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My experience at Day 1 of 2021 New York Comic Con October 9, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Art, Audio, Audiobooks, DVD, Health, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Technology, Trains, Travel, TV, Video, War, Wrestling.
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Other New York Comic Con recaps: 2012 Day 22014 Day 1, 2017 Day 1, 2018 Day 1, 2019 Day 1

I returned to the Javits Center on Thursday for the first day of this year’s New York Comic Con, my sixth time at the event. It was also the first time I set foot in Manhattan since a failed trip to Lisa Hilton’s performance at Carnegie Hall, nearly two years ago.

The days and weeks leading up to my trip were filled with trepidation. I felt anxious about what to expect. Would there be a capacity limit? Would I get scolded by staff or security? Did I waste my money on a badge? Why did William Shatner have to go to space, leading his events to be moved to the evening?

The day turned out to be as exciting as it was my last time at NYCC in 2019.

Under the assumption that I’d be meeting Shatner, I tweeted him about my concerns:

Been going back/forth on replying, but here goes: I have Asperger Syndrome, & I’m going to day 1 of NY Comic Con on Oct 7. I’m worried about what to expect, including photo op w/you that I bought. I’m hoping staff are nice, not angry/scolding. Will wear mask, of course.

Mike Chimeri

He replied encouragingly. I was hoping to link to that reply, but it seems to have been taken down.

Regardless, that led to many more replies from fellow fans. One fan in the UK made this suggestion:

Hi Mike, not sure if you have the same in the States, but in the UK we have a scheme where people wear a lanyard with sunflowers on, this signifies that the person wearing the lanyard may perceive life differently and to be a bit more understanding around them.

Mark ELVIS Goddard, @GBsBestElvis

He followed that up with…:

They are just a subtle way to let people know to be kind I work in the tourist industry & if a customer is wearing one we automatically know 2b kind & maybe a bit calmer around them, but they don’t have that awkward conversation of explaining why they don’t do lifts for example!

Mark ELVIS Goddard, @GBsBestElvis

So, I paid about $8 for a set of artificial sunflower heads. They shed like dog fur, but I proudly put one in my ticket holder above my badge.

My day began like any other Thursday since last April, in the days when the Javits Center was a field hospital for COVID patients: edit Wednesday’s Instrumental Invasion aircheck, make a scoped version for my blog, publish the blog post, and share the post on social media. That left me about 45 minutes to eat breakfast (a bowl of cereal), shower, and get dressed and packed.

An Uber driver picked me up around 9:00, dropping me off at Wantagh LIRR station within ten minutes. Once there, I bought my ticket and walked to my usual spot on the west end of the platform, above Wantagh Avenue. The train arrived at 9:28:

I was hoping for the new M9 railcar, but it was the old M7. Oh, well.

I listened to much of my aircheck on the platform and then on the train.

Penn Station has changed drastically since last January, as seen in these photos taken on the way back from Javits:

When I arrived at Javits, my Clear app vaccination voucher was scanned, then my badge, and I went through security. It was hassle-free, thankfully. I took the first photo at 10:42, snapping away until I reached the autographing area in hall 1E:

Knowing I’d be meeting Dee Bradley Baker, earlier in the week, I ordered a compilation DVD on Amazon of Phineas and Ferb episodes centered around Perry the Platypus, Dee’s character. Assuming I’d be seeing William Shatner’s panel at 11AM and getting a photo op at 12:10 PM, I bought a 1PM ticket for Dee. Thankfully, it was accepted at 11:00.

As I waited in line, I saw Dee and other celebrity guests assembling behind the curtain. I waved to Dee and he signaled back to me, pointing two fingers at his eyes and then toward me, as if to say “I’m watching you.” That was flattering. When I was next in line, I learned that photos were not allowed at the table; autographs only. I asked the representative if he had a photo op. Yes, at 3:40, an hour and 50 minutes before the rescheduled Shatner photo op would have been. I was fine with that.

Dee and I spoke briefly as he signed the DVD box art:

To Mike!

Dee Baker

Agent P (Perry’s code name in the O.W.C.A. [Organization Without a Cool Acronym])

Dee’s autograph

Then, he graced me with Perry’s signature vocal effect. We said our goodbyes and I proceeded to the sales table to buy my photo op.

It took half an hour because neither my credit nor debit cards worked and I had to withdraw cash from an ATM, then going on the line for cash payments.

I had 3 1/2 hours to spend until it was time to wait in the queue. What to do?

