Jeff Dunham at Carnegie Hall October 22, 2016Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Hockey, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Politics, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
Tags: Achmed, Bubba J, Carnegie Hall, Jeff Dunham, Peanut, Walter
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(10/26 UPDATE: I have censored the few curse words that were in the recap.)
(10/23 NOTE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Jeff’s show ran “about 70 minutes.” I have corrected that to read “2 hours and 13 minutes.”)
I was in Manhattan for the second night in a row yesterday. Thursday, I was down in Greenwich Village to see the Chick Corea Elektric Band. Yesterday, I was uptown at Carnegie Hall to see ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham. Pictures weren’t allowed during the show, which was part of Jeff’s Perfectly Unbalanced Tour, but I took my plenty before and after. I had to use my iPhone 6 because mobile devices were all that were allowed.
This was my fourth time at Carnegie Hall, but the first time in the Stern Auditorium. My previous three trips were to see pianist Lisa Hilton in the intimate Weill Recital Hall.
Jeff Dunham and his crew made their way to Carnegie at around 4:30. Jeff posted live video of the walk to Facebook:
About an hour after that streaming video, I left the house for the Wantagh LIRR station. It was the last day of a warm and humid air mass. Nonetheless, like Thursday night, I wore my green spring squall jacket in case of rain. There was nary a drop; only fog and mist when I returned six hours later. There had been rain earlier in the day, but while I waited for the 5:59 train for Penn Station, Wantagh was in between rain bands. The band to the east must have been intense because there were impressive cumulonimbus clouds:
Low cumulus clouds set in starting in Queens, appearing dark against the setting sun.
There were New York Islanders fans on the train through Jamaica. They changed there for the Atlantic Terminal train to Barclays Center where the Islanders went on to beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-2.
The train arrived at Penn Station at 6:55. From there, I took the E train to West 53rd Street and walked four blocks to Carnegie Hall.
Once there, the crowd had to wait until 7:30 for the Stern Auditorium doors to open. After getting a bottle of water, I got to my balcony seat. Trivia, social media posts, and pictures were shown on the monitor:
There was a welcome announcement at 8:03 following by three intro videos at 8:06. Since they’re from Jeff’s YouTube channel, I’ve included them below:
After an auto-tune montage, the show officially began at 8:16. The voice of Achmed the Dead Terrorist announced Jeff and he walked on stage. I looked at him on the monitor most of the time since I was so high up.
I took ten pages of notes in a 7 x 5 notebook. Below are some of those notes. I’ll try not to give too much away.
Jeff’s opening act:
- Informal election vote: Hillary – cheers, Donald – more cheers
- Why he’s a ventriloquist
- Family – daughters, Audrey, twin boys
- How Jeff and Audrey found out they were having twins, Jack and James
- The twins’ birth
- Changing diapers in NICU
- Baby pictures – meme photo (“I CAME OUT OF YOUR WHAT???”), then actual photos: their first birthday, Jeff holding them like dumbbells, at Disneyland
- Left stage, came back
- Videotaping show to include message to sons when they’re older
After the opening act, it was time to open the boxes and bring out the characters. Walter came first:
- “Oh, shut the hell up! (mocking laugh)”
- Joke about New Jersey
- How do you get to Carnegie Hall? “Uber.”
- Joke about auditorium appearance
- Sick of election garbage – doesn’t like either candidate – like going in for colonoscopy
- Cut to a video:
- Plug for Jeff’s YouTube channel – about to reach one million subscribers
- Another video:
- “You know, folks tell me that I should run for president”
- Life after death
- “If Trump becomes president, José’ll be out of the show” (a reference to José Jalapeño on a Stick)
- Being an older parent
- “Say good night, Walter.” “Thanks, everybody!”
Before bringing out the next character, Jeff announced that his next special will be taped in Dublin, Ireland, in May for Netflix. It will debut in August. The theme will be family. Jeff found out he is of Irish descent. To that end, a new character he tried out at Carnegie Hall was an Irish baby he was trying to get adopted:
- Big head
- Adult voice with brogue
- Influenced by the other characters (“I keel you” from Achmed)
- Much smarter than apparent age
- Cursing (from Peanut)
- Mother gave him up for adoption
- Vaccination/shots – “Gin, rum, vodka”
- Can’t walk, but can pub crawl
- “All the drunks just think I’m a leprechaun”
- “And that’s the new baby!”
- “I’m doin’ pretty good!”
