Posts Tagged ‘judge’

 

Abe Lincoln – Wired

Monday, February 12th, 2007

I often listen to NPR while taking my shower. Today, on Talk of the Nation, Neil Conan spoke with Tom Wheeler who had an op-ed piece in this morning’s Washington Post and who also wrote the book, “Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War.”

(I)nsight into our greatest president is possible through the nearly 1,000 messages he sent via the new telegraph technology. These 19th-century versions of e-mail messages preserve his spur-of-the-moment thoughts and are the closest we will come to a transcript of a conversation with Abraham Lincoln. In their unstructured form, Lincoln comes alive.

Are you kidding? Lincoln was our first president to communicate electronically. I guess he really was the Great Communicator.

This made Abraham Lincoln our first president with instant access to information. Imagine how that benefited him as he formulated our political and military strategy during the Civil War?

You owe it to yourself to read the op-ed column.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Abe.

(more…)

Into New York For Friday Night

Saturday, May 20th, 2006

I picked up the phone and the first words were, “When’s this rain gonna stop?” Actually, there was another word between this and rain, but you get the point.

A friend of mine, from California, was in New York City. It was a quick trip to visit his dad and have a business meeting. I said I’d see him after dinner.

I left Connecticut around 8:30 and headed toward the Turnpike. Though it had been raining earlier, skies had become partly cloudy. The 100 mile trip to the city was a breeze.

I drove down the FDR Drive with the East River and Roosevelt Island on my left. The buildings of Manhattan were blocked on my right, but it didn’t matter – it’s a beautiful ride on an awful road.

I called my mom on the cellphone. More than anyone, I share my love of Manhattan with her. Given her druthers, that’s where she’d be living. Me too.

My friend’s dad’s apartment is right off the FDR. I got off the exit and turned down into the basement garage, less than 100 feet away.

This is a very expensive building on one of New York’s best known streets. In fact, this neighborhood is best known by the street’s name.

As I waited, the parking attendant pulled a huge Bentley from its space. A diminutive woman and her equally small husband walked toward the car. She looked familiar.

I stared at her and she looked back. Then it hit me – Judge Judy.

I don’t have something pithy to say to everyone I meet, but this was Judge Judy. I told her I followed her on-the-air every day and then explained how I was on the news in Connecticut.

My camera was hanging on my neck, so I asked for a photo. She was very gracious. I suppose she isn’t often asked for a photo in the garage of her apartment building!

I walked out of the garage and around the block to the building’s main entrance. Residents have a key card. I was just visiting.

A doorman stood guard in front of a bank of security monitors. After a quick call to clear me, I was in.

Years ago this was a ‘full service’ building. It is probably the last place I rode an elevator that had an elevator operator (even though it was a self service elevator). Those days are gone. Even the well to do have to cut back a little.

My friend and I decided to go for coffee. That’s one of the nice things about Manhattan. You want coffee – it’s a short walk away.

In fact everything in Manhattan is close by and it’s very walkable. I’ve joked in the past, New York is the only city in America with 24 hour room service.

It’s true! You can easily get Chinese food delivered at 3:00 AM.

The coffee, in a small Italian place under the shadow of the 59th Street Bridge, was fine. The company was better.

Since I’m talking about the building, I’ll leave his name out to preserve a little privacy. This is someone I’ve known for nearly 40 years. We have been through good and bad times together.

We’re both happy with life right now – in a good place. Professionally, he’s doing very well, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

We walked back up First Avenue, past a construction site with New York City steam blasting from a subturranean vent. Though already midnight, the city was teaming with activity.

My assessment of New York is probably overly romanticized. My friend, staying in a Manhattan apartment, said he hated it – would be glad to never leave his California home. I shrugged.

I got back to Connecticut a few minutes before 2:00 AM. I suppose that’s a lot of trip to pack into one short evening. I’m glad I did.


Emmy Judging Time

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

Gil Simmons, who I work with at the TV station, has asked me to be a judge for the Emmy Awards. This isn’t the big deal national awards you see on television. This is for one of a number of local regions.

Actually, I shouldn’t have said it’s not a big deal, because to the entrants, it absolutely is. I am fortunate to have seven, and I know I was elated when I won and crestfallen when I lost.

When we judge, we do so for another section of the country. This time it’s the Southwest Region, though Gil tells me it looks like most of what we’ve got has come from Las Vegas.

Here’s the problem. When it comes to judging, it’s like pulling teeth. I wrote about this before, a few years ago, when judging took place in my house. Gil is having the same problem, rounding up a jury.

I would like these applicants to have the benefit of many eyes seeing their work. My guess is, that’s what they’d want too. Unfortunately, the more likely scenario is, they will be judged by a group closer to the minimum allowed.

I hope we’re fair. I hope the most talented wins. I wish there were more of us making the decision.

Politically Correct

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

Last night, with 5 or 6 seconds left in my part of the broadcast, I mentioned a viewer’s email – Could it snow at 50°? I sad, “no,” the rule of thumb was there was no snow at temperatures above 45°.

It wasn’t long before this came.

Geoff just caught your forecast, loved it!

Also I wanted to make a mention that you used a phrase that I have been

trying to get rid of for years. The phrase is “rule of thumb”. This phrase

used the measurement of the thumb for a very heinous use. In 1732 Francis

Butler, an English judge, declared that a ” man could beat his wife with a

stick no bigger then his thumb” Thus, the rule of thumb. Please avoid the

term and pass this along to others. Thanks. all the best Lori

Uh… OK. I don’t want to offend. Except… it’s not true.

There are lots of citations online (here’s one from England). Some of them are cruel in their attempt to debunk a an outspoken feminist and lesbian, Del Martin, who published this ‘fact’ in print.

That being said, it looks to me as if “rule of thumb” was never a reference to any English law¹.

So, what to do? If I use the expression, I risk offending people – though only the misinformed. It is truly political correctness for the sake of political correctness.

I’m stumped. This should be such an easy decision, but it’s not.

¹ – It also seems there was never any law, thumb sized or not, that allowed a husband to beat his wife.

Would Someone Please Tell David E. Kelley I’m A Fan?

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

I have written about Boston Legal in the past, though only peripherally. I would guess it’s my favorite show on television… and one of the few continuing dramas I watch.

Actually, is it a drama or comedy? I’m not sure. The Golden Globes thinks it’s a comedy. It is on film, which makes it a different animal from sitcoms and other taped shows.

I’ve wanted to tell David E. Kelley, the one-man-band behind it, how much I like it, but he is well hidden on the Internet. Trust me. I pride myself on ferreting out people I’d like to contact. He’s really well hidden.

What makes the show so good is it’s character driven. Some characters came in well established. Others have grown over time. The show is organic in that way.

Good character development allows for sometime outlandish situations. I’m willing to forgive where that’s concerned.

James Spader, the lead of leads, is so quirky good that I wondered why I wasn’t a fan of his earlier. Then, I caught something he’d done before and realized, though very good, he’s better with Kelley’s scripts and sensibilities.

The show is not perfect. I’m a huge Candice Bergen fan, but I find her character wanting. I’ve had more than enough with William Shatner’s spouting, “Denny Crane.”

On the other hand, I couldn’t be more pleased with Renee Auberjonois as a tightly wound, humorless curmudgeon and Henry Gibson’s judge.

A few weeks ago I discovered Marisa Coughlan. This being the Internet age I “Googled” her and found she worked in a movie (arguably the worst move ever filmed) where the producer was best man from my wedding.

He told me “Mareeeesa” was very nice. Good. I don’t want my bubbles burst.

It is one of the few shows that gets DVR’ed and watched every time it’s on.

So, if you know David E. Kelley, would you tell him Geoff in Connecticut thinks he’s an amazingly talented person… and I’m almost ready to forgive him for killing off Jason Kravits in The Practice.

Courtney Love Update

Friday, August 19th, 2005

A few days ago, after watching the Pamela Anderson roast on Comedy Central, I wrote this:

There were too many comics reading their material. There was too much that wasn’t funny. And, if Courtney Love has really been off drugs for a year… wow, it’s just very sad.

It was sad… tragic to see. A train wreck with legs.

I have read some of Courtney Love’s writing, including a piece she wrote for Salon, aimed at a music industry audience. She’s really bright and well spoken. That only served to make her appearance more painful to watch.

Tonight I read this:

Tearful Courtney Love ordered into rehab facility

Aug 19 3:41 PM US/Eastern

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A judge ordered a tearful Courtney Love into an in-patient substance abuse facility on Friday after the troubled rock singer admitted to violating the terms of her probation by using drugs.

