Michael Cavacini

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Archive for the tag “Cats”

Review: I And Me for Nintendo Switch

There are now more than 100 games available for Nintendo Switch, so it can be hard figuring out what to spend your money on. If you have $10 to spare and are looking for a game that is both relaxing and challenging, buy I And Me.

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It’s A Miracle!

It took me three years to interview Barry Manilow but I finally did it, and it wound up being a cover story – my first ever! During my 20-minute discussion with Barry, he told me that he’d be happy to meet me at his May 25 show in Nassau. However, a week before the concert it was still up in the air whether or not he’d have time to meet me and my friend that evening. Having not received a confirmation from his team prior to arriving at the box office, I didn’t have high hopes. When I gave the box office my ID and the person behind the window opened an envelope with my name on it, I saw two tickets and two backstage passes fall out on to the counter. I couldn’t believe it! I was going to meet Barry Manilow and have him autograph my cover-story interview with him. Better yet, I was with my friend Craig, who gave me a free front-row meet and greet package with Barry in LA in 2015. So, it was my turn to return the favor.

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Our New Kitten: Penny

first-photo-with-pennyOn Friday, November 25, Stephanie and I adopted a kitten and named her Penny. This was an impulse adoption. I had planned on bringing Stephanie to Morris Animal Refuge on her birthday, December 16, but we were walking by and she asked if we could go in to look at the kittens so I figured, why not?

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I’m Back From Mexico

My girlfriend and I are back from Mexico and it was a great trip. The weather was beautiful almost every day except for the last – but I’ll take a rainy day in the 60s over a chilly snowy day in Philly anytime. We went snorkeling with sea turtles and fish and visited Mayan ruins in Coba and Tulum. We also ate a ton of food, including a chocolate cake I couldn’t seem to get enough of at the “Cupcake Cafe” (i.e., Starbucks) on the resort. All in all, it was a great vacation and a fitting way to celebrate being in a relationship with my girlfriend for one year. For those interested, I highly recommend checking out Mexico; it’s a beautiful destination worth exploring.

We stayed at Sandos Playacar in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

We stayed at Sandos Playacar in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Our room was very nice and featured a jacuzzi.

Our room was very nice and featured a jacuzzi.

This was a great spot by the pool to relax, read or take a nap.

This was a great spot by the pool to relax, read or take a nap.

Here's a view of the beach from 5th Avenue in downtown Playa del Carmen.

Here’s a view of the beach from 5th Avenue in downtown Playa del Carmen.

I was convinced to partake in a Fish Spa treatment where small toothless fish remove dead skin from your feet. You could also refer to it as a nautical pedicure.

I was convinced to partake in a Fish Spa treatment where small toothless fish remove dead skin from your feet. You could also refer to it as a nautical pedicure.

Here's a closeup of the fish in action. It just tickled and felt like small vibrations. While the end result wasn't nearly as smooth as a pedicure, it wasn't bad for $10.

Here’s a closeup of the fish in action. It just tickled and felt like small vibrations. While the end result wasn’t nearly as smooth as a pedicure, it wasn’t bad for $10.

Here's a photo of us with a Shaman after he performed a ceremony asking the spirits to allow us to enter a Mayan cenote.

Here’s a photo of us with a Shaman after he performed a ceremony asking the spirits to allow us to enter a Mayan cenote.

And here's the cenote, which featured sea turtles and bats.

And here’s the cenote, which featured sea turtles and bats.

We had the opportunity to visit a Mayan family's home during our tour of Coba.

We had the opportunity to visit a Mayan family’s home during our tour of Coba.

Here's an inside shot of the home. They live very simply, and seeing this and learning how the community is economically and educationally deprived, made me more grateful for what I have here in the United States.

Here’s an inside shot of the home. Seeing this and learning how the community is economically and educationally deprived, made me more grateful for what I have here in the United States.

Here's that chocolate cake I mentioned earlier - it was amazing.

Here’s that chocolate cake I mentioned earlier – it was amazing.

There were several pools throughout the resort.

There were several pools throughout the resort.

There was also a mini-golf course that we took advantage of. While I lost to my girlfriend multiple times while playing air hockey in the game room, I won at this activity.

There was also a mini-golf course that we took advantage of. While I lost to my girlfriend multiple times at air hockey in the game room, I won at this activity.

In addition to monkeys, donkeys and lizards, the resort had approximately 10 cats that lived there. They had their own area called "Cat Cafe." One of these adorable felines became attached to us - we name her Rosa and she visited us a couple times in our room.