- “…watchin’ NASCAR and drinkin’ beer”
- Running for president
- “Press the flesh”
- Debate/da bait, defense/da fence, Syria/Siri
- Fracking: “Me and the wife are down to once a month”
- “Say good night, Bubba J”
- “Dat’s goooooooooood!”
- (singing): “New York…..”
- “Two infants at your age, how the hell did that happen?!”
- Running gags (toward Jeff, into mic): “’cause you’re old”, “’cause you’re an a**h***”, “’cause I’m an a**h***”
- Porn riff (“chicka-chicka-wow-wow”) – baby-related dirty talk
- Caffeine zaniness – “It’s great!”, “Yes!”
- Coffee enema
- Lost a shoe – “No, dude, I found one”
- Peanut fell off and his mouth was stuck open – after a few minutes of incoherent speech (“ahh***”), Jeff closed it
- Spoke to two men in the front row
- Hearing aid joke (pretending to cut out)
Achmed the Dead Terrorist:
- “Most beloved terrorist throughout the world”
- Achmed’s origin story – tried out Dead Osama a year after 9/11, six blocks from Ground Zero – crowd loved act – retooled as Achmed starting in Spark of Insanity
- “Greetings, American infidels!”
- Usama Bin Laden is “dead dead”
- “Do you know me, infidels?!” – cheers – “Thank you, I keel you (2x)”
- “It’s not funny!”
- “Silence! I keel you!” – cheers – “Thank you, I keel you”
- Achmed’s many kids: “…and Steve”
- Life story: “Once upon a time, (boom!). The end.”
- Presidential election
- “Oh! Bomb! Ah!”
- Questions: “Dear Achmed…” – by my count, 19 questions – Favorite breakfast cereal: “Life” – Hugh Jorgen (huge organ): “I can’t believe you fell for that!” – Legs fell off, then arms, then ribcage
After one last joke, that was it. Since it was over, I resumed photography. There was one last bit of business for Jeff: a crowd selfie with his wife Audrey.
Here’s how that selfie looked:
As you can see, balcony members weren’t in the picture, but I don’t mind.
In all, Jeff was on stage for 2 hours and 13 minutes, leaving the stage at 10:29.
Rather than walk back to West 53rd Street to take the E train again, I walked to 59th Street-Columbus Circle station.
I would have taken the 11:08 LIRR train to Wantagh, but there happened to be an 11:01 express train that didn’t make local stops until Wantagh. So, I boarded that one. There were some passengers that didn’t realize it was an express and had to change at Jamaica for the later, entirely-local train. It only took 43 minutes to get to Wantagh! Now that’s what I call express! I wouldn’t have arrived until 20 minutes later had I taken 11:08 train.
Thus ended my six-hour adventure. Jeff was hilarious, as always. I wish the show was available on video so I could watch it again and again. My notes and memories will have to do until then.
While I slept, Jeff was live on Facebook as his YouTube channel surpassed one million subscribers!
Congratulations, Jeff, and thank you to fans like me for getting the channel to a million and beyond.
Two days at The Barclays August 30, 2016Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Internet, Media, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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I spent Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the third and final round of The Barclays, the first event of the PGA Tour’s FedExCup Playoffs. This year, as in 2012, the host venue was Bethpage Black, the Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Bethpage/Farmingdale.
One day after acquiring tickets to the second round of the PGA Championship, my dad Bill ordered tickets for the third round of The Barclays. About a week before we were to go, Dad won complimentary tickets to the final round. Our weekend was set.
This was the tournament’s 50th year. It began in 1967 as the Westchester Classic. This was also the last year it was sponsored by Barclays. Starting next year, when the tournament will be at nearby Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, it will be known as The Northern Trust. As a result, the tournament that was called the Northern Trust Open, held in February at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, will become the Genesis Open.
For the third round on Saturday, Dad and I left the house at 11:30 and drove to Nassau Coliseum for general parking. From there, a shuttle bus drove us to Bethpage Black.
All pictures both days were taken on my iPhone 6.
Those pairings were:
Jim Herman and Jhonattan Vegas
Ricky Barnes and J.B. Holmes
Martin Laird and Harold Varner III
Jason Day and Adam Hadwin
Jordan Spieth and Sean O’Hair
Rickie Fowler and Ryan Moore
Patrick Reed (36-hole leader) and Emiliano Grillo
We stood in the sun at first, then moved to the shade (seen above). We watched Barber and Kokrak, Ryan Palmer and Kevin Chappell, and then the seven pairings I listed earlier. As the leader and challengers approached, we saw Billy Kratzert, Dottie Pepper, and Peter Kostis from CBS Sports. Also passing by were course reporters from PGA Tour Radio, NHK (Japan), and Sky Sports.
After Reed and Grillo, Dad and I walked back toward the clubhouse.
We stopped at the crosswalk by the 17th tee as Jason Day and Adam Hadwin teed off.
We stopped in the shop to buy a shirt, then took the shuttle back to Nassau Coliseum.
Rickie Fowler (-9) took the lead from Patrick Reed (-8) going into the final round. Here are highlights of the third round, which concluded while we were in transit.
For the final round on Sunday, Dad and I left for the Coliseum at noon. The shuttle we took arrived at Bethpage Black before 1:00.
At the range were Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Kevin Streelman, Justin Thomas, Emiliano Grillo, and Rickie Fowler.
Then, we walked toward the 18th green.
Our plan was to sit in the grandstand above the green until play concluded, but that didn’t pan out. I’m glad it didn’t.
The four pairings:
Kevin Streelman and Gary Woodland
Emiliano Grillo and Justin Thomas
Adam Scott and Martin Laird
Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed
After a brief stop in the Mastercard Club, Dad and I walked to the concession area by the 14th hole. On the way there, we passed Brandt Snedeker and Brian Harman as they made their way to the 17th tee. People were high fiving Sneds, and I tried to get in on the action, but he didn’t see my hand. Oh, well.
As you can see, the hole was moved.
We watched the last 14 pairings come through. In addition to the four I listed earlier, there were also:
Brian Stuard and Jim Furyk
Billy Horschel and Rory McIlroy
Brendan Steele and Chez Reavie
Sean O’Hair and Charl Schwartzel
Ricky Barnes and Jordan Spieth
Jason Dufner and Blayne Barber
Ryan Moore and Kevin Kisner
Jason Kokrak and Ryan Palmer
Dustin Johnson and Jamie Lovemark
Jason Day and Tony Finau
Occasionally, photographers and TV cameramen set up in front of us. On a personal note, my dad’s friend joined us at the green for a little while.
Day parred 13, but made a 71-foot putt for birdie at 15.
When Fowler and Reed came to the green, volunteers strictly enforced the no-camera-or-phone policy. I put my iPhone back in its holster and didn’t touch it until they holed out. By this time, Fowler had faltered and Reed regained the lead. That lead would grow to three shots, but he won by one (-9).
Dad and I made another stop at the concessions by 14. While there, we ran into my friend Mike and his wife Laurie.
As we approached the 18th tee, we ran into Mike and Laurie again. After Reed and Fowler teed off, we walked adjacent to fairway.
We walked closer to the green for the trophy presentation (not televised), which came after Reed signed his scorecard.
Reed’s win, the fifth of his career, earned him a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
I expect to do as the sign said and return next year at Glen Oaks for The Northern Trust.
I will update this post after the Tour Championship with the FedExCup Champion. Until then, I leave you with post-tournament links:
Final round highlights
Patrick Reed news conference
Shots of the week
Final round photo gallery
Associated Press story
Helen Ross: Teamwork leads to success
Winner’s Bag: Patrick Reed, The Barclays
9/25 UPDATE: Rory McIlory won.
A day at the 2016 PGA Championship July 30, 2016Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, Books, Golf, Health, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
I spent my Friday with my father Bill at the second round of the PGA Championship, held this year at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey. The championship was held two weeks earlier this year because of the Olympics. This is a photo recap of our day. Regular cameras weren’t allowed, so all pictures were taken on my iPhone 6.
A few months ago, I listened to the Audible version of Love That Boy, a book by National Journal senior political columnist Ron Fournier. (I ended up buying the book and then buying a copy for my dad for Father’s Day.) It’s mainly about his relationship with his son Tyler, before and after he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at age 12, about five years before I learned I had it. After the diagnosis, Ron began taking Tyler on trips to presidential museums and to meet a few living presidents, whom Ron covered while a reporter. My dad and I have also taken trips since my diagnosis: to golf tournaments, especially major championships. He used to go to golf tournaments with his friends and father, my grandpa Carmen. In particular, he attended the 1986 and 1995 U.S. Open Championships at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, and the 1993 U.S. Open at Baltusrol. Since 2002, when the U.S. Open was first held at the Bethpage Black Course in Bethpage State Park, we have been to six majors and a handful of regular tournaments. The majors we’ve been to, counting the one that’s the subject of this post, are:
2002 U.S. Open, 3rd Round – Bethpage Black Course
2004 U.S. Open, Final Round – Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
2005 PGA Championship, Final Round – Baltusrol Golf Club
2006 U.S. Open, Final Round – Winged Foot Golf Club
2009 U.S. Open, 3rd/Final Round – Bethpage Black Course
2016 PGA Championship, 2nd Round – Baltursol Golf Club
In 2005 and 2009, play was suspended due to thunderstorms (PGA) and darkness (U.S. Open). I watched the rest of those two majors on TV the following day. In 2009, I also went to the course twice before the first round; once with my mother Lisa and once alone. Here’s how that went.
Dad and I didn’t plan on going to this year’s PGA Championship, even though it was in the tri-state area, but earlier this month, my uncle Jim gave us two grounds tickets to the second round. We would be going, after all.
Rain was in the forecast for Thursday night and yesterday, which I thought would mean no trip or a wasted trip. But play was only delayed 45 minutes and the rain subsided shortly before we left Wantagh around 10AM. General parking was about a half hour away from Baltusrol at Oak Ridge Park in Clark, New Jersey. We arrived there a little after noon.
Shuttles traveled to and from the park and Baltusrol around the clock.
We got to the grounds just before 1PM.
We watched Soomin Lee, Joost Luiten, and William McGirt finish their second round starting at 16.
Phil won the last time we were at Baltusrol in 2005.
In his second round, he recovered from a triple bogey at the 1st to shot an even par 70, making the cut at +1.
He went on to shoot a 68 after starting at the 10th tee. At -3 for the championship, he was six shots back of Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb (-9) after two rounds.
Gaffney reached the green and was able to save par, but he shot a 74 (+4) in the first round and 73 (+3) in this second, missing the cut by five shots.
From there, we watched two groups that started at the 10th:
1) Omar Uresti, Greg Chalmers (who had an autism awareness patch on his bag), Ross Fisher
2) David Muttitt, Smylie Kaufman, Zac Blair
Here, we watched a few groups:
1) J.B. Holmes, Brian Stuard, Hideki Matsuyama
2) Matt Dobyns, Tyrell Hatton, Harris English
3) Ernie Els (whose son is autistic), Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson
We left the grandstand before Jimmy Walker’s group reached the 9th green.
He did make the cut and was five shots back (-4).
Since it was rush hour, the shuttle ride back to Oak Ridge Park took about 40 minutes. From there, Dad and I drove home, listening to the coverage of the rest of the second round on SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Radio. Heading up the coverage was the voice of the New York Giants, who play a half hour away at MetLife Stadium, Bob Papa. We arrived back at the house at about 8:30.
It was a memorable day at the PGA Championship. Thank you, Uncle Jim, for the tickets.
I will update this post after the final round.
7/31, 7:30 PM UPDATE: The rains came yesterday (Saturday) afternoon and suspended play until this (Sunday) morning. Jimmy Walker briefly trailed in the third round this morning, but regained the lead heading into the final round this afternoon. Moments ago, Walker held off defending PGA Champion Jason Day, and his own nerves, to win the 2016 PGA Championship. He won wire-to-wire, leading or tied for the lead after every round. Day showed class by congratulating Walker on the 18th green.
I’m glad to have been part of the tournament as a second round spectator.
7/31, 8:41 PM UPDATE: Post-championship links:
PGA/CBS Sports: Walker’s winning par putt
PGA/CBS Sports: Wanamaker Trophy presentation and interview
Nick Menta, Golf Channel: Walker bests Day by one to win PGA Championship
Kyle Porter & Robby Kalland, CBS Sports: PGA Championship 2016 leaderboard, highlights: Breaking down a wild ending
8/1 UPDATE: More links:
Matt Stypulkoski, The Star-Ledger: Jimmy Walker continues trend of first-time major winners
Steve Politi, The Star-Ledger: Jimmy Walker’s PGA Championship victory is a win for grinders everywhere
Hank Gola, The Star-Ledger: Is it still Jimmy Walker’s day if he had been paired with Jason Day?
Andy Vasquez, The Record: Walker holds off Day for first major
Tara Sullivan, The Record: Walker’s wire-to-wire act was dynamite (a reference to “dynomite!,” the catchphrase of J.J. Evans on Good Times, portrayed by namesake Jimmie Walker)
Michael Bamberger, Golf Magazine: Jimmy Walker Edges Jason Day, Wins 2016 PGA Championship
Art Stricklin, Golf Magazine: Party Awaits Jimmy Walker at His Home Club in Texas
8/2 UPDATE: Even more links:
PGA: Full Sunday Highlights
PGA: Full Tournament Highlights
PGA: Jimmy Walker’s Full PGA Champion Press Conference
PGA: Top 10 Shots of the 2016 PGA Championship (#9 spoiler: I saw John Senden on the practice green after he completed his second round.)
SJFS 2016 Night 2 recap May 4, 2016Posted by Mike C. in Football, Internet, Interviews, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, TV.
Day 2 of my weekend in Milford, Connecticut, began at sunrise. I went right to sleep when I returned to the hotel the night before. So, the first thing I did when I woke up was move the pictures I shot from my camera to my laptop. After that, I took the elevator down to the lobby and helped myself to breakfast. The day progressed from there. To pass the time, I watched episodes of Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show while editing Friday’s Smooth Jazz for Scholars pictures. When the latter rounds of the NFL Draft were televised, I had that on with the TV muted as I continued to listen to (when editing) and watch (when not) the Chat Show.
If such a thing existed, I would have teleported from my room to the Tilles Center Atrium for this year’s WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony. Instead, this recap by 2014 inductee Frank D’Elia will have to do. Jeff Kroll, inducted last year, informed me that next year’s ceremony will probably be earlier in the year, eliminating a conflict with Smooth Jazz for Scholars.
Eventually, 5:15 came and it was time for dinner. My girlfriend and I ate at the Olive Garden in nearby Orange. It was the first time I had been to any location other than the one in East Massapequa. Since I ate waffles and muffins at breakfast, I avoided those delicious breadsticks, limiting myself to minestrone, lasagna, and a creme de menthe candy when the check came.
My girlfriend improvised on her alto saxophone again while we waited in the parking lot adjacent to the Parsons Complex Veterans Memorial Auditorium. This time, she even played in front of audience members waiting on the auditorium steps. They loved it.
In the auditorium lobby, I met Jay Rowe‘s mother, Mia DiStasi, as I preordered Jay’s upcoming album, Smooth Ride.
There were plenty of people like me that also attended Friday’s show.
Once again, John Patterson, president and CEO of the Monroe County (Michigan) Convention and Tourism Bureau, promoted the River Raisin Jazz Festival:
After two songs from West Shore Middle School students Friday night, Saturday night saw two songs by the East Shore Middle School Jazz Band:
They played “Blues at Frog Bottom” and “Peter Gunn.”
After chairs were removed from the stage, Jay Rowe and his band came out.
Chieli Minucci (“key-ELLIE min-OO-chee”) on electric guitar:
Nelson Rangell on alto sax…:
Nick Colionne on electric guitar:
1. East Coast West Coast (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Red Hot and Smooth (2006)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)
2. Goin’ All Out (Eric Darius)
Originally heard on: Goin’ All Out (2008)
Featured musicians: Eric Darius (alto sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)
3. If I Ain’t Got You (Alicia Keys cover) (Eric Darius)
Originally heard on: Just Getting Started (2006)
Featured musicians: Eric Darius (alto sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)
Eric worked his way through the audience in the middle of the song.
4. Uptown East (Chieli Minucci)
Originally heard on: Slice of Life (Special EFX) (1986)
Featured musician: Chieli Minucci (electric guitar)
5. Dance on the Delta (Chieli Minucci)
Originally heard on: Upcoming Special EFX album
Featured musicians: Chieli Minucci (acoustic guitar), Nelson Rangell (flute, alto sax)
6. From Here (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Red (2015)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax, whistling), Chieli Minucci (electric guitar)
7. Tomorrow (A Better You, Better Me) (The Brothers Johnson cover) (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Nelson Rangell (1990)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (piccolo), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)
8. Buckle Up (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: The Journey (2016)
Featured musicians: Nick Colionne (electric guitar), Nelson Rangell (alto sax)
9. Rainy Night in Georgia (Brook Benton cover) (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: It’s My Turn (1994), Keepin’ It Cool (2006)
Featured musicians: Nick Colionne (vocals, electric guitar), Eric Darius (alto sax)
10. Night on the Town (Eric Darius)
Originally heard on: Night on the Town (2004)
Featured musicians: Eric Darius (alto sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)
11. Ballerina (Chieli Minucci)
Originally heard on: Just Like Magic (Special EFX) (1990)
Featured musician: Chieli Minucci (electric guitar)
12. The Road Ahead (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Destiny (1995)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)
13 (Finale). James Brown tribute
Featured musicians: Everyone, led by Nick Colionne (vocals)
Nick went into the audience twice for his “Whatta ‘Bout You?” routine.
I always love when Nelson joins Steve Scales on percussion.
After a “yeah!” response, Nick imitated James’s incoherence in a questioning tone, eliciting more “yeah!” responses.
And away we went.
That was it for night 2.
What a wild night and a fantastic weekend.
My girlfriend drove me to Bridgeport Station at around noon on Sunday and my journey home began. Until next year, Milford.
Audiobooking 2: Listen Up! November 12, 2015Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Basketball, Blu-ray, Christmas, Comedy, Commentary, DVD, Film, News, Personal, Politics, Sports, TV, Video.
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Early last December, I listed all the audiobooks I had listened to while working out between June and the day I wrote the post. I said “there [would] be more audiobooks to come in the weeks ahead.” This follow-up post will list those books, all of which I listened to on Audible.
Since my misadventure with Dick Cavett’s left-leaning
book collection of New York Times blog posts, I’ve only listened to apolitical or right-leaning audiobooks.
From last December to now, here is what has guided me through workouts, bedtime, and boredom:
- Rush Revere and the American Revolution by Rush Limbaugh & Kathryn Adams Limbaugh (read by Rush) – This was the first fiction audiobook – historical fiction, to be exact – that I listened to. Rush Revere and his talking horse, Liberty, take a boy named Cam back to the year 1775.
- All By My Selves: Walter, Peanut, Achmed, and Me by Jeff Dunham – Last December, I immersed myself in all things Jeff Dunham. I bought DVDs of his first three comedy specials – Arguing with Myself, Spark of Insanity, and Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special – watched The Jeff Dunham Show on Amazon Prime, and bought Blu-rays of his next three specials – Controlled Chaos, Minding the Monsters, and All Over the Map. Those got me through the last week of 2014 and the first few days of 2015. It was a refreshing change of pace after watching
allmost episodes of Wings on DVD for seven weeks. All By My Selves took up half of January. It was written back in 2010 and chronicles Jeff’s life from birth to meeting his now-wife Audrey, and all my favorite characters: Walter, Peanut, Achmed, Jose, and Bubba J. For the record, I’ve pre-ordered Unhinged in Hollywood on Blu-ray. It comes out next Tuesday, my 34th birthday.
- 41: A Portrait of My Father by President George W. Bush – A biography of the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush, as told by the 43rd. It was quite a journey. I know more about the Walkers and Bushes than I knew before.
- Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography by Rob Lowe – The title speaks for itself
- The YES Factor: Get What You Want, Say What You Mean, The Secrets of Persuasive Communication by Tonya Reiman – I bought this back in 2010, but I felt like listening to it again.
- Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off the Court by Jay Bilas – There was plenty of advice in this book, but one stands out in my mind: “Next play.” Toughness and The YES Factor were both published by Gildan Media, which meant the theme music was the same.
- End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun) by Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson – As someone that can’t stand the outrage culture, this book really spoke to me. I found myself agreeing aloud and nodding my head several times.
- Getting Real by Gretchen Carlson – Another autobiography.
- Daddy, Stop Talking! And Other Things My Kids Want But Won’t Be Getting by Adam Carolla – Adam’s take on parenthood, and certain musicians, with a little help from Sonny and Natalia, his fraternal twin children.
- Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard – It was late September, which meant it was time for the latest “Killing” book from O’Reilly and Dugard. While John Hinckley did not kill President Ronald Reagan, the assassination attempt did accelerate his Alzheimer’s disease. The book isn’t a deification, which has irked people like George Will, but I loved it. I also liked actor Robert Petkoff’s narration. This was the first audiobook I listened to that wasn’t read by the author. Bill O’Reilly did, however, read the introduction and epilogue.
- Yes, My Accent is Real, and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You by Kunal Nayyar – How do you follow up a historical thriller? With a lighthearted autobiography, of course. Each chapter is an essay, working in chronological order from Kunal’s youth in New Delhi to his marriage to Neha Kapur. I just finished listening yesterday while peddling rapidly on my portable elliptical machine.
