Friday, March 30, 2012

Vegas Vacation

It came from out of the blue. Hit my cell phone while I was having dinner with Sean one Wednesday night - maybe six or seven weeks ago. In short, it said that I had been invited to a wedding. Well, that's not true actually. Carrie had been invited to go her friends' wedding, and Kristi (the said friend) had made a point of writing my name on the envelope.

Who am I to say no? Carrie - looking beautiful at a wedding. The bride suggesting that I be the "guest." Me, getting to rock a nice suit. Food. Drinks. Dancing. Fun!

Oh yeah, and did I mention it would all take place in Las Vegas?


This was the part where I was going to complain about American Airlines.  And flying.  And Delta Airlines.  But really, who cares about plane troubles? We got there safely, and it's the destination that counts!  It's not like the pilot went off the old reservation of something.

Touchdown had us off and running quickly, into a rental car (Huyndai, not bad) and onto the Strip, where in no time we had checked into the ab-so-lutely spectacular ARIA Resort and Casino. I can't recommend it highly enough - from the fact that the casino did not smell like an ash tray, to the shops, to the restaurants, to the room and all of its amenities, it was a first class place (that did not break the bank). We soon dashed off to meet a classmate and friend of Carrie's at Hash House a Go Go inside of the Imperial Palace. Now, I should tell you that this restaurant is a chain with six locations, and more to come. I should also tell you that Carrie and I ate at the one in San Diego in January, 2011 (look for the picture of the bacon waffles). And the person we had dinner with - the friend and classmate of Carrie's, is none other than the owner of this fine chain! Oh, and the food is so good.
Chicken? Meet waffles. Now meet Rob. Enjoy! I would have recommended it before I ever met the man. Now I'll recommend it even more.

The next day, we hit the road for the brand new Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge (aka Hoover Dam Bypass).  Holy cow but what an impressive site it is, and it allows for an even more stunning view of the Dam (or as Beavis would say, "is this a God Dam?").
We would drive down there also, stopping where old US 93 stops (you can't go any farther on the old road, for security reasons).

On our way back into Nevada (leaving Arizona and Mountain Time Zone), we were stopped on US 93.  Slammed into a long line of traffic.  It seems some guy named Obama was in Boulder City and that slowed us down, and eventually detoured us around Lake Mead - in the end, all good.  The rest of the day was spent goofing around in various casinos, figuring out where and what to eat, and enjoying Las Vegas.

The following day was Kristi and Jared's wedding.  I have no problem telling you that they are a fairly perfect couple, and I was thrilled to be at their party.  Hey, if one could find a complaint, it was that the evening was so nice and it ended too soon!  It was surprising to hear the DJ say that the last song was coming.  I wish them so much love, happiness, and laughs in their life ahead.  I can't help but believe true love still exists.

Oh, but I failed to mention a little thing over at the Mirage (I walked through so many casinos!) called "Love."  Or more importantly, The Beatles' Love!  Now I didn't go see the show (ticket prices are high) but I looked around at all that they had there, including the shop where I bit the bullet and picked up a few trinkets.
Here, 50 years after they began to hit, the Fabs continue to dominate and amaze.  That's probably a topic for another time.

Friday began at Hash House again, but this time at the location on Sahara (ah, the streets that are named for the older - and demolished - casinos).  More waffles for me - the plates are crazy big but the food is amazing.  From there, it was a long drive into the desert, this time on US 95, California.

OK, it's only 56 miles, but those are some long and boring miles at times.  Granted, you can do 75 on them (yes, that's the speed limit, folks), but still!

That is, until you hit the town of Searchlight, then 25!  But what a charming town it is, with a general store, casino, and McDonald's, along with the turnoff onto the Joshua Tree Highway, which carried us back into California, and onto I-15, where I drove us back to Las Vegas.

That took us to our last night with more dinner, more walking (more blisters on my feet), and eventually to sleep to get ready to come home.

Saturday involved more driving, more food, and time at the Rio casino.  Not the best casino - at all - but an OK way to grab a final meal and waste a few more dollars.  And by that point, I had a serious case of end of vacation blues.  Just sad.  Things on my mind.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.
And back to New York we went.  I feel like I've been adjusting to the time change ever since.

I guess there should be more to say about this trip, but I seem to be doing the "brevity" thing.  More stories at another time, perhaps.

