Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo’

 

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

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

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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.

You’ll Never Guess Who I Ran Into?

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

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My dad and I went to the movies this afternoon to see Chris Rock’s “Top Five.” The real story happened before we went into the theater. I heard my name, “Geoff?” It was Beth Krom.

Beth is friends with my Irvine Fox cousins and very active politically. Oh… and her father is like a god to me. No, really.

Whomever you grew up watching on TV news, Irv Weinstein was bigger! WKBW Eyewitness News dominated Buffalo television in a way impossible today. Irv’s newscasts normally beat the other stations combined. I worked for the competition. It was humbling.

Irv was known for his staccato delivery of alliteration laden news copy. He was not hired for his chiseled good looks nor his “J” school pedigree. Yet he was everything a news anchor should be, which is why so many chose to watch. Irv took responsibility for everything that hit air.

I ran into Irv thirty years ago as I was considering the offer that brought me to Connecticut. We were at Chef’s, an old school Buffalo Italian restaurant where he often had dinner. He took me aside and gave me some fatherly advice.

He didn’t have to. He was a big deal and I was just starting out. He was that kind of guy. The people of Buffalo understood this viscerally.

I walked over to Beth, who introduced me to her family and said her father would soon be there!

He looks great. He sounds great. He has lost nothing off the fastball. Like me, Irv ditched winter for Irvine.

I took this picture with Irv, my dad and me. I’ve never felt so tall in my life!

Do You Miss Buffalo?

Friday, November 21st, 2014

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I was just on the phone with my dad. We talked about the weather a little. He’s in Milwaukee where it’s 29 with a wind chill of 22. My office window thermometer shows 72.

“Bet you’re glad you’re not in Buffalo,” he said.

I am.

766 Auburn Ave   Google Maps

I lived here, at 766 Auburn Avenue (Google streetview link) in the third floor apartment. It was a beautiful one bedroom with no insulation and enough water pressure to take a shower if no one in the other two apartments was! During the summer we were woken by squirrel races on the roof.

Those who live in Buffalo do so by choice. Anyone who wanted to leave left a long time ago. There is a survivor spirit among the residents.

It is a really nice, liveable city. Real estate is very reasonable. Summers are magical. Winters are hellish.

Starting in mid-November a thick veil of low clouds descends upon the city. This is the beginning of the process that spawns Lake Effect snow. It’s convection, like bubbles in a pot of boiling water. It will remain mainly cloudy with a handful of exceptions until spring.

This time of year the Great Lakes are warm and the flow through the atmosphere cold. Warm air near the lake’s surface is drawn up, condensing as it cools. Clouds form, often dropping snow.

Lake Effect season begins suddenly. The start is when the potential for big storms is greatest… as we saw this past week. Once Lake Erie freezes the process shuts down.

Lake Ontario doesn’t freeze. Sorry Syracuse.

For a real Lake Effect event, winds must be aligned through the atmosphere often parallel to a lake’s longest dimension.

These storms are VERY localized. The physics involved in Lake Effect snow is very similar to summertime thunderstorm formation. In fact, sometimes thundersnow is part of a Lake Effect storm.

Think “thunderstorm downpour” of snow… except instead of moving on, the storm continues for hours or days relentlessly.

aurora

This graph is from East Aurora, NY. Under land use it’s marked, “Urban.” People live there. That’s over 30″ of snowpack with a water equivalent of 5″.

The edges of Lake Effect storms are well pronounced. You drive out of Lake Effect snow like you drive out of a summer thunderstorm. And these boundaries stay in place as long as the wind doesn’t shift.

No one can cope with this much snow. No one is equipped, even those areas that get as much as 200″ of snow a year!

“Yes, Dad. I’m glad I’m not in Buffalo.” But I don’t regret a day of living there.

Buffalo And The World’s Weirdest Weather

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

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The photo at the top of this entry is Buffalo, Wednesday Tuesday afternoon. It’s my old neighborhood on Elmwood Avenue. The Sun is shining brightly.

Wondering where the snow is?

robhimself793: I’m about a mile from the snow band, I have very little snow, maybe 6″. Just a mile south and people have 3 feet.

You’re seeing one of the more interesting aspects of Lake Effect snow. It is VERY localized. There’s heavy snow just a few miles from where this image was captured.