I have many more audiobooks I plan on listening to between now and the next post, whenever that will come. Just today, I started Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes’ book on Jack Kemp. It’s called Jack Kemp: The Bleeding-Heart Conservative Who Changed America. After that, I’ll move on to the another Rush Revere book: Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner. Then, a series of autobiographies should keep me occupied through the summer. Until next time…
2015 WCWP Homecoming Weekend, first few hours October 10, 2015Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Education, Football, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, TV, Video.
I was honored to kick off this year’s WCWP Homecoming Weekend with a live edition of Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri yesterday at noon.
I went right to bed after getting home from the 50th anniversary celebration on Thursday night because I had to get up at sunrise yesterday morning. That allowed me time to edit pictures and video that you saw in the above post before getting a ride from my father up to WCWP at around 8:45.
LIU Post/WCWP alumnus Tom Murphy caught some of my show on 88.1 FM. When he heard it was Homecoming Weekend, he decided to drop by the station. He was complimentary of the music I played.
Tom wasn’t the only one complimentary of my show. Jeff and Pat Kroll, and the aforementioned Joel Feltman, were equally laudatory.
He’ll be on plenty this weekend.
I’ll be back later today for Homecoming itself and the announcement of the 2016 WCWP Hall of Fame class. (10/11 UPDATE: Click here for the recap.) I’ll conclude this post, no pun intended, with my show’s playlist:
…along with video and audio of my airchecks, which includes the beginning of Jeff’s show:
Triple Crown, at last! June 6, 2015Posted by Mike C. in Horse Racing, Media, Personal, Sports, TV.
363 days ago, a day after California Chrome fell short at the Belmont Stakes, I bitterly suggested a Triple Crown retool. This was my plan:
Horses that win the Kentucky Derby should not be allowed to run the Preakness Stakes. That will avoid future heartbreaking Belmont Stakes. If they can’t run in the Preakness, they can’t possibly win it to set up Triple Crown talk.
It’s [a] ridiculous suggestion, I’m sure, and one that is born out of sour grapes, but I would love to see it happen. The days of Triple Crown winners ended in 1978. I don’t see it ever happening again.
I hereby retract my plan. Under an hour from posting this, American Pharoah did what seemed impossible: he won the Triple Crown! Larry Collmus’ triumphant call, which was heard inside Belmont Park and on NBC, went like this:
And here it is: the 37-year wait is over! American Pharoah is finally the one!!! American Pharoah has won the Triple Crown!!!!!!
American Pharoah is the 12th Triple Crown winner. After years and years of near misses, this win was very, very sweet. It was much sweeter for jockey Victor Espinoza, trainer Bob Baffert, and owner Ahmed Zayat. Congratulations and thank you.
I’ll conclude this post with several video links via nbcsports.com:
American Pharoah ends 37-year Triple Crown drought
Watch Larry Collmus as he calls the Belmont Stakes
Bob Baffert on ’emotional’ Triple Crown win
Justin Zayat ‘can’t believe it happened’
Belmont, Triple Crown trophy given to American Pharoah team
‘Third time’s a charm’ for Victor Espinoza
Bob Costas: No fan can forget American Pharoah’s rare feat
Bob Baffert: ‘I was prepared for a loss’
Don’t Be a Pinhead Tour at Westbury recap May 3, 2015Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, Books, Comedy, Commentary, Media, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Theatre, TV.
According to WordPress, this is my 350th post at MikeChimeri.com.
My dad and were seated in Section B, Row H.
The show was scheduled to begin at 8:00, but didn’t start until 8:09. At that time, Bill got on the P.A. system and directed the crowd to “please greet Dennis Miller!”
Dennis’ first joke was “Hi, #Hello #GoodEvening.” Here are some of the topics of his 35-minute set:
- Hillary Clinton
- James Carville
- Other potential Democratic presidential candidates
- Bill Ayers
- John Kerry
- Potential Republican presidential candidates
- John Boehner
- Green hotel
- Apple Watch
- Weird sports day – “Floyd Mayweather won the Kentucky Derby”
- Harry Reid
- Pope Francis
- Nancy Pelosi
After the last Pelosi joke, Bill walked toward the stage and exclaimed, “Dennis Miller, everybody!” Bill’s 35-minute set included:
- His hard scrabble upbringing in Levitttown
- Hillary Clinton
- President Barack Obama
- One poll on each of the two
- James Carville
- The previous two presidential campaigns (McCain, Romney)
- Romney’s 2012 primary opponents
- How Bill got the five living presidents to sign pictures of them to raise money for track chairs
Intermission was 15 minutes, after which Bill and Dennis returned to the stage for Q&A. Once again, they sat in chairs while the stage rotated. Highlights of this part were:
- A question from Barry in Syosset led Dennis to joke “Barry’s got Syosset?”