First, I bought lunch at the food court: chicken fingers with waffle fries and a Sprite. I ate as I finished listening to my aircheck. When I went to out my Bose SoundLink wireless headphones away, the ear cushion for the right channel came loose. I had to buy a replacement set from their website.

After that, I proceeded up to the show floor:

What?! Jerry “The King” Lawler and Jim “Good Ol’ J.R.” Ross?!

I was a big pro wrestling fan growing up, along with my sister Lauren and cousins Chris and Sam (Samantha). After another ATM trip, a dream of mine was fulfilled: an autographed photo…:

To Mike!

“King” Jerry Lawler (WWE) HOF 07

Jim Ross

WWE HOF ’07

Jerry and Jim’s autographs

…and a photo op with King and J.R.!:

As you can see, I wore my 2020 U.S. Open shirt, previously seen in my pretend Winged Foot photo.

Before the photo, I told King that I didn’t know he’d be there. True to form, he quipped that he didn’t, either, but found himself and J.R. there anyway, or words to that effect. Don’t quote me. All I know is my comeback was “yeah, that’s how it goes,” meaning that’s what happens. After the photo, I told J.R. how long I’d been a fan and that I really enjoyed his two books, Slobberknocker and Under the Black Hat, which I listened to on Audible. He thanked me. (I synopsized Under the Black Hat in my latest “audiobooking” post.)

I took some more photos on the show floor…:

…then went back to the food court for seltzer (sparkling water) and a cookie. I engaged in conversation with my table mates, then called a few friends, and texted Lauren and Chris with a photo of the photo:

There was still plenty of time, so I sought out room 1E01: the Quiet Room:

As the name suggests, it’s a place where you can silently contemplate. I used my time in the room to charge my phone and draft the post you’re reading now.

My plan to pass the time worked. 3:15 came and I walked to the queue:

I spent the next 20 minutes or so chatting with my fellow queue members, then it was time.

I handed a staff member my ticket, put my belongings on a shelf, and was reunited with Dee. Here is our photo:

I was looking straight ahead, so I didn’t know what expression he made. I love it: Jack Benny-esque.

I said goodbye again, grabbed my belongings, picked up my photo print, and left the Javits Center. I may not have seen and met William Shatner, but I made many lasting memories. I’m so happy with how the day turned out. I will definitely be back.

Incidentally, there are articles on Bill’s 6:45 panel – which I would have seen if it was still at 11AM – on CNN’s website and Mediaite. Mediaite’s article includes a YouTube video of the panel (by Gragon Productions):

I watched on Friday night. It was like I was there in person.

10/13 UPDATE: Bill’s space trip was this morning. I didn’t realize it would only be a few minutes, but those few minutes were literally awesome for him. Watch the Blue Origin webcast replay:

10/14 UPDATE: Then, watch the moment of apogee inside the capsule:

10/17 UPDATE: Blue Origin had one more video up their sleeve: a recap:

Back to October 7.

Here’s my photographic journey back to Penn Station:

I reached Penn at 4:05…:

…and took the 4:12 bound for Wantagh, which was another M7:

When I arrived in Wantagh at 5:02, my mom was waiting to drive me home. As it turns out, the Penn-bound train was an M9:

Back in my room, I took photos of all the day’s belongings:

POSTSCRIPT: While perusing the New York Comic Con site on Friday afternoon, I noticed George Takei, Bill’s Star Trek co-star, was in the Q&A portion of his panel. So, I watched, periodically taking screencaps. In addition to Star Trek, he fielded questions about the animated film Kubo and the Two Strings, the video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, his political activism stemming from internment during World War II (I ached as he told his story), and fond memories of Leonard Nimoy, another Star Trek co-star. One anecdote in particular was about how George saw Leonard perform in the play Equus on Broadway and Leonard returned the favor when George performed in the L.A. production. After the last question, George stood up, thanked the fans in the hall, and gave them Spock’s Vulcan salute. Now, how about those screencaps?

Well, thank you for making it this far. My next task is to chronicle the return of WCWP Homecoming Weekend. Till then, so long.

Instrumental Invasion, 10/6/21 October 7, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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The October 6 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was, yet again, recorded over three days: three segments on August 19, two on the 20th, one on the 21st. Pickups were also recorded on the 21st.

The playlist was created and annotated on August 18 and the script was drafted before recording on the 19th.

“Completely Yours” by Patrick Bradley was the latest recurring song to account for its presence on the smooth jazz radio charts at the time of recording. I first played it back on March 24.

