returned to Mrs. Downing’s room. I hadn’t received the schedule yet, so I didn’t know who I’d be reading to or when. Mrs. Huggard provided the schedule once the second assembly was over.

In the next five hours, I read ten books to six classes (denoted in parentheses), mostly by Dr. Seuss:

Fox in Socks, my last book of the day, was quite a workout. It was an epic, riddled with tongue twisters.

The three non-Dr. Seuss books were:

There was mutual admiration. The students and faculty love me and I love them back. I’m grateful for the opportunity every year to act out the books I read, putting smiles on everyone’s faces. Thank you all.

Until next year, I’ll leave you with a collage of candid photos all the teachers took as I read: