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Audiobooking 7 March 26, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Audio, Audiobooks, Baseball, Books, Comedy, Commentary, Drama, Film, Football, Health, History, Internet, Media, Music, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Rock, Sports, TV, Video, War, Wrestling.
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Another year of audiobook listening is in the books. I’m still an Audible member and use each month’s credit on a new book, but throughout my membership, there will come a time where I pay $35.88 to buy three extra credits. I listened while exercising, running (or walking) errands, doing household tasks, and at bedtime.

I even listened to one book on YouTube rather than Audible. Find out which one as I list the audiobooks I listened to since last year’s Audiobooking post:

  • Apropos of Nothing by Woody Allen – It’s sad that the abundance of Woody haters made him feel compelled to passionately, and rightly, defend his character through most of the book.
  • Talking to GOATs: The Moments You Remember and the Stories You Never Heard by Jim Gray (with guest voices including Bob Costas, Vin Scully, Tom Brady, and Snoop Dogg) – GOAT is an acronym for “greatest of all time.” – Vin was recorded over the phone while Bob and Tom were on Zoom via their webcam or phone. You can tell by the audio quality. – I remembered where I was during the moments Jim recounted, especially the Pete Rose interview. Jim didn’t deserve the grief he got. I’m glad he and Pete are on good terms these days
  • Killing the Mob: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (read entirely by Robert Petkoff) – This was certainly enlightening. I had no idea the mob’s tentacles ran so deep, or that they had a boss in Tampa, of all places.
  • On the House: A Washington Memoir by John Boehner (“bainer”) – This was one of three books I returned. – The early stages of Speaker Boehner’s book were more of, apropos of the previous book I listened to, hits on his enemies. I mean verbal ad hominem attacks, not murders.
  • Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling by Jim Ross with Paul O’Brien (read by Jim; Vince McMahon’s foreword and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s afterword read by R.C. Bray) – I bought this with my On the House return credit. – Both Slobberknocker and Under the Black Hat have an instance of “at the end of the day.” I had yet to encounter that in Black Hat when I published last year’s post. – I watched many WWE documentaries on Peacock in my first two months as a subscriber (before “at the end of the day” fatigue made me quit watching what was left). I now realize that for all WWE-sanctioned media, you are required to say “-E” instead of “-F,” even when referring to the WWF days. Only clips can show the old logos and utterances of “-F” or “Federation.” Slobberknocker didn’t have that requirement, but Black Hat did. – I met Jim and Jerry Lawler at New York Comic Con in October.
  • How Y’all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived by Leslie Jordan (or should I say Leslie Alan Jordan?) – How can you not love Leslie? – I saw little of him on Will & Grace, but enjoyed him on The Cool Kids and enjoy him on Call Me Kat. – He’s worth following on Instagram.
  • Just When I Thought I’d Heard Everything!: Humorous Observations on Life in America by Charles Grodin (1934-2021) – Compilation of radio commentaries, but newly read (in 2013) for the book. – Wow, was this poorly edited. So many flubs were left in. I don’t know how I made it to the end
  • Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life by Julianna Marguiles (“margh-u-leez”) – I have seen little of Julianna’s work outside of the 1997 live episode of ER, but I enjoyed learning about her. – I was watching Friends on HBO Max at the time I heard her book, and it was neat seeing her older sister Alexandra (referenced in the book) recur on that show.
  • Mayor Kane: My Life in Wrestling and Politics by Glenn Jacobs (a.k.a. Kane) – Like Talking to GOATs, I remembered where I was at the time of some of the events Glenn recounted from the period when I was a wrestling fan. – “-E” instead of “-F” – In pro wrestling terms, I was a mark early in my fandom and Isaac Yankem, Glenn’s first WWE character, genuinely scared me. So, I was surprised that he hated the character – The Fake Diesel angle began on Monday Night Raw on September 23, 1996, two days before my sister’s bat mitzvah. – Early Kane scared me, too. – Glenn’s position as mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, would be known as county executive in most other regions. I was unaware of county executives going by mayor until I heard a public address announcement by the “mayor of Broward County” in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on March 5, 2019, while waiting in the JetBlue terminal for a flight back to JFK. (See photos from my trip here.) – I didn’t enjoy Glenn’s libertarian commentary toward the end, but at least it’s on my side of the political aisle, and he didn’t attack anyone like Boehner did.
  • Five Minutes, Mr. Byner: A Lifetime of Laughter by John Byner with Douglas Wellman (read by John) – I had better luck with John Byner than with John Boehner. – Long Island represent! Byner grew up all over Long Island, including Bohemia and Merrick. (Since Bill O’Reilly’s book, and Brian Kilmeade’s later, aren’t memoirs, I didn’t/don’t acknowledge they are also from Long Island. Bill’s from Levittown and Brian’s from Massapequa.) – I forgot John’s last name at birth was Biener. Unlike the Biener Audi folks, the phonetic spelling John legally adopted is how his family said it; like my last name, people kept mispronouncing his, calling him “Beaner” or “Beans.” – I don’t remember if he brought up playing Gurgi (and Doli) in The Black Cauldron, but I watched it on Disney+ a few weeks ago, as I work my way through (most of) Disney’s theatrical animated releases in chronological order. – Just as I prepared to published this post, I learned of The Super Bob Einstein Movie documentary on HBO Max. Bob created Super Dave Osborne for The John Byner Comedy Hour and would later appear on John’s Bizarre series and his own show, Super Dave.
  • Past Imperfect: The Autobiography by Joan Collins – Originally published in 1978, revised in the mid ’80s to include her Dynasty work, recorded in 2021. – Maxwell Reed was her husband, but I came to hate him just as much after listening. – I thought back to Slobberknocker as Joan referenced Bill Watts, obviously not related to Cowboy Bill.
  • Tropical Attire Encouraged (and Other Phrases That Scare Me) by Alison Rosen – Free with my Audible membership – Each chapter ended with an impromptu commentary by Alison and after finishing the book, there’s podcast-esque commentary by Alison and her husband Daniel Quartz. – I became a fan of Alison during her days as a guest on Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld, proudly supporting the original livestream (UStream) incarnation of Alison Rosen is Your New Best Friend. It was an honor to be the Fan Phone Call one Sunday evening in 2010; I listened to some episodes of the podcast version that continues to this day, but haven’t heard an episode in quite a while. – I’ve since gravitated toward podcasts by Gilbert Gottfried (with Frank Santopadre) and Ken Levine. – Listening to this book made me nostalgic for the halcyon days before politics drove a wedge into everything.
  • My Inappropriate Life: Some Material Not Suitable for Small Children, Nuns, or Mature Adults by Heather McDonald – Written and read in the days of Chelsea Lately, which again, I didn’t see much of, but I knew of the regular panelists and staff, including Heather.
  • The Long Slide: Thirty Years in American Journalism by Tucker Carlson – I can’t stomach his Tucker Carlson Tonight commentaries anymore (too dour, goes after right-wingers I like), but I was willing to buy The Long Slide. – After an introduction lamenting the way things were at the time of publication (summer 2021), the rest of the book is made up of past columns with present-day prologues. To that end, it was edited better than Charles Grodin’s audiobook.
  • You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success by Al Roker – I’ve been a fan of Al’s since his days at News 4 New York (WNBC), and thoroughly enjoyed his journey. – “You look so much better in person” was a well-meaning, unintentionally backhanded compliment someone gave him in Rockefeller Plaza one time on Today. Don’t ever tell anyone that.
  • Parenting for the Digital Age: The Truth behind Media’s Effect on Children and What to Do About It by Bill Ratner – There are occasional references to Bill’s career, but it’s mostly parental help, as the title indicates.
  • Oh, Nothing…: An Audio Collection of Stories and Memories from Alan Sues by Alan Sues (“sooz”) (1926-2011) – Since the book’s price was $9.79, I bought it that way rather with a credit that costs an additional $1.17 if bought with three ($11.96 x 3) or $5.16 with the monthly credit ($14.95). – Again I say as the title indicates, this is less of a book and more of an interview or one-on-one conversation. – There was so much more to Alan than his days on Laugh-In.
  • The Beauty of Living Twice by Sharon Stone – I felt deep empathy for Sharon as she recounted all that she’s endured. – Left-wing politics comes up throughout, but I made it to the end.
  • Mixed Plate: Chronicles of an All-American Combo by Jo Koy – “Josep!” – Jo’s brother reminded me of my late uncle Carmen, who also suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
  • After Mixed Plate, I encountered the second book that I had to disappointingly return for left-wing political reasons. I prefer not to name it or its author (and co-author), but I will say that they were also born and raised on Long Island.
  • Windswept & Interesting: My Autobiography by Billy Connolly – I started listening just after I had finished watching Billy in the final season of Head of the Class on HBO Max, and earlier this week, I heard him in Pocahontas on Disney+. – Like Jimmy Johnson, these days, Billy lives with his wife in the Florida Keys.
  • Bad Republican by Meghan McCain – Double entendre: “bad” because she’s not conservative enough and she and her family hate [the 45th president], and “bad” merely as a Republican. The latter “bad” is how her former co-hosts of The View perceived her. – Three audio clips are used: two of her father Senator John McCain and one of her impassioned eulogy at his memorial. – One “at the end of the day”
  • God Bless This Mess: Learning to Live and Love Through Life’s Best (and Worst) Moments by Hannah Brown – Vocal fry galore! – Felt nothing when she won her season of Dancing with the Stars and didn’t get along with her dance partner Alan Bersten (only referred to by his first name) – That admission, with about an hour left in the book, let me to make my third return of the year. I was so distraught, having wasted my time supporting her (even though I thought she didn’t deserve to win that season!), I couldn’t finish my workout on the morning I heard that part.
  • Dear Hartley: Thoughts on Character, Kindness, and Building a Brighter World by Jedediah Bila – Speaking of former hosts of The View, Jedediah’s Dear Hartley is a series of hopeful letters (chapters) to her currently-toddler son. – Each “letter” ends with “I love you more than life, Mama.”
  • Kind is the New Classy by Candace Cameron Bure – One “at the end of the day” – Hey, three The View ex-pats in one year! – While Candace spoke positively of her co-hosts in the book, since she was still on it in 2018, she has since admitted her experience was as bad as Meghan’s.
  • Based on a True Story: A Memoir by Norm Macdonald (1959-2021) – Yes, the first “d” is lowercase. – This is not a nonfiction memoir, but a fictional novel “based on a true story.” – It’s the story of egomaniacal Norm and his timid sidekick Adam Eget (“e-ghit”), intertwined with confessions from the supposed ghostwriter of the book, voiced “splendidly!” by Tim O’Halloran.
  • Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (1956-2016) – Before my animated theatrical journey began on Disney+, I watched all nine episodes of Star Wars (the Skywalker Saga) in episodic order. After finishing the original trilogy, I watched Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, a documentary produced by Carrie’s brother/Debbie’s son Todd, on HBO Max. Then, I decided to buy this audiobook and three of the next four below. – Left-wing politics, but through a 2008 lens
  • Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher (1956-2016) – A chronicle of Carrie’s experience with ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) treatments – It includes another hater-facilitated defense, this time of Michael Jackson. Good.
  • The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher – She talks about her experience making the original Star Wars trilogy and shares diary entries written during filming of the first one (Episode IV). – The diary entries are read by her daughter Billie Lourd. – Ends with modern-day dramatizations of fan encounters at conventions, which Carrie referred to as “celebrity lap dance(s),” a term she also used in Bright Lights.
  • The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family by Ron and Clint Howard (foreword written and read by actress Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron’s daughter) – This is a real memoir about Ron and Clint’s youth and the lives of their parents Rance and Jean Speegle Howard. (I thought it was “Spiegel” as I listened since I have a friend with that last name.) – I’ve since heard Clint in The Jungle Book and two Winnie the Pooh shorts, via The Many Adventures of…, on Disney+. – This was temporarily the longest audiobook I’ve ever listened to, surpassing I’ll Be Back Right After This by Pat O’Brien.
  • My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher – Todd’s memoir and point of view of the events chronicled in Carrie and Debbie’s books, which are occasionally excerpted – Todd says “two thousand and” for 2001 and beyond, even for 2010 and beyond. – He kept saying “in the end,” but I’ll take a million of those over one “at the end of the day.” Bravo, Todd. – Only five minutes shorter than The Boys
  • The Masked Man: A Memoir and Fantasy of Hollywood by Tom Wilson – This is the book I listened to on YouTube. Tom posted chapters to his channel daily over three weeks in January. – Like Norm’s book, there’s a fictional aspect (“and fantasy of”). You don’t really think Clayton Moore followed him around like a shadow, do you? – I made a playlist of all the chapters, but you may buy on Audible if it’ll clear your conscience.
  • The President and the Freedom Fighter: Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Their Battle to Save America’s Soul by Brian Kilmeade – A book about the lives of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass
  • But Enough About Me: A Memoir by Burt Reynolds (1936-2018) with Jon Winokur (read by Burt) – Burt lists many of the people that helped shape his life. – I don’t know if it was the frailty of age, but Burt’s delivery was mostly whispered. – I’m thankful to Burt for reminding me of Sally Field’s verbatim acceptance speech when she won the Academy Award for Best Actress, her second, for her role in Places in the Heart, and how it alluded to her previous win for Norma Rae. Read about that in her Wikipedia entry.
  • I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This!: and Other Things That Strike Me as Funny by Bob Newhart (abridged) – The book is from 2002, so Bob’s speech was still clear and his voice wasn’t high. – Bob’s signature routines are sprinkled throughout. – I’ve since seen Bob in The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under on…guess where?
  • Coreyography by Corey Feldman – Empathy strikes again as my heart ached for what he and Corey Haim endured as children. – I have a hunch I’ve heard his father Bob Feldman on some David Benoit albums, but maybe it was a different Bob Feldman. – Corey, too, set the record straight on Michael Jackson. – Yeah, he was in one of those animated theatrical films I saw on Disney+ (that’s where): The Fox and the Hound.
  • Who I Am by Pete Townshend (“town’s end”) – Even longer than The Boys: 17 hours and 56 minutes. I still have around four hours left, but it’s quite an adventure. – The title is a play on his song “Who Are You?” for The Who.

As I crafted this post, adding one book at a time, I had no idea how many books I had listened to: 34, plus three that I returned! That far exceeds the amount of books in earlier posts.

Until next year’s “Audiobooking” post, happy listening.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike Chimeri

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

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

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

Mark ELVIS Goddard, @GBsBestElvis

He followed that up with…:

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

Mark ELVIS Goddard, @GBsBestElvis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Mike!

Dee Baker

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

Dee’s autograph

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

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

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

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

After that, I proceeded up to the show floor:

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

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

To Mike!

“King” Jerry Lawler (WWE) HOF 07

Jim Ross

WWE HOF ’07

Jerry and Jim’s autographs

…and a photo op with King and J.R.!:

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

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

I took some more photos on the show floor…:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to October 7.

Here’s my photographic journey back to Penn Station:

I reached Penn at 4:05…:

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

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

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

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

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