Love broke down in quiet sobs as Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rand Rubin warned that he was prepared to send her to jail because he felt she needed “to hit rock bottom” before she was ready to overcome her drug addiction.

The fact she tried to fool everyone only put off the inevitable.

I really wish her well. I know what she faces won’t be easy and she’s shown in the past, she’s capable of failure.

The Oscars

Monday, February 28th, 2005

All week long I watched as Matt Drudge tried his best to stir up controversy with this year’s Oscar host, Chris Rock. Even after Rock opened the show, getting a standing ovation (sort of shooting Drudge’s concerns in the foot) and then asking the audience to put their asses in their seats, Drudge felt compelled to rail again. The show was still in progress and he was going off on Rock!

The must be some sort of Drudge grudge at work here.

I’m a big Chris Rock fan and I thought his opening monologue was great. OK, maybe he hit Jude Law a little hard, but the rest was really funny and I laughed aloud though I was watching in a room by myself. Of course the very stuff I liked was creamed in USA Today and lambasted last night by one of my co-workers, who was not favorably impressed.

The rest of the show was watched by me in ‘collapsed’ form off the DVR.

It was a fairly lackluster telecast. I was disappointed there wasn’t more of Rock in his other appearances during the evening. He needed to do more than hit and run. There needed to be one or two more extended pieces with him. That being said, I hear the ratings were very, very good. So, obviously, I’m not as good a judge as I’d like to be.

I was touched by the acceptance speeches of Morgan Freeman, Hillary Swank (“I’m just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream”) and Jamie Foxx. Then, this morning on CNN Headline News, I heard someone say Foxx had given the virtually same acceptance speech at two other awards shows. That’s not right.

Winner of the “David Niven Funniest Ad Lib Award” went to Jeremy Irons. Chris Rock introduced him, as “comedy superstar,” to which Irons replied, “It’s so good to be recognized at last.”

Then, as he was delivering his nominations, a sound… something like a gunshot, rang out. Without missing a beat, Irons said, “I hope they missed.” His timing was perfect.

Last night’s taped pieces, including the Johnny Carson tribute and annual “death medley,’ weren’t as good as I wanted, or had come to expect from the Oscars. Whoopie Goldberg was used in the Carson package, but why not Billy Crystal and Steve Martin, two recent hosts who had a lot of contact with Johnny.

I was also stunned that “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” won an Oscar. As I had written last April, it was one of the worst movies I had ever seen. What were they thinking when they made it and voted on it?

What strikes me as most interesting as bout the show was the rise in the ratings this year even on a night where few movies produced any kind of passionate following.

I wonder if Billy Crystal will be back next year?

Henry Gibson

Sunday, February 13th, 2005

I am working tonight, so I can’t watch “Boston Legal” as it airs. It is on here at work¹, and I keep seeing it in monitors as I move around.

I am pleased to see Henry Gibson on tonight’s show. It looks like he’s playing a judge, but with the sound down, who can know for sure.

What makes Henry Gibson so interesting is, you can’t say his name without saying “Laugh In,” and that show hasn’t been on TV in over 30 years (1968 – 1973)! That his name is so well known, even now, might have something to do with his poems, which began, “A poem, by Henry Gibson.” So, he was not only seen, but identified by name.

I wonder if he minds being remembered this way and if, over time, “Laugh In” has been good or bad for his career?

¹ – One of the seldom mentioned benefits of working at a TV station is virtually everyone has a TV at their desk.

UConn versus Army

Sunday, September 26th, 2004

There are more photos available from this blog entry by clicking here

I wasn’t going to let a sore toe stop me (actually, I would have, but the toe is getting a little better day-by-day). This was my day to shoot pictures at the UConn – Army game.

I left the house around 10:30 and drove to Rentschler Field in East Hartford. I knew where the field was, sort of. I had printed out directions off the computer, but chose to listen to the DOT’s radio station on 1610 kHz to get me where I was going.

Any time I’ve listened to DOT’s network of low power highway stations I’ve been disappointed. Usually, there was no usable timely info at all! Adding insult to injury, the broadcast is sometimes padded with time killers, moving you farther from the content you really want to hear. And the signal strength and audio quality are awful

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

This time was different. The station repeated a recording of simple directions to the field from all the major access roads. This is exactly what should be on.

