Someone Needs To Explain This To Me

bank headquarters

If you’ve read this blog any length of time you know I’m a supporter of the president and administration. We part temporarily right now.

What’s the deal with yesterday’s ‘takedown’ of Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland? They all pleaded guilty to rigging foreign currency markets.

It’s stuff you don’t usually think about. It affects you through mortgage and credit card interest rates plus a bunch of other fees and charges. We were being swindled.

Crooked.

Rigged.

This is organized crime in the 21st Century. This is how people rob and steal. No one will go to jail. $5.6 Billion in fines. No one will serve time.

I am flabbergasted. I am enraged. As long as no one is held accountable it will continue.

This Is Only An Exhibition. This is Not A Competition. Please, No Wagering

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After 33 years on nighttime TV, David Letterman calls it quits tonight. He’s pretty much admitted to no longer being contemporary in this era of YouTube clips and Twitter memes. Sad.

I was a Letterman fan from Day One, back when he was a young stand-up comedian appearing on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. He was edgy and vital, always willing to bite the hand that fed him.

I was in Buffalo when Dave started in late night. It was a show we, an NBC affiliate, didn’t carry. Vicky Gregorian, our program director, heard my pleas to clear “Late Night” nearly every day.

It took time, but we did finally air him. My kvetching probably had little to do with it in the long run.

David Letterman autographed photoThe photo on the left was an early 80s gift from my girlfriend, Helaine. It’s an autographed Happy Birthday greeting from Dave, standing on 5th Avenue across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

David Letterman was so strong at one point I forced myself to stop watching! I was inadvertently doing my Letterman impression on-the-air.

Helaine and I first visited the show in 1982. Andrea Martin was a guest. Maybe July 11?

We’d gotten tickets through a friend, were brought in early, sat up front and schmoozed with Biff Henderson. When Dave took a few questions from the audience, Helaine asked about his makeup.

“My boyfriend is a weatherman in Buffalo…”

geoff-at-ed-sullivan-theaterLetterman answered her question, started the show, then referred back to his conversation with Helaine.

“Sir, Where are you a weatherman?” Letterman asked coast-to-coast.

“Buffalo,” I shouted in my network debut (voice only).

I’ve been back to see Dave a few times since. The latest was when Matt Scott invited me to the Christmas show with Darlene Love. Dream fulfilled.

I rooted for Dave when Carson decided to retire. Dave was shafted. Everyone knew it. Alas, the revenge we all hoped for, Dave beating Jay Leno, never came.

Dave was the cutting edge. No more. That’s the saddest part for me. He had it, but let it slip away. As a performer I work hard every day making sure my flame is always lit, my passion always there. Dave seemed to have given up.

Though I no longer watch as often, I will miss knowing Letterman is there. Like his hero, Johnny Carson, Dave will probably fade into the woodwork out-of-the public eye.

Dave is my hero.

My Project Continues

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I’m working on a video project. I mentioned that yesterday.

It looked simple from afar. It’s complex up-close. There are many problems to be solved, but only once. After a workflow is established things get much easier.

bref.movieI’m very lucky. By the time I got into TV, people had figured it out. There were expectations and formats to guide me. I wasn’t blazing a path.

This project (and, again, it’s not a big deal) started with identifying a niche. It hasn’t been done before. My job is figuring out all the steps.

The project needs maps. Not many. Nothing special. Very simple, by design.

Enter Bob, my friend from FSU. He produces a trove of maps every day. I asked nicely if he would produce one more set HDTV size? It’s a simulated radar forecast based on the NAM model with one hour resolution to 36 hours.

There is nothing like this on the Internet. It’s not needed there. These maps are made for standing in front of and pointing!

I asked Bob one more favor. Now his server delivers them to my server as soon as they’re rendered. Easy for my gear to grab and me to automate.

This is exciting stuff for me. The future I hoped for as a kid exists right now. Technology unlocks so many doors.