After playing later versions of Cedar Walton‘s “Sixth Avenue” (with Eastern Rebellion) and “The Hello” by Chuck Loeb last week, I decided to play the originals this week. Cedar’s original recording of “Sixth Avenue,” on Soundscapes, was excerpted by The Weather Channel for local forecasts in the late 1980s. “Seguaro (sic)” by David Lanz and Paul Speer was heard into the ’90s. Chuck Loeb’s original 1991 recording of “The Hello,” on Balance, featured Nelson Rangell on alto sax. Since saguaro cacti are native to the Sonoran Desert, I got to reference Nelson’s whistling cover of “Sonora” by Hampton Hawes, a staple of his live repertoire. Here’s one such performance at Smooth Jazz for Scholars in 2012:

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

The aircheck includes a community calendar spot I recorded and my show promo.

Instrumental Invasion, 9/15/21 September 16, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, TV.
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The September 15 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days. The first hour was recorded on August 5, while the second hour was recorded on the 6th (segment one) and 7th (segments two and three).

The playlist was created on August 4 and annotated on the 5th. The script was drafted before each recording session.

I made a programming mistake in the third segment of hour one, which required careful editing and cutting down on the second talk break. Otherwise, it was the usual instance of segments running short with extra liners and elongated speech to compensate.

With construction in progress at the new neighbors’ house next door, I had to limit some recording to the evenings. Evening sessions are not easy as drowsiness sets in and my nose stuffs up. So, you can tell when I recorded based on the sound of my voice.

My talk-up for “Up All Night” by Kim Waters referenced USA Up All Night, USA Network’s Friday and Saturday night series. When Rhonda Shear was host, she read the title as “USA Up!…All Night.”

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

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):

Instrumental Invasion, 8/25/21 August 26, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Blu-ray, Comedy, Film, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, TV, Weather.
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The August 25 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was again recorded two segments per day, from July 15 to 17.

The playlist was created and annotated on the 15th and, again, the script was drafted as I recorded.

A few segments ran long, which required me to cut out information, such as what I hoped to share about The Goonies, which I watched on Blu-ray back in February.

The rest of the segments were barely short, requiring minimal padding.

I continued my tradition of playing songs that were excerpted for local forecasts/Local on the 8s on The Weather Channel. That included “Mirage” by The Rippingtons, “One Thousand & One Nights” by Shahin & Sepehr, “Go Wes Young Man” by Chris Camozzi, and “Happy Feet” by Steve Oliver. I first heard “The Way to You” by Nelson Rangell on CD 101.9. The point where I ended my talk-up is where the radio edit began.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

For the second week in a row, the left channel audio was barely audible. That means this aircheck is once again mono from the right channel.

Instrumental Invasion, 8/4/21 August 5, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, TV, Weather.
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The August 4 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded on June 24 and 25. Like last week, I did four segments one day and two the next day. Pickups were recorded on the June 26 and 27.

Continuing my streak of completing all preliminary work in one day, the playlist was created and annotated, and the script was drafted, on June 23.

A few segments ran long, which meant cutting down on my wordy talk breaks.

I was inspired to lead the show with “Devlin'” by David Grisman after seeing this video for the TWC Classics tribute site:

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 7/14/21 July 15, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Film, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Sci-Fi, TV.
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The July 14 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded on June 3. It was the first show recorded in one day since January 6, which was recorded four weeks earlier on December 9.

The playlist was created and annotated, and the script was drafted, on June 2, one day before recording.

In all, I worked on three shows in 12 days, between May 23 and June 3, recording them in a 10-day span, between May 25 and June 3.

Pickups were recorded from June 9 to 11, and on the 26th.

A few segments in this show ran long, but I didn’t have to cut much out to compensate.

I made a timing error for the second straight show, this time in the second segment of hour 2. That meant I had to replace “Altair and Vega” by Bob James and Keiko Matsui with “Au Naturale” by Chieli Minucci and Special EFX. The script for the talk break coming out of that song had to be revised, along with the tease at the end of the previous segment.

I called “Vulcan Worlds” by Return to Forever a “fascinating” song because Spock (Star Trek) was half-Vulcan and fond of the phrase “fascinating.”

I came up with “Wummers of Summer” two summers ago when I heard Steve Oliver‘s “Wings of Spring” on SiriusXM’s Watercolors. I’m glad to finally say that publicly.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 6/23/21 June 24, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Drama, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, TV.
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The June 23 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded between May 18 and 21. One segment was recorded per day on the 18th, 19th, and 21st (during construction next door), with three segments on the 20th. Pickups were recorded on May 23 and 24.

The playlist was created on May 17, with annotations and the script draft on the 18th.

Four of the six segments ran short, which required me to pad them out with additional liners and dialogue, shorten the talk-up – “Just So” by Boney James – or eliminate it – “Keepin’ the Faith” by Steve Laury and “Chi-Town” by Nick Colionne.

“Chi-Town” and Weather Report‘s “Birdland” were recycled from previous shows. I first played “Birdland” last July 8 and “Chi-Town” exactly 52 weeks ago.

I tried my best with instrument and musician pronunciations on Bob James and the Angels of Shanghai‘s cover of “Onara,” the theme from Dae Jang Geum. I’m proud of my talk-up for the preceding song, “Rainbow Gold” by Jessy J.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

11:43 AM UPDATE: In reference to guitarist Wayne Bruce, I said his alter ego was not Manbat, since Bruce Wayne is Batman. It slipped my mind that there is a Man-Bat supervillain whose real name is Dr. Kirk Langstrom. I had seen Man-Bat in Batman: The Animated Series when I watched the series over a few weeks in the fall of 2019. I regret the error, but I still get a chuckle out of my quip.

Instrumental Invasion, 5/26/21 May 27, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Country, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, TV, Video, Video Games.
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The May 26 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days. The first hour was completed on April 20 with a pickup on the 21st, while the second hour and additional pickups were done on the 22nd.

The playlist was created on April 18 with annotations and the script draft on the 19th.

It was a Brown namesake extravaganza with songs by Norman (guitar/vocals), Alison (banjo), Paul (guitar/vocals), and Dean (guitar), plus songs by Lisa Addeo – making her Instrumental Invasion debut – and Julian Vaughn that featured Mel Brown on bass. I’d love to see the five of them perform together someday.

For the first time in six shows, I had to replace a song because time was running short in a segment; in this case, the first segment of hour 2. “Through the Years” by Brian Culbertson was replaced with “Northern Lights.”

As I type this sentence, I have not played any version of Space Harrier, but through watching videos on YouTube, I’ve developed an appreciation for it. Thus, “Get Ready” by Jazmin Ghent (making her debut on the show) makes me think of the opening line in the game: “Welcome to the fantasy zone. Get ready!”

This video dares to compare every version of Space Harrier:

I also made reference to The Golden Girls. “Picture it!,” I exclaimed as Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) while acknowledging Nick Petrillo on keyboards.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 4/14/21 April 15, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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The April 14, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was painstakingly recorded over four days. The first hour was recorded in the early morning and mid-afternoon of March 9. The second hour took three days with the first segment recorded on March 10 on my laptop through an Apogee MiC 96k, and the last two segments back at home on the 11th and 12th. Pickups were required for a talk break in the third segment of hour 1 and one talk break in each segment of hour 2.

The playlist was created and annotated on March 7, and the script was drafted on the 8th. For the second week in a row, I made a timing error. Worse yet, two timing errors. In the last segment of hour 1, I put in a 4:32 song rather than 5:32. The replacement song faded out incredibly early, which still left me with too much time in the talk break that followed. I had to vamp. I made the opposite mistake in hour 2, inserting a 4:55 song in the second segment when I needed 3:55. The irony is the first segment was mainly comprised of songs that I had to cut from the last two shows, one due to timing and the other because of a wordy talk break. (9:35 AM UPDATE: I forgot to account for the replacement, which was from 2011. That meant listeners heard me refer in the vamp to a 2010 song that they wouldn’t hear until a week later.)

The inclusion of “Outside Solaris” by Clifford Marshall Van Buren is another of my loving tributes to the heyday of local forecast music on The Weather Channel. You can find an example of its usage on Matt Marron’s TWC Classics tribute site. I don’t always do this, but I prefaced the description of Solaris with “according to Wikipedia” to acknowledge my lack of knowledge. You learn something new every day.

The “fun fact” preface to the Dan Ingram tidbit was an homage to a catchphrase on the Technology Connections YouTube channel.

Picking up on what I said coming out of “Whispered Confessions” by Lisa Hilton, here is a side-by-side comparison of the song’s melody and what’s played between levels in the NES port of Pac-Man:

That remains a pleasant coincidence seven years after hearing the song for the first time at Carnegie Hall.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below: