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Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall: 2018 edition January 14, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, TV, Weather.
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Previous Lisa Hilton recaps: June 2011January 2014January 2015, January 2016

Thursday night marked my first time at Carnegie Hall since I saw comic ventriloquist Jeff Dunham 15 months ago, and my first time seeing jazz pianist Lisa Hilton in two years. (I couldn’t make last year’s show.)

As with all Carnegie shows, I was not allowed to take pictures during the performance. That means I have to compensate by describing what I saw and photographing what happened before and after. That’s not a complaint; just an explanation.

Until my dad drove me to the Wantagh LIRR station at 4:40, it was a typical Thursday for me: grocery shopping, treadmill running, and YouTube and Netflix watching.

As I waited on the platform for the 4:59 Penn Station-bound train to arrive, I took a couple of pictures, the first ones taken on my iPhone X, a generous Christmas gift.

About 50 minutes later, I was at Penn Station, where I walked to the 34th Street subway station and took an uptown E train to 7th Avenue and West 53rd Street.

All but one of the remaining pictures in this post were taken on my Nikon D5500:

When I exited the train, I was greeted by the Ed Sullivan Theater, home to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert since September 2015. (David Letterman retired that May.)

I planned on eating dinner at Lindy’s, but was walking up Broadway when I should have been on 7th. So, I missed it.

I turned east at West 56th Street, but couldn’t find a restaurant I liked. I did take pictures along the way.

I turned north up 6th Avenue and then west at West 57th.

I figured I would try the Russian Tea Room:

The staff seated me at a booth, generously moving the table so I could get in. Unfortunately, there was nothing on the menu to my liking. I apologetically relayed that to the waiter and left. I felt embarrassed, but I’m sure you, the reader, feel I shouldn’t have been. At least I can say I’ve been to the Russian Tea Room.

I passed by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, where Lisa Hilton was to perform, and found a restaurant on 7th Avenue called 9Ten:

The atmosphere was great. Contemporary jazz was playing on the speakers through what I assume was Pandora. I recognized “Max-O-Man” by Fourplay, Eric Marienthal’s cover of “Work Song” by Cannonball Adderley (written by his brother Nat), “Slammin'” by Nick Colionne, and “Step On It” by Pieces of a Dream.

As I waited for my food, I took a selfie on my iPhone X:

The food was great: mozzarella sticks, Penne Bolognese, and vanilla and chocolate ice cream.

On my way back to Carnegie Hall, I could see Times Square to the south. The ball was still there, eleven nights after it dropped:

I walked in to the Weill Recital Hall at 7:07. I had to wait in the lobby for about 20 minutes until the hall doors were opened. I was the first to arrive, but within 15 minutes, the lobby was packed. I briefly heard Lisa Hilton and her band rehearsing.

A few minutes after the doors opened, my ticket was checked and I walked into the hall. As usual, my seat was front row center, though barely right-of-center.

As I waited for Lisa and the band to come out, I took a few pictures:

I should have taken a picture of the audience behind me. The turnout was big at the orchestra level where I was. They were ready for a great performance.

Lisa came on stage at 8:07, followed closely by J.D. Allen on tenor saxophone, Luques Curtis on upright bass, and Rudy Royston on drums.

Most of the songs in the set list were from Lisa’s Escapism album, which she composed music for between April and July, and released on December 1. Thursday night was the first time the music of Escapism was performed live. Weill Recital Hall doesn’t have a sound system, so the instruments relied on the acoustics of the hall for amplification. I couldn’t tell. It sounded great; it always does.

1/17 UPDATE: Lisa posted a few of Justin Bettman’s pictures from the set to her Facebook page:

I’m in the center, to the left of J.D.:

Talking to the audience between songs:

The set was about an hour and contained the following songs:
1.
Hot Summer Samba
2. Meltdown (also on Sunny Day Theory, 2008; and Nuance, 2010)
3. Zero Gravity
4. Too Hot (not a cover of Kool & the Gang)
5. 29 Palms
6. Mojave Moon
7. Waterfall (from Cocktails at Eight, 2000)
8. A Spark in the Night (from Nocturnal and Day & Night, 2016)
9. So This is Love (from My Favorite Things, 2005; Sunny Day Theory, 2008; Nuance, 2010; and Day & Night, 2016)
10 (Encore). Seduction (from Seduction, 1997; Cocktails at Eight, 2000; My Favorite Things, 2005; and The New York Sessions, 2007)

J.D. didn’t play on “Meltdown” or “29 Palms.” He had a solo at the end of “Seduction,” which was otherwise performed as a trio. “Waterfall” was a solo piano piece, considering its origin on Cocktails at Eight, a solo piano album.

“Hot Summer Samba” was reminiscent of “Tequila” by The Champs. “Too Hot” was inspired by a trip to New Zealand in extreme heat. “Zero Gravity” brought to mind astronauts floating aboard a space shuttle. “Waterfall” initially had a Celtic feel, but then tensed up. Two years later, I still think “A Spark in the Night” had a Latin feel. Specifically, it reminded me of drummer John Favicchia‘s “Kukuc,” but at a slower tempo. That might be why “Spark” was my favorite song in the set.

I caught up with Lisa afterward, and then got to meet J.D. Allen and Luques Curtis. We all posed for a picture:

I put my coat and backpack on and left. I impatiently opted for the stairs over the elevator, then briskly walked north and west to the 59th Street-Columbus Circle subway station.

The station is adjacent to the Time Warner Center, home to CNN’s New York bureau:

As you can see, I arrived just as the downtown 1 train arrived. I boarded it and put my camera away for the night.

Thanks to Lisa, J.D., Luques, and Rudy for a great hour of music in the Weill Recital Hall. I hope to be back next year.

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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.
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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.

Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour at Tilles Center December 4, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Comedy, Education, Football, Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, TV.
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Saturday night, my friend Lori Downing and I saw the Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of my college alma mater, LIU Post. Saxophonist Dave Koz’s friends are guitarist Peter White, horn player Rick Braun, pianist David Benoit, and singer Selina Albright, daughter of saxophonist Gerald Albright. (She plays the sax, too.) The rest of the band was made up of music director Randy Jacobs on guitar, Brian Simpson on keyboards, Nathaniel Kearney Jr. on bass, and Jay Williams on drums.

There are 149 pictures waiting below, but first, the backstory.

This was my first time at Tilles for something not involving WCWP since July 2009 when I saw John Tesh perform. It was also my first concert since Smooth Jazz for Scholars in May. Rick Braun was there for the first night.

I have been meaning to see Dave in concert for almost 11 years. My dad bought tickets to Dave’s Valentine’s Day show at Best Buy Theater in Manhattan in 2007, but an ice storm kept us from going. Four Februarys later, I had another opportunity to see Dave at the same theater with my friend, and loyal Dave Koz fan, Kelly Dacey. Unfortunately, plans came up for her and I missed out again.

For four years in a row, I saw Peter White Christmas – a spin-off of sorts of Dave’s Christmas tour featuring Peter and Rick Braun, along with saxophonist Mindi Abair – at the defunct IMAC (Inter-Media Art Center) in Huntington. (Here’s my recap of my fourth year.)

This year, to use a cliche, Dave got the band back together to mark the 20th anniversary of his tour. The inaugural tour coincided with his first Christmas album, December Makes Me Feel This Way. With Peter, Rick, and David Benoit, whom I hadn’t seen perform since five days before Hurricane Sandy, on board, I felt compelled to finally see Dave in concert. When I noticed in early September that the tour was coming to the Tilles Center on December 2, I immediately bought two tickets, inviting my friend Lori Downing to come with me. I picked those tickets up at Tilles’s Will Call booth on October 13, following my WCWP Homecoming Weekend show.

I was anxious in the days leading up to Dave’s show, worried that something would go wrong. Thankfully, nothing did.

Until Lori picked me up around 6:30 PM, it was a typical Saturday for me. I exercised, ran on the treadmill, went grocery shopping with my friend Rob Leeds, and watched NCAA Division I FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) conference championship games.

I guided Lori from my house to LIU Post, going the route I’ve known for 18 years of my life: the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway (NY 135) north, the Long Island Expressway (I-495) west, NY 106/107 north, breaking off into 107 north, Northern Boulevard (NY 25A) west, and the west entrance to LIU Post. I usually went in the east entrance to be let off at Post Hall (where the Academic Resource Center was) or WCWP, but I directed her to the other one since we were going to Tilles.

We arrived just after 7PM, but had to wait a half hour for the concert hall doors to open.

Our tickets were for row JJ, which I affectionately called the Uecker seats, a reference to an infamous Miller Lite commercial from 1984, starring Hall of Fame baseball player and broadcaster Bob Uecker, a spokesman for Miller beer at the time:

Our seats weren’t that high. The view of the stage was great (and less filling). It still helped to have my 55-300 mm lens for the pictures I was about to take.

The show began at 8:08 when David Benoit, offstage, announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your host for the evening, Dave Koz!”

“New York, make some noise!

Before you see the rest of the pictures, I present the set list:
1. Opening Medley: Winter Wonderland/Happy Holiday/The Most Wonderful Time of the Year/Angels We Have Heard On High/Sleigh Ride
Dave Koz – lead vocals on “Happy Holiday”
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

2. Let It Snow
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

3. Little Drummer Boy
Can be heard on: December Makes Me Feel This Way (1997), A Smooth Jazz Christmas (2001)
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

4. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Rick Braun, trombone

5. The Christmas Song
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Selina Albright – lead vocals

6. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Peter White, Rick Braun – background vocals
Peter White – spoken verse
Randy Jacobs – electric guitar solo

7. White Christmas
Can be heard on: December Makes Me Feel This Way (1997)
Dave Koz only
Dave’s saxophone: alto

8. Together Again (Dave Koz)
Originally heard on: The Dance (1999)
Dave Koz/David Benoit
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

9. Possible (Selina Albright)
Originally heard on: Conversations (2017)
Selina Albright only

10. Everything is Alright (Rick Braun)
Originally heard on: Around the Horn (2017)
Rick Braun/Dave Koz/Peter White
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Rick Braun – lead vocals
Randy Jacobs, Nathaniel Kearney Jr., Peter White, Dave Koz – background vocals
Randy Jacobs – electric guitar solo
Brian Simpson – piano, dance solo
Jay Williams – drum solo
Rick prompted the audience to sing the “hey, hey, pretty mama” line.

11. Do I Do/Promenade (Peter White)
Originally heard onGroovin’ (2016)/Promenade (1993)
Peter White/Dave Koz/Rick Braun
Dave’s saxophone: alto

12. The Music of Charlie Brown: Christmas is Coming*/Skating**/Christmas Time is Here***/Linus and Lucy**** (David Benoit)
David performs these songs on:
* – Remembering Christmas (1996), 40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas (2005), Believe (2015) (part of “Guaraldi Medley”)
** – Remembering Christmas (1996)
*** – Christmastime (1983); Remembering Christmas (1996), Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000)
**** – This Side Up (1985); Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown (1989); Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000)
Dave’s saxophone: soprano on “Christmas Time is Here,” tenor on “Linus and Lucy”
Selina Albright – vocals on “Christmas Time is Here,” vocalese on “Linus and Lucy”

INTERMISSION

13. Hark! The Herald Angels We Have Heard On High (Medley) (Dave Koz & Friends)
Originally heard on20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

14. Silent Night
Can be heard on: 20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Selina Albright, end verse vocals
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

15. Feliz Navidad
Can be heard on: 20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Dave Koz, Rick Braun – background vocals
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

16. Joy to the Wonderful World (Medley) (Dave Koz & Friends)
Originally heard on20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Dave’s saxophone: alto
In a year where Lori and I went to the Louis Armstrong House and Museum, and 50 years since “What a Wonderful World” was recorded, this song warmed our hearts.

17. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

18. The Hanukkah Song/Eight Candles (A Song for Hanukkah) (Dave Koz)
“Eight Candles” originally heard onDecember Makes Me Feel This Way (1997), A Smooth Jazz Christmas (2001)
Dave Koz/Peter White/Rick Braun
Dave Koz – lead vocal on “The Hanukkah Song”
Peter White – accordion on “Eight Candles”
Rick Braun – trombone on “Eight Candles”
Dave’s saxophone on “Eight Candles”: soprano

19. Every Step of the Way/Kei’s Song Redux/Freedom at Midnight (David Benoit)
Originally heard onEvery Step of the Way (1988)/Conversation (2012)/Freedom at Midnight (1987)
Dave’s saxophone on “Freedom at Midnight”: tenor

20. Bueno Funk (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Glow, 2001
Peter White/Dave Koz/Rick Braun
Jay Williams – drum solo
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

21. Grazing in the Grass (Rick Braun)
Originally heard on: Shake It Up (with Boney James) (2000); Sessions, Volume 1 (2006)
Rick Braun/Dave Koz/Peter White
Mid-song vocal medley: Groovin’/Just My Imagination/Shotgun/Soulful Strut (instrumental)
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

22. You Make Me Smile (Dave Koz)
Originally heard on: Lucky Man (1993)
Nathaniel Kearney Jr. – bass solo
Rick Braun – trombone
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

23 (Encore). Celebrate Me Home
Part of “The Home Medley” on 20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Dave Koz, Selina Albright – lead vocals
Rick Braun, Peter White – background vocals
Everyone, even the audience, joined in on vocals at the end
Dave’s saxophone: alto

Now, the rest of the pictures. We start with Dave Koz on tenor sax:

Soprano sax:

And alto sax:

Peter White:

Peter played accordion on “Eight Candles”:

Rick Braun:

I never knew Rick played trombone until Saturday night:

Marching back and forth during the “Eight Candles” refrain:

David Benoit:

The “Linus and Lucy” solo, complete with Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree:

Selina Albright:

Randy Jacobs:

Brian Simpson:

Nathaniel Kearney Jr.:

Jay Williams’ “Bueno Funk” solo:

On to wide shots, starting with the opening medley:

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”:

“Together Again”:

“Everything is Alright”:

…which featured a dance solo by Brian Simpson, accompanied by drummer Jay Williams:

“Promenade”:

“Linus and Lucy”:

“Hark! The Herald Angels We Have Heard On High (Medley)”:

“Silent Night”:

“Feliz Navidad”:

“Joy to the Wonderful World (Medley)”:

“Eight Candles”:

“Freedom at Midnight”:

“Bueno Funk” began in the audience:

The James Bond routine:

After Selina put the sunglasses on, Peter played a wolf whistle riff, which made me chuckle.

“Grazing in the Grass”:

“You Make Me Smile”:

Finally, the encore: “Celebrate Me Home”:

Dave had everyone pose for a picture – albeit, a small one – posted to Facebook and Instagram:

Here’s how it looked:

“… God bless you, Happy Holidays, good night!”:

About an hour after the band left the stage, there was a meet and greet in the Tilles Center’s Herbert and Dolores Goldsmith Atrium, which has hosted the annual WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony since the first class was inducted in 2012. Coincidentally, I was wearing the same shirt that I wore at this year’s ceremony. Rick was the first musician Lori and I met and greeted while we were in line for Dave, Peter, and Selina:

Then, at the table, I caught up with Peter, and introduced myself to Selina and Dave. I told Dave that Kelly Dacey said hello. He appreciated that and asked what she’s up to these days. I told him. 15 minutes later, after the autograph portion of the meet-and-greet was over, I posed for a picture:

As we were posing, Dave said it was great to meet him. Through my posed smile, I said “likewise.” Selina got a kick out of that, which led me to quip “I’m a regular Jeff Dunham.”

Then, Lori joined us:

I told Dave about how we’d been to the Louis Armstrong House and Museum earlier this year and how special it was to hear “What a Wonderful World” following the trip.

After that, Lori and I packed our things and left the building, but not the campus. First, I wanted to show Lori around WCWP; or at least, since the door was locked, the exterior of the Abrams Communication Center that’s been home to it since its switch to FM in March 1965. (It began as a carrier current station in October 1961.) She was fascinated.

The clock struck midnight as Lori and I drove back to our homes. It had been a fantastic five hours on the campus of LIU Post and its Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. I had a blast! It was great to meet Dave and Selina for the first time and see Peter and Rick again. I spoke to David on Facebook on Sunday, letting him known how things went for me, complimenting him and the band, and wishing them all luck on the rest of the Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour.

Merry Christmas to all that observe it and Happy Hanukkah to me, Dave, and our Jewish friends and family.

P.S. As I finish this post, I’m at the end of my 302-song iTunes instrumental Christmas music playlist, which I started listening to on November 9. Okay, let’s take it from the top!