In addition to monkeys, donkeys and lizards, the resort had approximately 10 cats that lived there. They had their own outdoor area called “Cat Cafe.” One of these adorable felines became attached to us – we named her Rosa and she visited us a couple times in our room.

We climbed a massive ruin in Coba - I did it on all fours to avoid falling because it was so steep.

We climbed a massive ruin in Coba – I did it on all fours to avoid falling because it was so steep.

Here we are at the top of the ruin - it may not be obvious but I was frightened to go down.

Here we are at the top of the ruin – it may not be obvious but I was frightened to take this photo … and climb back down.

Thankfully I made it to the bottom of the ruin by sliding down, step by step, on my butt and clinging to the rope going down the middle.

Thankfully I made it to the bottom of the ruin by sliding down, step by step, on my butt and clinging to the rope going down the middle.

Here we are getting ready to snorkel for the first time.

Here we are getting ready to snorkel for the first time.

The best part of snorkeling was the cute sea turtles - they would pop their heads above water every few minutes to breath.

The best part of snorkeling was the cute sea turtles – they would pop their heads above water every few minutes to breathe.

We also saw a stingray. Thankfully these photos were taken by the instructor, not us.

We also saw a stingray. Thankfully these photos were taken by the instructor, not us.

And, of course, we were surrounded by fish, which was a surreal and somewhat scary experience.

And, of course, we were surrounded by fish, which was a surreal and somewhat scary experience.

We also visited Tulum where there are Mayan ruins and a beautiful beach.

We also visited Tulum where there are Mayan ruins and a beautiful beach.

The gorgeous beach in Tulum.

The gorgeous beach in Tulum.

In between holes on the mini-golf course, we got to see a monkey up close.

In between holes on the mini-golf course, we got to see a monkey up close.

And here's an iguana named Poncho - he lives on the resort in a tree.

And here’s an iguana named Poncho blending in with the bottom left root of his tree house.

Barry Manilow – Here Comes The Night

Barry Manilow - Here Comes The Night 1

Thanks to my friend, Mary, I was recently able to get my hands on a copy of Barry Manilow’s out-of-print album, Here Comes The NightOriginally released in 1982, this was Manilow’s 12th record and the studio album that preceded it was If I Should Love Again, which was filled with beautiful ballads including “Somewhere Down The Road” and my favorite, “The Old Songs.”

After having listened to Here Comes The Night several times, I have to say I think it’s a shame that it’s not available to the public. It’s a wonderful collection of music. And while the album went platinum, it didn’t spawn as many hits as it should have. I blame this on Arista because the music quality was top notch. Below are my six favorite songs out of the album’s 11 tracks.

“Here Comes The Night”

This song is spectacular. It’s a traditional Barry Manilow power ballad that soars. Between the gorgeous arrangement and heartfelt vocal, I get lost every time I listen to it. This track should have been a monster hit, but it wasn’t. I’d love to hear Barry perform it live the next time I see him; it’s one of his most underrated numbers.

“Memory” 

“Memory” is the most popular song from Cats, the 1981 musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It’s a beautiful song that many artists have covered, including Barbra Streisand, whose version of the song charted lower than Manilow’s. Anytime Barry Manilow sings a Broadway show tune, I listen with rapt attention. His voice is perfect for these kinds of songs and he knows how to make them sound magnificent. This is one of his best.

“Some Kind Of Friend” 

I would classify this as a rock-infused pop song. It has a harder edge to it than the other music on the album, but it’s still as infectious as Manilow’s other hits. The funky synthesizer, descriptive lyrics and catchy chorus make this a song that gets stuck in my head frequently.

“I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter” 

Here’s a song that’s been covered by everyone from Nat “King” Cole to Paul McCartney. It’s simple, funny and catchy as hell. And when I hear Barry Manilow’s version, it makes me think of Elvis. It has that rockabilly sound “The King” was known for; and when listening to Manilow’s recording, it’s clear he had a lot of fun with this number.

“Getting Over Losing You” 

What a terrific melody. The chord progression in this song is simply wonderful. It tells a great story, the vocal is spectacular and just like “Here Comes The Night,” it should have been a massive hit. I love it.

“Stay” 

One of the things that makes Barry Manilow a great live act is he performs the songs he enjoys – not just the hits. About a year or two ago, he started adding “Stay” to his set and longtime fans loved it. This sexy mid-tempo number is another song that didn’t get the attention it deserved. The haunting chorus is one that I find myself singing long after the song has ended.

George Carlin On Cats

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George Carlin’s third HBO special, Carlin at Carnegie, featured an excellent bit about cats. For anyone that’s interacted with these cute creatures on a regular basis, the following clip will make you nod in agreement as well as laugh out loud. Enjoy!

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