Some Quick Hits - Pics and Stuff

First (and second) on the agenda are pictures from Shorpy.  It's always so fun to spend a few minutes perusing the goods there.  Two really struck my eye:

One and Two.  Both were taken in 1914 in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Both are of crew teams at the Poughkeepsie Regatta with the Hudson River nearby.  But look even closer.  There's a bridge in the background, and since the Mid-Hudson Bridge wouldn't be open until 1930, there is one easy conclusion to draw: this is what is now known as the Walkway Over The Hudson State Park.  It has only be open about 25 years at the time of these pictures.

Moving on, baseball season sort-of, kind-of opened this week when the A's and Mariners played in Tokyo.  Always one to be timely, Jon from R-VA brings us a view of the New York Giants playing the Cleveland Indians in 1946.  Mooers Field was home to Richmond's minor league team, the Colts, from 1942 to 1953, when the team left the city.  Parker Field was renovated and essentially replaced Mooers in 1954, and the current building, The Diamond, opened on the site of Parker Field in 1985.  The Richmond Times-Dispatch has a map of all the ballparks here.

I.  Love.  This.  Ladies and gentlemen, courtesy of Stuck in the 80's, here are Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers.

That's about all I've got for a Friday night.

Craig Carton Called Hank Haney "Scum"

Hank Haney was on WFAN Radio today for an interview with Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason.  What was supposed to be an interview to promote Haney's book about life with Tiger Woods turned ugly.

Deadspin breaks it all down for us.

Craig Carton called somebody a "horrible human being" and "scum of the earth?"  Yeah...pot, meet kettle.

I'm not defending Haney - at all - but still.

This serves as a nice reminder why I don't listen to WFAN in the morning - and basically only listen for Mike Francesa and Steve Sommers.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Training with the Cubs in the 70's

Have a look at this video, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune that I found via Uni Watch. It's a fun look back at Spring Training and baseball in the 1970's. You'll forgive me if my favorite part begins around the 6:00 mark, in which a prominent Yankee-turned-Giant-turned Cub (who eventually returned to his beloved pinstripes)makes an appearance.

If you haven't heard, I'm doing a radio show again. It's called "The Press Box", and we're building a great list of guests. So I suggest you tune in if you haven't already.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Elton is 65!

I'm back from Vegas, where I'm not sure that anything that happened needed to "stay" there. Silly stories, good laughs, and a really sweet wedding with two really sweet people who are meant for each other. I'll post pictures and maybe tell you about the trip when time allows.

But I just saw Elton John has turned 65. One of the great musicians and songwriters (along with Bernie Taupin) of our time (granted, I'm less enamored with his latter work, but still, he's pretty brilliant).

Here he is doing one of my favorites, "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters." I'll always remember hearing this song as I rode the subways of New York just after meeting Carrie, and how it made me like the song even more.

And how can I possibly forget the Stewie Griffin/William Shatner take on Eltons' "Rocket Man?"

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Did I mention The Press Box starts tomorrow? Did I also mention that we still need to book a guest? And that I'm also trying to pack to go away on Tuesday?

And I'm going here?


Nowhere Man

I'm Packing (going away on Tuesday), cleaning, watching hoops, etc. Had Sprinsteen on before (did I mention Wrecking Ball is incredible?) Then I popped some Beatles on. Started in the Rubber Soul era. "Nowhere Man" came on.

Wow. It hit home. That's all. Here are the lads singing it in Yellow Submarine. Did they ever make a sadder song?

Speaking of the Fabs, here's a nice composite of Paul/The Beatles doing "I'm Down", another tough song, although more upbeat. But still, not a happy-go-lucky number at all. Yeah...

I like the way this combines The Beatles at Shea Stadium with Sir Paul at Citi Field (which, you might recall, I went to in 2009). I especially enjoyed Paul doing this because it was a real highlight of their 1965 visit to Shea, with John Lennon playing some wild and wacky organ. Always a good Beatles laugh.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Pat's with a Jersey Twist

Thanks to my friend Johnny I (not Irish) for passing this along.  The Dropkick Murphy's and The Boss visit "Badlands." Yes, I know it's a year old. Let's not split hairs.

PS: go get Bruce's Wrecking Ball. Now.

On This St. Patrick's Day...

We pause for just a moment to remember on this day. If that means we're interrupting the wearing o' the green and green beer and green bagels and whatever, then so be it.

For just a moment.

It's been 23 years since the man in those grainy photos left us. Those images aren't clear but it's OK, since memory is never picture-perfect. There he is, with his youngest child on the beach at Howard Park in Florida in 1970. There he is, with his wife, outside his fathers' house in Holiday, Florida.

And then, in 1989, he was gone.

Twenty-three years. Seems like forever. Or maybe yesterday. It's all in how you look at it.

Didn't want to dwell on it.  No desire to be morose. Just wanted to pause and remember for a moment.

He lives on in his children and grandchildren.

We now return you to your green life.

Two Days to The Press Box

Hopefully, it's clear enough to see in that picture. That's a part of the cover page of, and it's promoting Monday's premiere of - what is it? - oh, right.

"The Press Box."

I was in the Greenwich area yesterday, and listened to Tony Savino do the Noon NewsCenter, when he ran a promo for the show. I hear that an ad is going to run in one of the newspapers.

I'm not jaded - not even a little. I've been in radio for over 20 years, and still feel a thrill to hear and see these things.

The show debuts Monday. Still more work to be done!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Best Laugh of the Day

Thank you, "Big Bang Theory" for causing me to LOL. Yes, literally. Almost to the point of having trouble breating. Watch...

The Tappan Zee Bridge is Neato!

A promotional video from the fine folks at the New York State Thruway, upon the opening of the Tappaz Zee Bridge in 1955.

I love that shot of the bridge at the end. It appears traffic is backed up on the TZ. That seems about right.

Broken Escalator

Carrie told me about this and it is pretty darn funny. Watch for yourself. It says something about people, doesn't it?

What Should the Theme Song for "The Press Box" Be?

I Googled "what music should i use for my new sports show" and this came up.  Go figure.

We're at PB-minus five and there's still some work to be done. For instance, who will the first guest (or guests) be? I have an idea on that. But the question boggling my mind is about music.

It's difficult when you have 15,519 songs in your iTunes. And that's not even my entire collection. It gets overwhelming! So I reached out to my musical genius of a friend, Mr. Jon from R-VA, and asked him for some original compositions.

Jon, it should be noted, played in a legendary hardcore band called Up Front (Wikipedia entry here!). Indeed, I want up-tempo music for the show, but Jon felt the old Up Front tunes might be too much. Still ever the sport, Jon sent along two Up Front tracks, along with two songs from another of his bands, Dayspring, and one from a friends' band, Against Grace. All really good stuff.

Chris Erway, Mr. Wingman himself, suggested a theme song from a wrestler, which I'll decline to post for now. I like the song a lot, but my concern is that it won't necessarily be identified with us.

That of course is the same problem with picking any familiar song.

I would bet that among others who read here - Harold, Mick, and BL (the once and always, "John Harrison" of Majic 105 fame) will have some suggestions). So I'm throwing it open to the loyal (and not-so-loyal) readers of "Exit 55." I want something that pops. I want something that fires me up for the show. I want something snappy (movie quote**, name it!)

I need help!!

**Movie quote answer: Mr. White (Tom Hanks) in That Thing You Do!

Mike D'Antoni Resigns...No Shock Here

Mike D'Antoni has quit as head coach of the New York Knicks. To be quite honest, this news has not not surprised me at all. The team has been in free fall for a few weeks now. D'Antoni and his star player, Carmelo Anthony, clearly did not get along. In a star-driven league, the player wins every time.

The boo birds have won, and they normally get their way, dating back to the days of Allie Sherman and the football Giants ("Goodbye Allie").

It's not a coincidence (to me) that the Knickerbockers have not played well since Anthony returned from an injury. Prior to his return, the Knicks had become a New York story again, as "Linsanity" raged thoughout the Tri-state area. Now they're back to being not-so-good and on the edge of being out of the playoff picture.

It has gotten ugly at the World's Most Famous Arena (I still wonder if that building really deserves that title anymore. It probably is, but...). So who has to go? Yep, the coach. And out he goes. Just looking at the Social Mediaverse, it seems the feeling is united that people are happy he's gone.

I'm not among them. Look, I knew D'Antoni was dead-man walking. But I never felt like he was given the tools. Consider how bad the Knicks were when he first got here.