My experience at Day 1 of 2017 New York Comic Con October 6, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Art, Comedy, Internet, Interviews, Media, Personal, Photography, Technology, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Previous New York Comic Con recaps: 2012 Day 2, 2014 Day 1

Yesterday, I was at the first day of the 2017 New York Comic Con, held annually at the Javits Center in the Midtown West section of Manhattan. It was my third trip to NYCC.

I almost didn’t go this year. When I planned on buying a badge (ticket) in June, I learned that fan verification was required. Unfortunately, fan verification was closed. Luckily, last month, I learned on the website that verification was open again. So, I immediately got verified and bought a badge for Day 1.

I woke up at 6:20 yesterday morning. I looked out my window and saw a picturesque sky. I took a couple of shots of it, without and with flash:

After that, I put my camera in my backpack, where it stayed for a few hours.

In between, my mother drove me to the Wantagh LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) station at 8:40. Nine minutes later, I was on a train bound for Penn Station.

50 minutes later, I exited Penn and walked to the Javits Center. Those that had a badge, including me, were directed to the green entrance via West 39th Street, five blocks north of where I’d been walking.

I made my way down to Level 1 to meet five voice actors and get professional photo ops with four of them.

First up was Tara Strong:

As you can see, I wore my Northern Trust golf tournament shirt. I got it back on August 27, after walking Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury to see the final round.

After Tara, it was on to Rob Paulsen:

Rob is a throat cancer survivor (knock on wood), having battled it last year.

Tress MacNeille:

Jim Cummings:

And finally, Jess Harnell:

When I noticed Jess had his sunglasses on, I put my glasses on:

In all, I spent about four hours in five lines. It was a thrill to meet and chat with them all. I won’t get into the details of our brief conversations, but they were all very nice. Jess even gave me a hug.

I also enjoyed chatting with fellow fans – like Kelly, Sierra, Dave, and a few others whose names I didn’t get – while waiting in line. There was even a woman ahead of me on the Jess Harnell line who was not only dressed as one of his characters – Cedric from Sofia the First – but her name is Jess Warner! Her first name was the same as his, and her last name was the same as his Animaniacs character Wakko Warner. More on that below.

Afterward, I headed to the Epic Photo Ops area for a pair of professional photo ops. Since I had just met the actors at their autograph tables, there was a familiarity in the booth. It was like visiting old friends.

Jim Cummings suggested we “look intrepid”:

I love the outcome.

The second photo op was with Rob, Tress, and Jess, the stars of Animaniacs:

They were the Warner siblings: Yakko, voiced by Rob, Wakko, by Jess (as I noticed before), and Dot, by Tress.

All that remained was to walk the show floor on Level 3. But first, a few shots taken in the lobby on Level 2 after entering around 10:15:

The show floor:

I mostly focused on the video game developers section, as you’ll see below.

The next six pictures were taken in the morning:

I took this in the afternoon:

It was a fun day, but I was ready to head home. I left satisfied.

I walked south on 11th Avenue until I reached West 34th Street, where I alternated between walking and running, hoping to make the 4:12 train back to Wantagh. I did, with time to spare.

Thank you to Tara Strong, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille, and Jess Harnell. As I said, it was a pleasure to meet and chat with you all.

I’ll conclude this post with a picture of my program and badge:

10:25 PM UPDATE: While searching in vain on YouTube for video of the I Know That Voice: The Series panel that took place at 5:30, shortly after I got home, I found this interview of Jim Cummings:

10/7 UPDATE: The only video I could find of the aforementioned panel was this:

The video stops before the Q&A portion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The practice green:

The 1st hole:

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

The 2nd hole:

Henrik Stenson and Martin Laird:

Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

Paul Casey and defending champion Patrick Reed:

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

Jordan Spieth…

…and Dustin Johnson:

Robert Streb and Scott Brown on the 4th hole:

Stenson and Laird at the 5th hole:

The 6th green:

The 7th hole:

The 8th hole:

Jason Day and C.T. Pan:

Matt Kuchar and Jon Rahm:

The 9th hole:

The 10th hole:

David Lingmerth and Louis Oosthuizen:

Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

The 11th hole:

Jason Kokrak and Morgan Hoffmann:

A jib passing the 12th hole:

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

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

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

The 13th hole:

The 14th hole:

The 15th hole:

The 16th hole:

The 17th hole:

The 18th hole:

David Lingmerth and Louis Oosthuizen:

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

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

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

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

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

Followed by Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

Vegas shot a 65 to finish at -9.