Lake Effect snow is the product of convection. Heat and moisture are transferred upward into the clouds from the relatively warm lake. You can see that in this time lapse of Lake Erie, one of the coolest pieces of weather video I’ve ever seen.

Heavy Lake Effect snow needs cold wind roughly parallel to the lake to get going. The resulting storm forms slender ‘streamers’ which reach out from the lake. They are often just a few miles wide, with flurries at the edges and white out conditions in the middle!

Near the Great Lakes it’s possible to drive from no snow to 4″/hour conditions in just two or three miles! These bands can stay stationary for hours, or even days!

Buffalo gets a lot of snow each winter, over 90 inches! Because of Lake Effect there are heavier snowbelts south of the city. People in Buffalo scratch their heads why anyone would want to live there, as we scratch our heads over Buffalo.

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My Co-Host Reunion

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

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I had a lunch date today in Century City. Google said without traffic it takes an hour. When exactly is this without traffic time? With traffic this morning it was nearly two hours! It comes with the SoCal territory.

Lunch was good. Lots of interesting topics from an expert/friend.

As I walked to my car to drive back to Orange County I picked up the phone to text Susan Hunt. Susan was my second co-host on PM Magazine/Buffalo. She’s lived here on-and-off for years.

One show near Mother’s Day, Susan’s mom, Sis, and my mom co-hosted. Very cool.

We’ve spoken many times over the years, but I haven’t seen Susan since Buffalo! I’ve been trying to catch her since we came to SoCal but our schedules never meshed. She is a producer on HGTV’s “House Hunters: Renovation”.

Yes, I know. We all love those shows. The original has spun off lots of children. Simple concept. Well executed. Natural viewer interest.

When Susan answered my text, I drove right over. My trip went through Beverly Hills and West Hollywood before crossing the Hollywood Hills through Laurel Canyon. Pietown, House Hunter’s production company, is located on the Studio City/North Hollywood line in the Valley.

Wow — she looked great. I think the photo that accompanies this is truly indicative of how we both felt when we saw each other. It’s been a long time.

IMG_20140618_175213Lots of stories. Lot of reminiscences. Some updating on how, when and where life has taken us.

She’s leaving soon for four months of production back east. We’ll get together on her return.

The car’s clock read 5:03 as I pulled out of the lot. Two full hours to get home. Like I said, it comes with the territory.

Christmas In California

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

christmas-in-californiaWe received some great gifts when we got married thirty years ago. Most are long gone. Some were quickly spent. At least one gift lives on.

Bob and Terry were our friends from Buffalo. They gave us the artwork that hangs today over the Christmas tree. It’s called “Christmas in California.”

In Hamden it hung prominently above the fireplace. Here in SoCal it’s in the loft, our family meeting space.

It represented a goal… or maybe a fantasy. This year it’s come true. We spend our first Christmas in California tomorrow.

I miss wearing my red hat and tracking Santa on TV. I miss working so others could have this holiday at home with their families. I don’t miss winter.

Christmas in California is just as the picture shows.

We’ll be spending this evening with our cousins, then living the tradition of a movie and Chinese food tomorrow.

Have a great holiday. I hope you get everything you want.

Holy Crap Was I Skinny! Video Found As I Clean

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

PM Magazine/Buffalo hosts Jan Stager and Geoff Fox - circa 1980

Jan Stager and I hosted PM Magazine/Buffalo starting in September 1980. She was great. We don’t speak often enough, but remain friends.

Jan was from Kent, Ohio and had worked in Wasau and Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Me… well, you know.

This episode looks to be early on, possibly Fall 1980. I had been working in TV a matter of weeks or months by then!

I was so skinny the Buffalo Evening News’ TV critic said Chef Tell should fatten me up! Suggestion taken.

Also, please note the hair hat. That is not what my hair wants to do.

Here’s the way the show worked. Sometimes you had local stories, but most of the time the hosts introduced stories ‘on the reel’ from other stations.

We’d look at the list on totally unrelated stories scheduled on any given show, then find a location that might tie-in to some or all of them.

Right.

That was the goal.

The connections were often tenuous.

For each story, which of course we hadn’t seen, there’d be a suggested script. We’d look at the script, find out from the producer how much time was allotted, then ad lib our ‘ins-and-outs.’

TelePrompter? We don’t need no stinkin’ TelePrompter!

