jump to navigation

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.
add a comment

Here is a list of the audiobooks I’ve listened to on Audible in the 13 months since my previous “audiobooking” post:

* – Left-wing viewpoint occasionally expressed

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

Jeff Dunham at Carnegie Hall October 22, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Hockey, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Politics, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

(10/26 UPDATE: I have censored the few curse words that were in the recap.)

(10/23 NOTE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Jeff’s show ran “about 70 minutes.” I have corrected that to read “2 hours and 13 minutes.”)

I was in Manhattan for the second night in a row yesterday. Thursday, I was down in Greenwich Village to see the Chick Corea Elektric Band. Yesterday, I was uptown at Carnegie Hall to see ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham. Pictures weren’t allowed during the show, which was part of Jeff’s Perfectly Unbalanced Tour, but I took my plenty before and after. I had to use my iPhone 6 because mobile devices were all that were allowed.

This was my fourth time at Carnegie Hall, but the first time in the Stern Auditorium. My previous three trips were to see pianist Lisa Hilton in the intimate Weill Recital Hall.

Jeff Dunham and his crew made their way to Carnegie at around 4:30. Jeff posted live video of the walk to Facebook:

About an hour after that streaming video, I left the house for the Wantagh LIRR station. It was the last day of a warm and humid air mass. Nonetheless, like Thursday night, I wore my green spring squall jacket in case of rain. There was nary a drop; only fog and mist when I returned six hours later. There had been rain earlier in the day, but while I waited for the 5:59 train for Penn Station, Wantagh was in between rain bands. The band to the east must have been intense because there were impressive cumulonimbus clouds:
iph102116001

iph102116002

Low cumulus clouds set in starting in Queens, appearing dark against the setting sun.

There were New York Islanders fans on the train through Jamaica. They changed there for the Atlantic Terminal train to Barclays Center where the Islanders went on to beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-2.

The train arrived at Penn Station at 6:55. From there, I took the E train to West 53rd Street and walked four blocks to Carnegie Hall.

iph102116003

iph102116004

iph102116005

iph102116006

Once there, the crowd had to wait until 7:30 for the Stern Auditorium doors to open. After getting a bottle of water, I got to my balcony seat. Trivia, social media posts, and pictures were shown on the monitor:
iph102116008

iph102116010

iph102116011

The ceiling:
iph102116009

There was a welcome announcement at 8:03 following by three intro videos at 8:06. Since they’re from Jeff’s YouTube channel, I’ve included them below:

After an auto-tune montage, the show officially began at 8:16. The voice of Achmed the Dead Terrorist announced Jeff and he walked on stage. I looked at him on the monitor most of the time since I was so high up.

I took ten pages of notes in a 7 x 5 notebook. Below are some of those notes. I’ll try not to give too much away.

Jeff’s opening act:

  • Informal election vote: Hillary – cheers, Donald – more cheers
  • Why he’s a ventriloquist
  • Family – daughters, Audrey, twin boys
  • How Jeff and Audrey found out they were having twins, Jack and James
  • The twins’ birth
  • Changing diapers in NICU
  • Breastfeeding
  • Baby pictures – meme photo (“I CAME OUT OF YOUR WHAT???”), then actual photos: their first birthday, Jeff holding them like dumbbells, at Disneyland
  • Left stage, came back
  • Videotaping show to include message to sons when they’re older

After the opening act, it was time to open the boxes and bring out the characters. Walter came first:

  • “Oh, shut the hell up! (mocking laugh)”
  • Joke about New Jersey
  • How do you get to Carnegie Hall? “Uber.”
  • Joke about auditorium appearance
  • Sick of election garbage – doesn’t like either candidate – like going in for colonoscopy
  • Cut to a video:

  • “You know, folks tell me that I should run for president”
  • Wife
  • Life after death
  • “If Trump becomes president, José’ll be out of the show” (a reference to José Jalapeño on a Stick)
  • Being an older parent
  • “Say good night, Walter.” “Thanks, everybody!”

Before bringing out the next character, Jeff announced that his next special will be taped in Dublin, Ireland, in May for Netflix. It will debut in August. The theme will be family. Jeff found out he is of Irish descent. To that end, a new character he tried out at Carnegie Hall was an Irish baby he was trying to get adopted:

  • Big head
  • Adult voice with brogue
  • Influenced by the other characters (“I keel you” from Achmed)
  • Much smarter than apparent age
  • Cursing (from Peanut)
  • Mother gave him up for adoption
  • Vaccination/shots – “Gin, rum, vodka”
  • Can’t walk, but can pub crawl
  • “All the drunks just think I’m a leprechaun”
  • “And that’s the new baby!”

Bubba J:

  • “I’m doin’ pretty good!”
  • “…watchin’ NASCAR and drinkin’ beer”
  • Twins
  • Wife
  • Running for president
  • “Press the flesh”
  • Debate/da bait, defense/da fence, Syria/Siri
  • Fracking: “Me and the wife are down to once a month”
  • “Say good night, Bubba J”

Peanut:

  • “Dat’s goooooooooood!”
  • (singing): “New York…..”
  • “Two infants at your age, how the hell did that happen?!”
  • Running gags (toward Jeff, into mic): “’cause you’re old”, “’cause you’re an a**h***”, “’cause I’m an a**h***”
  • Porn riff (“chicka-chicka-wow-wow”) – baby-related dirty talk
  • Caffeine zaniness – “It’s great!”, “Yes!”
  • Coffee enema
  • Lost a shoe – “No, dude, I found one”
  • Peanut fell off and his mouth was stuck open – after a few minutes of incoherent speech (“ahh***”), Jeff closed it
  • “Jeff-fa-fa”
  • “Nnnnnnyeow!”
  • Spoke to two men in the front row
  • Hearing aid joke (pretending to cut out)

Achmed the Dead Terrorist:

  • “Most beloved terrorist throughout the world”
  • Achmed’s origin story – tried out Dead Osama a year after 9/11, six blocks from Ground Zero – crowd loved act – retooled as Achmed starting in Spark of Insanity
  • “Greetings, American infidels!”
  • Usama Bin Laden is “dead dead”
  • “Do you know me, infidels?!” – cheers – “Thank you, I keel you (2x)”
  • “Achhhhhmed”
  • “It’s not funny!”
  • “Silence! I keel you!” – cheers – “Thank you, I keel you”
  • Achmed’s many kids: “…and Steve”
  • Games
  • Life story: “Once upon a time, (boom!). The end.”
  • Presidential election
  • “Oh! Bomb! Ah!”
  • Questions: “Dear Achmed…” – by my count, 19 questions – Favorite breakfast cereal: “Life” – Hugh Jorgen (huge organ): “I can’t believe you fell for that!” – Legs fell off, then arms, then ribcage

After one last joke, that was it. Since it was over, I resumed photography. There was one last bit of business for Jeff: a crowd selfie with his wife Audrey.

iph102116014

iph102116015

iph102116017

iph102116018

iph102116020

Here’s how that selfie looked:

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

iph102116021

iph102116024

iph102116025

In all, Jeff was on stage for 2 hours and 13 minutes, leaving the stage at 10:29.

I took a selfie of my own a few minutes later:
iph102116026

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

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

iph102116029

iph102116030

iph102116031

I took the 1 train back to Penn Station:
iph102116032

iph102116033

iph102116034

I would have taken the 11:08 LIRR train to Wantagh, but there happened to be an 11:01 express train that didn’t make local stops until Wantagh. So, I boarded that one. There were some passengers that didn’t realize it was an express and had to change at Jamaica for the later, entirely-local train. It only took 43 minutes to get to Wantagh! Now that’s what I call express! I wouldn’t have arrived until 20 minutes later had I taken 11:08 train.

Thus ended my six-hour adventure. Jeff was hilarious, as always. I wish the show was available on video so I could watch it again and again. My notes and memories will have to do until then.

While I slept, Jeff was live on Facebook as his YouTube channel surpassed one million subscribers!

Congratulations, Jeff, and thank you to fans like me for getting the channel to a million and beyond.

Two days at The Barclays August 30, 2016

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

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.

iPh82716002

iPh82716003

iPh82716004

iPh82716005

iPh82716007

iPh82716008

iPh82716009

iPh82716011

iPh82716012

iPh82716013

iPh82716014

iPh82716015

The practice green and media center:
iPh82716016

iPh82716017

iPh82716019

iPh82716020

iPh82716021

iPh82716028

iPh82716029

iPh82716030

iPh82716031

iPh82716032

The 1st tee:
iPh82716033

The 1st fairway:
iPh82716034

We stopped at the 18th fairway to watch Phil Mickelson and Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose finish their round:
iPh82716035

iPh82716036

This was back by the 1st tee:
iPh82716037

iPh82716039

iPh82716040

iPh82716041

The 1st green:
iPh82716042

The 4th tee:
iPh82716043

We stopped at the concession tent by the 5th green and 12th fairway, then watched the last seven pairings at the 5th green:
iPh82716044

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

iPh82716044

The MetLife Blimp:
iPh82716045

After watching Blayne Barber and Jason Kokrak at the 12th green, Dad and I made our way to the 13th green:iPh82716046

iPh82716047

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.

iPh82716051

iPh82716052

iPh82716053

The jib by the 14th green:
iPh82716054

A closer look:
iPh82716055

iPh82716056

iPh82716057

The 15th tee:
iPh82716058

We stopped at the crosswalk by the 17th tee as Jason Day and Adam Hadwin teed off.

iPh82716060

iPh82716062

iPh82716063

iPh82716065

iPh82716066

iPh82716067

iPh82716068

We stopped in the shop to buy a shirt, then took the shuttle back to Nassau Coliseum.

iPh82716069

iPh82716070

iPh82716071

iPh82716072-1

iPh82716073

iPh82716074

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.

Our first stop after arriving was the practice range, which was adjacent to the Yellow Course:
iPh82816001

At the range were Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Kevin Streelman, Justin Thomas, Emiliano Grillo, and Rickie Fowler.

iPh82816002

iPh82816003

iPh82816004

iPh82816005

iPh82816006

iPh82816007

iPh82816008

iPh82816010

iPh82816011

Then, we walked toward the 18th green.

iPh82816012

Me and the infamous warning sign:
iPh82816014

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.

We watched the four pairings start their rounds at the 1st tee:
iPh82816016

The four pairings:
Kevin Streelman and Gary Woodland
Emiliano Grillo and Justin Thomas
Adam Scott and Martin Laird
Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed

iPh82816017

Fowler and Reed waiting to tee off:
iPh82816019

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.

After hot dogs and soda, we returned to our spot at the 13th green:
iPh82816025

As you can see, the hole was moved.

iPh82816028

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.

The jib also made an appearance:
iPh82816030

Then, we walked to the grandstand by the 17th green for the last two pairings:
iPh82816032

iPh82816035

The view was spectacular:
iPh82816036

As we approached the 18th tee, we ran into Mike and Laurie again. After Reed and Fowler teed off, we walked adjacent to fairway.

iPh82816037

iPh82816038

We stayed until the last putt:
iPh82816045

The 18th green at the moment Reed putt for bogey to win by one shot:
iPh82816046

iPh82816047

iPh82816048

iPh82816050

Here’s how it looked on CBS.

The moment Peter Kostis interviewed Reed:
iPh82816051

iPh82816052

Here’s how that looked.

We walked closer to the green for the trophy presentation (not televised), which came after Reed signed his scorecard.

iPh82816055

Dottie Pepper hosted the presentation:
iPh82816056

iPh82816059

iPh82816060

iPh82816061

iPh82816062

Reed’s win, the fifth of his career, earned him a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

On the way back to the shuttle, we passed by the 1st tee of the Red Course:
iPh82816064

iPh82816065

And we saw Rickie Fowler signing autographs by the practice green:
iPh82816066

With that, we exited and boarded the shuttle:
iPh82816067

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, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

iPh72916001

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

iPh72916002

We got to the grounds just before 1PM.

iPh72916004

iPh72916005

The 2019 PGA Championship will be at Bethpage Black:
iPh72916006

iPh72916007

iPh72916008

iPh72916011

iPh72916012

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

The 16th green:
iPh72916013

iPh72916014

iPh72916015

The MetLife blimp:
iPh72916016

iPh72916017

iPh72916019

iPh72916020

iPh72916021

The 17th green:
iPh72916023

iPh72916025

The 18th hole:
iPh72916027

iPh72916029

iPh72916030

The clubhouse:
iPh72916032

iPh72916033

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

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

iPh72916036

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

Gregory Bourdy chipping off the green:
iPh72916037

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

iPh72916038

iPh72916039

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

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

iPh72916041

The 7th fairway:
iPh72916042

The 11th tee and 10th green:
iPh72916044

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

iPh72916045

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

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

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

The 13th green:
iPh72916048

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

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

iPh72916052

iPh72916053

Walking through Patron Plaza…:
iPh72916056

iPh72916057

A misting fan:
iPh72916058

iPh72916059

iPh72916060

iPh72916061

iPh72916062

iPh72916063

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

iPh72916065

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

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

I will update this post after the final round.

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

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

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

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

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

SJFS 2016 Night 2 recap May 4, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Football, Internet, Interviews, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, 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

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.

At 8:00, Kevin McCabe welcomed the audience:
MC43016001a

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:
MC43016002a

After two songs from West Shore Middle School students Friday night, Saturday night saw two songs by the East Shore Middle School Jazz Band:
MC43016005a

They played “Blues at Frog Bottom” and “Peter Gunn.”

After chairs were removed from the stage, Jay Rowe and his band came out.

Jay played keyboards:
MC43016075a

Steve Scales on percussion:
MC43016084a

Trever Somerville on drums:
MC43016006a

…and Dave Anderson on bass:
MC43016008a

The stars of night 2 were Eric Darius on alto saxophone:
MC43016036a

Chieli Minucci (“key-ELLIE min-OO-chee”) on electric guitar:
MC43016106a

…and acoustic guitar:
MC43016122a

Nelson Rangell on alto sax…:
MC43016145a

…flute…:
MC43016119a

…and piccolo:
MC43016146a

He also whistled a couple of bars:
MC43016141a

Nick Colionne on electric guitar:
MC43016162a

…and with Jay’s band on seven songs, including the finale, just like the night before, Rohn (“Ron”) Lawrence on electric guitar:
MC43016009a

SET LIST
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.

Now for various shots of each musician, starting with Jay Rowe:
MC43016011a

MC43016013a

MC43016014a

MC43016015a

MC43016017a

MC43016020a

MC43016024a

MC43016025a

MC43016026a

MC43016059a

MC43016060a

MC43016062a

MC43016063a

MC43016196a

MC43016197a

MC43016199a

MC43016200a

Eric Darius:
MC43016037a

MC43016039a

MC43016040a

MC43016058a

MC43016065a

MC43016066a

MC43016067a

MC43016068a

MC43016085a

MC43016090a

MC43016092a

MC43016093a

MC43016096a

MC43016097a

MC43016099a

MC43016100a

MC43016102a

Chieli Minucci on electric guitar:
MC43016105a

MC43016107a

MC43016108a

MC43016110a

MC43016112a

MC43016115a

MC43016118a

MC43016201a

MC43016203a

Acoustic guitar:
MC43016127a

MC43016129a

MC43016133a

Nelson Rangell on alto sax:
MC43016208a

MC43016209a

MC43016210a

MC43016211a

MC43016212a

MC43016222a

MC43016223a

MC43016224a

Flute:
MC43016120a

MC43016121a

Piccolo:
MC43016147a

MC43016149a

MC43016152a

MC43016156a

MC43016160a

Whistling:
MC43016142a

Tambourine break on “Buckle Up”:
MC43016172a

I always love when Nelson joins Steve Scales on percussion.

Nick Colionne:
MC43016166a

MC43016167a

MC43016170a

MC43016171a

MC43016183a

MC43016184a

MC43016185a

MC43016186a

MC43016187a

Singing “Rainy Night in Georgia”:
MC43016178a

MC43016179a

Rohn Lawrence:
MC43016028a

MC43016030a

MC43016032a

MC43016035a

MC43016213a

MC43016215a

MC43016216a

MC43016217a

MC43016219a

Steve Scales:
MC43016053a

MC43016054a

MC43016055a

MC43016056a

MC43016057a

MC43016069a

MC43016078a

MC43016080a

MC43016081a

MC43016082a

MC43016083a

Trever Somerville:
MC43016157a

MC43016158a

MC43016159a

MC43016205a

MC43016206a

MC43016207a

Dave Anderson:
MC43016135a

MC43016136a

MC43016137a

MC43016138a

Next, two shots, starting with Rohn and Eric:
MC43016044a

MC43016046a

MC43016049a

MC43016050a

MC43016051a

Nelson and Chieli:
MC43016123a

MC43016144a

Rohn and Nelson:
MC43016225a

MC43016226a

MC43016228a

MC43016229a

MC43016230a

MC43016231a

Nick and Nelson:
MC43016173a

MC43016174a

MC43016175a

MC43016176a

Nick and Eric:
MC43016177a

MC43016180a

MC43016181a

Steve and Trever’s duet on “Night on the Town”:
MC43016192a

MC43016193a

MC43016195a

The James Brown tribute finale begins with Nick channeling the Godfather of Soul:
MC43016233a

The rest of the band was in on the seance:
MC43016234a

“Fellas!”:
MC43016235a

The response was inadequate:
MC43016236a

Take 2: “Fellas!”:
MC43016238a

After a “yeah!” response, Nick imitated James’s incoherence in a questioning tone, eliciting more “yeah!” responses.

Then, he laughed: “Ha-ha-ha!”:
MC43016239a

“Can I count it off?”:
MC43016241a

“1, 2, 3, 4!”:
MC43016242a

And away we went.

MC43016244a

MC43016245a

MC43016246a

MC43016247a

MC43016248a

MC43016251a

The “Whatta ‘Bout You?” routine:
MC43016252a

MC43016253a

MC43016254a

MC43016255a

MC43016258a

MC43016276a

Back on stage:
MC43016256a

MC43016260a

MC43016261a

MC43016262a

The cape routine:
MC43016263a

MC43016265a

MC43016266a

MC43016267a

MC43016269a

MC43016270a

MC43016272a

MC43016273a

Jay can dance:
MC43016274a

Time to bring it home:
MC43016277a

MC43016281a

MC43016283a

MC43016284a

MC43016285a

MC43016286a

That was it for night 2.

MC43016289a

MC43016290a

MC43016291a

MC43016293a

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, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Basketball, Blu-ray, Christmas, Comedy, Commentary, DVD, Film, News, Personal, Politics, Sports, TV, Video.
1 comment so far

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:

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, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Education, Football, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, TV, Video.
2 comments

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.

As a result, I arrived 2 1/2 hours early, which gave me plenty of time to set up. I took a few pictures when I entered Studio 1:
MC100915001a

MC100915003a

MC100915004a

The next six pictures were taken while my show was on the air:
MC100915006a

MC100915007a

MC100915008a

MC100915009a

Joel Feltman took this shot:
MC100915011a

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.