Then, Patrick Cantlay and Russell Henley:

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

Justin Rose and Jason Dufner:

Keegan Bradley and Kevin Chappell:

Matt Kuchar and Jon Rahm:

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

Paul Casey and Patrick Reed:

And finally, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson:

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

Spieth missed his birdie putt:

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

…and he did!

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

Here’s how the putt looked on TV.

Spieth made his par putt to ensure the playoff:

The playoff:

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

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

The shot looked like this on CBS.

Spieth missed a long birdie putt to extend the playoff:

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

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

Dottie Pepper interviewed Dustin afterward:

Here’s the interview.

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

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

SJFS 2017 Night 2 recap May 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the pictures, starting with Jay Rowe:

The end-of-solo glide:

Rohn Lawrence:

Dave Anderson:

Trever Somerville:

Steve Scales:

Chieli Minucci on electric guitar:

Acoustic guitar:

Steve Oliver on acoustic guitar:

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

“Olé!”:

Electric guitar:

Vocals:

Nelson Rangell on alto sax:

Flute:

Chimes, at the beginning of “Sonora”:

Whistling on “Sonora”:

Piccolo:

Back to whistling:

Steve Cole:

Steve Oliver and Chieli:

“Tayyy-yo!”:

Chieli and Nelson:

Steve Cole and Nelson:

Nelson, Steve Cole, Chieli:

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

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

The finale: “Cruise Control”:

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

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

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

Seven weeks of Netflix April 29, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Comedy, Film, Internet, Music, Personal, Technology, TV, Video.
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In a post last month, I noted that I ran out of things to watch on Netflix and, in addition to playing video games, began watching YouTube channels instead. Less than a day after I wrote that post, I discovered things to watch on Netflix again. I started with a few movie classics that I had never seen. First up was Mel Brooks’s Blazing Saddles. That was followed by a pair of Rob Reiner films: This Is Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride, both of which featured Christopher Guest and Billy Crystal. From there, I moved on to a few music documentaries:

I went back to YouTube for a couple of days, but then I took a big step. Actually, a giant leap is more like it. I decided to watch all 278* episodes of Cheers, followed by all 264* episodes of Frasier, its spin-off. “Let the journey begin,” I told myself on the afternoon of March 12 as I loaded the pilot episode of Cheers. What followed was textbook binge-watching. It took only 20 days to watch all 11 seasons of Cheers. It took 17 days to watch every season of Frasier, which also ran 11 seasons. The last day I watched Cheers and the first day I watched Frasier overlapped, making for a combined 36 days of 542* episodes. The journey was worth it.

* – Multi-part episodes are split up.

With the two long-running series out of the way, I spent the next two days watching four stand-up specials: two by Dave Chappelle, one by Jo Koy, and one cinematic release by Kevin Hart. After that, there were four documentaries:

After a few days of DVDs and Blu-rays, I returned to Netflix to watch the third season of Dawn of the Croods, one of many Dreamworks animated series made for Netflix. Unfortunately, the season ended on a cliffhanger. Yes, Cheers and Frasier had cliffhangers, but seasons weren’t released to Netflix months apart. Within seconds of watching a cliffhanger finale, you could move on to the next season’s premiere.

All that remained for me to watch were two movies: Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, which I watched a few times on VHS when I was 12, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which I don’t recall every seeing.

Now, the well has run dry again, but I expect there to be a handful of movies and documentaries to watch in May. Until then, back to YouTube.

2017 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony April 3, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

…and a video narrated by Jim Cutler:

The 2017 inductees are John March:

John LiBretto:

…and Neil Marks:

2015 inductee Jeff Kroll was the host:

2012 inductee Hank Neimark introduced John LiBretto:

2013 inductee Harry Lowenthal had a question for John:

Pat Kroll presented John with a gift bag:

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

Hank accepted on John’s behalf:

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

The view from my Panasonic HC-V770 camcorder:

Neil had a speech prepared:

Neil’s family:

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

Then, it was story time:

Neil’s father had a question:

Pat had a few stories to share:

The ceremony concluded with this picture:

…and cutting of the cake:

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

Now, the video:

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

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

Watching YouTube and playing video games March 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Audiobooking 3 December 23, 2016

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

* – Left-wing viewpoint occasionally expressed

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