- Dennis’ nicknames for Vice President Joe Biden: “Jar Jar Biden,” “Plugs MacKenzie”
- The Saturday Night Live parody of Hillary Clinton’s campaign launch
- Bill and Dennis won’t endorse any candidates for 2016
- Dennis’ stories of traveling with Pres. George W. Bush
- Stories from Bill and Dennis’ trips to Iraq
- A plug for the Rockin’ the Boat benefit on May 21
- What is a pinhead?
- The Killing books (Dennis’ book: Killing Lincoln Logs)
- Bill’s infamous appearance on The View in October 2010
And with that, the night was over. Bill and Dennis left to a standing ovation. Dennis paraphrased Jackie Gleason by saying “Long Island audiences are the greatest audiences in the world.” It was certainly an entertaining two hours.
If you want to see the Don’t Be a Pinhead Tour, get your tickets fast because the shows sell out in a hurry. The next three shows in Cleveland and Memphis next month, and Atlantic City in August, are all sold out. I recommend watching the Miller Time segment every Wednesday on The O’Reilly Factor to see if new dates are added. So far, Atlantic City is it.
If any viewer e-mails from audience members are read on The Factor this week, I will update this post with those e-mails and Bill’s replies.
5/8 UPDATE: There weren’t any viewer e-mails from audience members this week, but dates were added to the tour this fall. You can find them here.
2015 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony April 28, 2015Posted by Mike C. in Interviews, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology, TV, Video.
Saturday afternoon, the WCWP Hall of Fame inducted four more alumni in a ceremony inside the Goldsmith Atrium at LIU Post’s Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. In order of induction, this year’s inductees were Jeff Kroll, Bruce Leonard, Bobby Guthenberg, and Mike Riccio.
It was the third year in a row where the ceremony coincided with bright sunshine outside, allowing for plenty of natural light to illuminate the atrium.
I arrived about 90 minutes early following a drive of the same length from the Hampton Inn in Milford, Connecticut, after attending the first night of Smooth Jazz for Scholars. Slowly but surely, the inductees, their families, and fellow alumni filled the atirum and the ceremony began.
Now that you’ve seen the pictures, enjoy the video:
Congratulations to Jeff Kroll, Bruce Leonard, Bobby Guthenberg, and Mike Riccio, the 2015 WCWP Hall of Fame class!
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In a 52-hour period, my area went from snow to sleet and freezing rain to rain and back.
It all began late Tuesday afternoon. A couple of inches of snow fell before the evening changeover, but it was washed away by the rain. Temperatures got as high as the mid 40s on Wednesday, allowing me to clear any slush set into the driveway by tire tracks.
For a while, it seemed like there wouldn’t be too much snow on Thursday. Computer forecast models were pushing the snow south. But as night fell, the models yanked the storm back north and had it starting and ending later. 4 to 8 inches of snow were forecast, with News 12 Long Island upping that to 5 to 10 on Thursday morning.
The rain changed to wet snow at around sunrise, switching to regular snow as the morning progressed and temperatures fell.
By afternoon, temperatures were down in the mid 20s and the snow continued to accumulate. I periodically brought my standard ruler to the driveway to measure. There were 2 inches at 11:40 AM, 4 1/2 inches at 2:22 PM, and 7 inches by 4:12.
But at 4:40, even though it was still snowing, I went out to the driveway and began shoveling. My sister came home ten minutes after I started and helped me shovel. We finished at 5:30.
After an hour break, which included a dinner of pasta and homemade ground turkey meat sauce, I went back outside for more shoveling. By now, the snow had ended. Another inch had fallen on top of what I shoveled earlier. This time, I only took a half hour.
The 8 inches of snow in my driveway matched the snow totals in Levittown, North Merrick, and Rockville Centre, according to the National Weather Service. Melville and East Northport ended up with 9 inches.
Below is a photo timeline of the snow from beginning to end, and then the day after (today).
Temperatures were in the low 20s, but the March sun was strong enough to melt the snow anyway. The high today was 30 degrees.
This is the last day with high temperatures below freezing for the foreseeable future, and maybe even for the season. And if this turned out to be the last snow of the season, it went out on a high note.