I turned past the Pratt and Whitney property and followed the cars. If had no idea where to go with my parking pass, but the attendants along the way saw it and waved me in the right direction. I parked about 4-5 minutes walk from the stadium on what looked like well manicured grass.

Thank heavens it wasn’t raining! In fact it was partly cloudy and well into the 70s. In other words, perfect.

I met John Pierson, our sports reporter and Kevin Frederick (who normally shoots video for sports, but was at the game as a ‘civilian,’). I’m glad I ran into John because I don’t think I would have known where to go or what to do once I got into the stadium.

We made our way down to the field level. Both teams were on the field warming up. The stands were 25% full. By game time the teams would have left and returned for their official introductions and the stands would have filled closer to capacity¹.

I carried my Canon Digital Rebel with the Sigma 70-300 mm lens attached. Over my shoulder was a small camera bag with an 18-125 mm lens, a spare battery and two extra compact flash cards.

By the end of the game… actually before the end of the game, all three cards were filled. That’s over 1 gigabyte of photos! The final count was 317 actual. That’s fewer shots than I anticipated by nearly a hundred. I’m not sure why this particular shoot created such big files.

If there’s one thing I learned at the game, it’s that I need one more card. The prices are down. I’ll order one later today.

John took me to the end zone section adjacent to where the Huskies would enter. He introduced me to four girls, including quarterback Dan Orlovsky’s sister. Then we went and met Dan’s father who has better seats than his daughter!

Dan Sr. and I chatted for a few minutes. Not knowing him, but knowing who his son is, I addressed him as Mr. Orlovsky. Respect under these circumstances is appropriate and fair.

I later found out he’s two years younger than me. Maybe the mister part wasn’t necessary?

There’s an interesting observation to be made here. I have often equated hurricane watching to seeing a car accident in slow motion. Watching Dan Orlovsky is like watching a Lotto winner in slow motion. You know it’s just a matter of time before he’s worth millions of dollars from the NFL. He’s got to know that too. He’s that good – probably a first round pick.

I was afforded an incredible amount of access and freedom on the field. Back a few feet from the out of bounds line and end zone was another line – a dashed line. As long as I stayed behind it, I was fine. It gave me an amazing view of the field.

I started shooting on the first play and soon learned it was very difficult to follow the action on a pass play with a lens. Following with a TV camera is one thing, but my still camera rewards someone who can anticipate where the ball will be in the fraction of a second it takes for the mirror in the camera to flip and the shutter to open.

Often, I’d have my camera at the ready as a play would start, but I’d never get anything to shoot. Other times the player would be turned away from me or blocked by someone else. Sometimes my camera, which is supposed to continually focus while shooting sports action, just wouldn’t focus quickly enough or would focus on something other than what I was tracking.

You can be the judge. I’ve taken forty of the best shots and put them in my gallery. The thumbnails don’t give you a sense of what was shot, so please click for larger versions.

At halftime I went under the stands to a small room for the on-field media. It was surprising to see a number of newspaper photographers downloading their shots onto laptops and sending them on their way. At least one photographer (New Haven Register, I think) was using Photoshop – processing and cropping her shots before an editor even saw them.

As I expected, I saw a lot of much faster lenses – big lenses with wide openings. One of the photographers had a humongously telephoto lens with f1.8 speed. He’s getting 8 times as much light as I am, giving him a great deal of latitude. On the other hand, I can still buy food, something I wouldn’t be able to do as the owner of that lens.

Most of these big lenses demand a monopod. They are too heavy to hand hold for long. The monopod is actually attached to the lens and not the camera body itself.

As the second half was starting I walked by the UConn bench and said hello to Jeff Fox, one of the players. I’m not sure if he got what I was trying to say… that we both had the same name (though one of us spells it incorrectly).

It is cool to have a player with the same name as me. He can’t be related though. None of my relatives, or their families, have any athletic ability at all!

By the time I was finished shooting the stands were back to being 25% full. UConn had cut through the Army like a hot knife through butter. It wasn’t a contest.

This was fun. I’d like to try again. I’m not sure I can quantify what I’ve learned from this, but I’d look back at my shots and try and figure out what worked and why and how I can do it again.

There are more photos available from this game. Just click here

¹ – The game was a sellout, though that doesn’t mean everyone attended. There were plenty of empty seats.