Ah, it never matters. Always blame the coach.


I blame the players. Specifically, I blame Carmelo Anthony. I wanted him to come to New York. I thought he would bring a world of talent to the Garden. He did. He just hasn't brought winning with him.

So now begins the Phil Jackson talk. It's clearly - definitively - Big Chief Triangle's job to take. He can come home to the MSG, where he once helped the Knicks win a title, way back in 1973...

Yep. That's him.

Be careful what you wish for, New York. Just saying.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Third "Press Box" Promo

Here's the last of the three original promos for the new show. In this one, I've "reopened" The Press Box after a few years. I like the sound of it. Simple and efficient.

Gotta love some sound effects! It's a combinations of Hudson Valley Renegades baseball, Greenwich Cardinals hockey, Mount Saint Mary College basketball, and Rye football play-by-play calls, along with the Greenwich cheerleaders (circa 2003), Bob Small saying "hockey" (from the opening of our Brunswick School hockey broadcasts) and a few other sounds.

It wasn't what I originally had in mind, but I like it.

New "Press Box" Promo

It's possible that there's nothing more dangerous than three friends trapped in a radio production studio (with another friend on the phone).

I should have saved the outtakes. I should have saved everything. Pure comic genius.

I had a couple of ideas for the new promos for"Press Box." You've already heard the first one, where the deep voiced movie-type promo guy (voiced by a very handsome blogger) gets mocked by all three of us. But that version got lost, so all we have is this: the deep voiced dude, with me asking him questions, and Sean Adams (age 10) providing the final line.

If you're new to this or know nothing about me, then allow me to tell you that I love parody. For over a decade I was part of a wonderful set of videos for the softball league that I was a part of in which we did a different themed parody every year. It is still a goal of mine to get some of those goodies on YouTube.

Back to the topic at hand. Chris Erway, Chris Kaelin, Ryan DeMaria and Peter Griffin (well, not really, but I'm watching Family Guy as I'm typing) decided to have some fun with the Jerry Stiller Capital One radio commercials. The truth is that none of the ideas came out as I thought, but I still like these promos. Nice work by all involved. I love the natural sound of the Kaelin household in the background, in which wife, daughters, and whatever else goes on in "Kato World" can be heard. And Ryan's "creepy old spokesperson" is just funny.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I'm Back

Those were the two words that Michael Jordan famously sent out when he returned to the NBA in 1995. My announcement is hardly earth shattering, but I'm hoping that people will be happy about it anyway.

"The Press Box" is back! WGCH's owner Michael Metter gave his support to a return to sports talk on the station, and I will head up that effort. The guys who have supported our broadcasters for some time now will ride shotgun with me.

Just as we did in the "Box's" previous incarnations, I want the show to feature all sports, with a mostly local approach. To that end, I want to have guests from everywhere, and not just Greenwich. Oh we won't ignore national sports, and will certainly take note of things in New York City and Boston - and the wide world as well - but our first take will be in our area.

I'll also look for great guests of note. By that I mean broadcasters, authors, writers, reporters (I've already targeted Paul Silverfarb), bloggers...anyone! Any good story is worth telling. Any good guest is worth hearing from.

We haven't picked our first guest. Who will it be? Tune in and find out on Monday, March 19th at 7:00 PM. And I'll go out on a limb and say that, while we're going to start out as one-hour show, I'm quickly aiming to get to two.

To me, it's just the beginning of a new era for WGCH Sports. I'm hoping - seriously hoping - that we can get back to broadcasting more games, from high schools to legion ball, and beyond. I've got an enthusiastic team behind me that wants it, with tremendous talent to do big things.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me, Wingman (Chris Erway), Kato (Chris Kaelin), or Deemer (Ryan DeMaria) if you want to be on the show, or have an idea.  I can be reached here, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@double5).  I expect us to quickly put together a new Facebook page and Twitter account for the show, and hope you'll like and follow us over there also.

We've got work to do.

Something New Is On The Way

The tension builds...

Friday, March 09, 2012

The Links, The Dinks, and So On

I'm typing away on my not-so-trusty laptop (curse you, Dell!) in part to see if the damn thing actually works! I'll save the news for a another time, but there are some things in the works that would require a reliable laptop so that I can work on the road.

So I'm using this post to see if this laptop will survive. Best to do this then avoid possibly dropping some money on a new machine.