His fellow alum Dan Cox requested a picture, and I was more than happy to oblige:
MC100915012a

Tom wasn’t the only one complimentary of my show. Jeff and Pat Kroll, and the aforementioned Joel Feltman, were equally laudatory.

After my show, it was Jeff Kroll’s turn:
MC100915014a

He’ll be on plenty this weekend.

Jeff’s setup:
MC100915015a

MC100915016a

MC100915017a

MC100915018a

MC100915019a

Next on the schedule was Joel Feltman:
MC100915022a

MC100915024a

MC100915025a

MC100915026a

MC100915027a

On my way to the bus stop, heading for home, I noticed a familiar name on the LIU Post Alumni Walk: Fred Gaudelli. This sign was posted by Pell Hall:
MC100915029a

There’s also a Ted David sign by the Great Lawn, which I took a picture of two weeks ago:
MC92515006a

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:
InsInv-WCWP-100915-Playlist

…along with video and audio of my airchecks, which includes the beginning of Jeff’s show:


10/9/15 Aircheck

Triple Crown, at last! June 6, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Horse Racing, Media, Personal, Sports, TV.
2 comments

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, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, Books, Comedy, Commentary, Media, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Theatre, TV.
2 comments

According to WordPress, this is my 350th post at MikeChimeri.com.

Last night, for the first time in four years, I was at NYCB Theatre at Westbury to see Bill O’Reilly and Dennis Miller. This time, their tour had a new name: Don’t Be a Pinhead.

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
  • Obamacare
  • 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:

  • Baltimore
  • 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?”
  • “Volleyballtocracy”
  • 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, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Interviews, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology, TV, Video.
6 comments

Previous Hall of Fame ceremonies: 2012, 2013, 2014

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.

You can watch the ceremony at the end of this post, but first, the pictures:
MC42515001a

WCWP station manager Dan Cox welcomed everyone and tossed to an introductory video narrated by Jim Cutler:
MC42515003a

MC42515004a

2013 inductee Bernie Bernard was this year’s MC:
MC42515005a

The first inductee of the day was Jeff Kroll, introduced by Bruce Leonard:
MC42515007a

MC42515009a

MC42515010a

MC42515013a

The view from my camcorder:
MC42515011a

The same view from a different focal point:
MC42515012a

Bruce and Jeff swapped places as Jeff introduced Bruce:
MC42515014a

MC42515016a

MC42515017a

Neil Marks came up to say a few words:
MC42515019a

MC42515020a

Then came Bruce’s acceptance speech:
MC42515021a

Joel Feltman was next a few words of his own:
MC42515023a

MC42515024a

Joe Honerkamp listened as Joel reflected on how they were introduced:
MC42515025a

The third inductee of the day was Bobby Guthenberg, introduced by Bernie Bernard:
MC42515026a

MC42515027a

MC42515028a

MC42515029a

MC42515030a

Finally, Bobby introduced Mike Riccio:
MC42515031a

MC42515032a

MC42515033a

Bobby’s gift to Mike:
MC42515036a

MC42515037a

MC42515038a

MC42515039a

Mike’s acceptance speech:
MC42515040a

MC42515042a

MC42515043a

MC42515044a

2013 inductee Bill Mozer was repeatedly referenced throughout the ceremony. He came to the stage after Mike spoke:
MC42515045a

MC42515046a

MC42515047a

2014 inductee Frank D’Elia’s turn at the mic:
MC42515049a

MC42515050a

MC42515052a

Bill returned with a few more words:
MC42515053a

Dan Cox returned to wrap of the ceremony, bringing along a copy of the Hall of Fame sign, as posted in the background, to be autographed by the four inductees:
MC42515055a

MC42515056a

MC42515057a

MC42515059a

Jeff’s wife Pat bought a cake for the ceremony:
MC42515062a

MC42515061a

The ceremonial cutting:
MC42515064a

MC42515065a

MC42515066a

MC42515067a

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!