30+ Years Ago: Friends With Cameras

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Click, click, click. Shooting photos is no big deal today. The incremental cost is zero. That wasn’t the case in the early 80s. There was film in the camera. You paid for that.

Beside the cost you never knew good or bad until the film was processed. You paid for that too.

Tonight my email brought these two actual film photos from August 25, 1981. My camera toting, film buying, friend was Jon Wolfert. Jon is King of Jingles. The Wolferts own JAM Creative Productions&#185 in Dallas.

The two shots below were taken in the WGR-TV parking lot on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. I’m standing with my PM Magazine/Buffalo co-host, Jan Stager.

It was Sunny in Buffalo. Surprised? It’s true. Summer’s in Buffalo are bathed in sunlight. They make up for it starting around Halloween when the Sun disappears for the next 5&#189 months.

Thanks Jon. What a cool surprise to receive on this chilly mid-winter’s night, even though it was half a lifetime, forty pounds and one awful hairstyle ago!

&#185 – If you’ve never seen a jingle being sung and played, watch this. You will be astounded!

At Dinner: The Snow Dispute

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Here’s a little taste of tonight’s dinner. Ann, Noah and I were sitting together at the Greek Olive. We were at a window booth looking out into the parking lot.

Noah: Oh my God, it’s snowing!
Geoff: That’s flurries Noah.
Noah: No, look it’s sticking. It’s on the cars. That’s snow.
Geoff: Flurries.
Noah: No, it’s really snowing.

This is what happens when you allow San Diegans (San Diegites?) to move east where there’s actual weather. They just can’t handle it.

Basically tonight is like early October in Buffalo. Live with it.

My Lake Effect Snow Story

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

This evening at 4:45 the Weather Service office in Buffalo relayed a report from West Seneca, NY. A volunteer observer measured 32″ of snow from Thursday’s persistent lake effect snowband.

I wasn’t surprised.

Winter weather in the Buffalo area is brutal. The city itself gets ‘only’ around 80″ of snow per year. The snow belt south of town can get as much as 150″. East of Lake Ontario, closer to Syracuse, it’s even worse.

The area east of Lake Ontario is the “snow capital” of the east. The higher elevations between Watertown and Syracuse, commonly known as the Tug Hill Plateau, receives of more than 200 inches a year. In fact, the town of Hooker, located in Lewis county, recorded 466 inches of snow during the winter of 1976-77! – source: National Weather Service Buffalo Forecast Office

I lived in Buffalo from 1980 through 1984. I will never forget those winters. It seemed to snow nearly every day even if only flurries.

The best way to explain Buffalo’s Lake Effect snow is with a little story. It was the day Helaine and I got our marriage license. We were living in Buffalo. We were getting married in Pennsylvania. The closest place to get a license was Erie, PA, about 100 miles away.

As we left our apartment skies were cloudy. By South Buffalo there were flurries. We paid our toll and got on the New York State Thruway. We passed West Seneca in heavy snow.

I was used to Western New York driving conditions so we continued southwest on the Thruway paralleling Lake Erie’s shoreline. By Dunkirk the snow was back down to flurries. Soon we were in bright sunshine. I remember the skies over Erie being blue and cloud free!

We paid our money, showed our blood tests (another story for another day–blood tests almost kept us from getting married) and got our license.

As we headed back to Buffalo every bit of weather was in the exact same place we left it!

From Erie’s sunshine we hit flurries in Dunkirk. Over the course of a few miles the snow ramped up in intensity. It was snowing heavily as we passed through West Seneca then back to flurries by South Buffalo. I parked under cloudy skies back at our Gates Circle apartment where there was no sign any new snow had fallen.

That’s the power of Lake Effect snow: Persistence!

Lake Effect snow bands are often just a few miles wide, but within those few miles snowfall rates of 4 or 5 inches per hour are possible. The strength of cold air aloft and alignment of wind decides where the snow goes and its intensity. The wind needs a long ‘fetch’ over Lake Erie to be effective as a snow maker. That limits where Lake Effect snow can fall.

As long as the cold wind blows the snow can fall for hours or even days! A few miles often decides whether you get feet of snow or just a dusting.

There are only a handful of places in the world where this setup of cold air and properly aligned body of water exist. Buffalo and Syracuse just got lucky I guess.