Ken MacMillan writes on his blog that a Hudson Valley AM station has changed their format. Curiously, 106.3 on the FM dial from Mount Kisco has changed their format to a simulcast of country as well (of 105.5 FM).

A side note (as such, we're into Off the Bench territory): My first radio home was 105.5 FM, WMJV-FM. It has changed hands and formats several times since then and has never seemed to find an answer. So not it is country, and has been for a few years. I have nothing against current country music, per se, and like acts like Lady Antebellum quite a bit. But I'm just more old school. Is Westchester County really hankering for some hee-haw? I guess time will tell.

Staying in the media, Channel 4 (WNBC) is apparently parting with Sue Simmons, who formed a long-time partnership with Chuck Scarborough. The New York Times has more. My $.02? Fail. Big time fail. Anchors around New York have otherwise become interchangeable. I'm not sure I could tell you that any of them impress me. But Chuck and Sue always felt like old friends. Both of them are 68, for whatever that is worth.

They're partnership (the longest in New York history) reminded me of the teams of my youth. Bill Beutel and Roger Grimsby on WABC immediately come to mind.

I can't let the topic of Sue Simmons go without this little dandy. We'll always love you, Sue!

In the Jeff Pearlman corner of Exit 55-land, we check in with our favorite Mahopac High grad-turned sportswriter as he does his "Quaz" with Sean Salisbury. It's a great read. I agree that Salisbury deserves another shot on network TV. There are too many examples of worse broadcasters for me to discuss.

So far, so good with the computer thing. Just thought I'd throw that in.

The CIAC (the Connecticut body of sports government) is working on creating a broadcasting outlet for sports. Sean Patrick Bowley has some details. chance they could use some talented voices. Sean Salisbury and I could call a few games.

Coach over at All Things Next has a few items of note. Allow him to explain why Chris Cornell is uncool. No, really. Coach also posts a video of the day. In this one, he introduces us to an artist named Meiko with her song "Stuck on You." Good song, cute video. Worth a look. In this video of the day, the Coachmeister (my nickname, not his) brings what is, almost without question, the It has been suggested that this video destroyed Billy Squiers' career. Who am I to argue?

Mr. Jon has some before and after Vintage Richmond for us. In this case, Rose and Lilah's dad shows pictures of Broad St at 1st. Great stuff as always.

Perfect segue, since Jon and I have debated this topic a few times...over at Stuck in the 80's, Steve Spears wonders if The Joshua Tree is really U2's best album. I say hell no! I'll take Boy, War, and The Unforgettable Fire right off the bat. Of course, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is undeniably right near the top of the most overrated and overplayed songs ever (but of course, there's that little ditty of Jack and Diane to discuss). It's also the first and, so far, only song to get me to walk out of a concert to use the rest room. So there.

I still have to get Mr. Springsteen's latest, by the way. The Boss is rocking the Apollo as I write this. I have no tickets to see Bruce and E Street on his new tour. Yet. Sigh...

Lastly, over at Uni Watch, a very interesting question has been posed: what is each city's most sacred uniform number? In other words: what is the definitive number? I honestly can't come up with one for New York. I'm trying, but I'm finding it difficult.

And the computer is still working! There's hope!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Matt Brown Drops Ceremonial First Puck

If this doesn't make you smile, get choked up, or shed a tear, well then I guess there's no hope for you. This is Matt Brown, whom I'm proud to call a friend (along with his father), dropping the ceremonial first puck at last weekend's Bruins/Islanders game in Boston.

Matt has been through a lot since his on-ice injury in 2010. Richie and Rit Spezzano introduced Chris Kaelin and I to Matt and his dad, Michael Brown. Father and son both appeared on "The Press Box" and I continue to keep an eye on Matt's progress.

Richie Spezzano sent this video to me. Watch and enjoy.

Maybe, just maybe, there could be a reappearance on a future show from Matt and his dad? Stay tuned...

Monday, March 05, 2012

The Yankees via an iPhone

Thought you might enjoy seeing these brilliant pictures shot by photographer Nick Laham. What makes them most interesting is that he shot them on his iPhone, in a bathroom.

Laham's own blog has some details and some of the pictures. David Bergams' site has some more details, including a link to Getty Images, which picked up the pictures for distribution.