I can’t ever let it get ahead of me.

FAO Schwarz Is Closing And I’m Sad

fao schwarz

I am saddened to hear FAO Schwarz is closing their iconic Midtown Manhattan store. To quote another angry New Yorker, “The rent’s too damned high.”

FAO Schwarz (which through most of my life I made Jewish by pronouncing it Schwartz) was a must see for any New York City visitor. It’s where Tom Hanks did his piano dance in “Big.”

Here’s the weird thing. As a kid I used to hang out at FAO Schwarz many Saturdays. They welcomed me. I was good for business!

My trips to Schwarz started when I was around ten. My cousin and I used to go into the city by ourselves via bus and subway. We’d take the E train to 5th Avenue and 53rd Street, pop out of the Tishman Building (666 5th Avenue) and head north.

FAO Schwarz wasn’t for the common folk–like me. Its exotic, often imported, toys were high end and seldom discounted. The shoppers were grandparents and sometimes out-of-town parents, nearly always without their kids.

This is where I came in. Confused shoppers wanted my opinion. I was a representative kid.

At FAO Schwarz many of the toys were on display unpacked, out in-the-open and ready for play. And play I did. I spent hours there.

My cousin and I were polite, but it was obvious we were unsupervised. Yet no one at FAO ever questioned us or asked us to leave. We were providing a valuable service. Like I said, we were good for business.

FAO Schwarz was my aspirational toy store. I’m still mostly a kid. It will be missed.

Sometimes My Lips Are Sealed

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No blogging for the past few days. That’s unlike me. I’m doing stuff I’m not ready to talk about and, of course, staying quiet is driving me crazy.

I am normally an equal opportunity blabber! Tonight, my lips are sealed.

Something’s getting put together. That means time downstairs in the studio and upstairs with my editing gear.

It’s become clear that the studio makes my house an actual production house! All the tools are here, which is crazy. Not that many years ago it would have taken seven figures to replicate what I have. Now it’s a tiny fraction of the original cost and with better quality!

It’s discomforting to see some of the stumbling blocks that made me a horrible student are still deeply entrenched. I suffer from ‘writers block,’ except not just for writing. It’s just tough for me to get started. I procrastinate well. Once moving things go smoothly… it’s getting moving that’s the problem.

Editing is a lot of fun. It’s probably the least understood piece of the creative process. A really good editor (I know a few and I’m not one) can make or break a piece. There are so many tools available to enhance storytelling or save bad shots. Those same tools can work against you. It’s important to keep your eye on content, not just presentation.

When it all comes together I’ll give you a look. In the meantime, I’m busy in front of screens keeping my mouth shut.

They Love The Rain

There are some things I’m just going to have to get used to. I have never seen so many people happy about a rainy day! Really, people are ecstatic. We didn’t get much. The rain started falling before dawn and was gone around 3:00 PM. Most areas got between an eighth and quarter inch–aka, very […]

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Today’s List Of Tsuris

I’m currently doing just what I don’t want to be doing — restoring my control room computer. It has been an arduous day in the studio. Overnight my server updated its software. Nothing incredibly unusual there. In doing so it stopped syncing files with my TriCaster control room. Maps were no longer flying automatically from […]

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It’s Sad My Mom’s Not Here

This is my first motherless Mother’s Day. It’s sad she won’t be here with us today. Her death was the last step on a long road where the woman we knew and loved slowly disappeared. It didn’t seem fair for my mom’s life to be as burdened as it was with infirmity. She finally surrendered. […]

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On Being Recognized

As I went to pay, the attendant said, “Hey, aren’t you that PM Magazine guy?”

I smiled and said, “Yes.”

He looked at my rust stained 1977 “Baby Poop Yellow” Toyota Camry then at me. “What are you doing driving that piece of s**t?”

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Bad Night — Good Dog

Now it’s coming back to me. I remember inclement weather! Isn’t this why we moved?

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