This Is Your Doing: “Best Of” New Haven Advocate

The results are now in, appearing in last week’s New Haven Advocate issue. You done good!

I was feeling sorry for myself when the New Haven Advocate announced their annual reader’s poll. Maybe you remember? I asked for your vote on Facebook, Twitter and my blog.

The rules allow for electioneering. I had something to prove–something I still wanted to show.

The results are now in, appearing in last week’s Advocate (but for some frustrating reason not online). You done good!

Geoff Fox got more votes than the combined totals in many categories. He got so many votes we stopped
counting them. Seriously. The spreadsheet just went on and on and on. In our entire history of Best Of voting, we’ve never seen so many votes for one winner.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate your support… except to say I appreciate it a lot.

Is this vindication? I think so, but maybe I’m still a little too anxious about being vindicated.

From the New Haven Advocate: Geoff Fox was not on the air while we conducted this year’s Best Of New. Haven readers’ poll. The former WTNH meteorologist’s contract was not renewed in January, and, for the first time since we have been running our annual survey, there would be no reason for our readers to fill in his name for Best Local TV Personality — an honor that had been bestowed on him many times during his 26-year tenure covering snowstorms and heat waves, and reporting on science and technology, for Channel 8’s news team.

Nevertheless, this was his biggest year ever. Call it a sympathy vote. We don’t know what we got ’til it’s gone. But one thing was clear when we counted this year’s votes: Geoff Fox got more votes than the combined totals in many categories. He got so many votes we stopped counting them. Seriously. The spreadsheet just went on and on and on. In our entire history of Best Of voting, we’ve never seen so many votes for one winner.

So instead of awarding him Best TV Personality, we are taking a leap and bestowing on him a special honor. Call it The Best of The Best: The Readers’ Favorite. Think of it as our first unofficial inductee into a New Haven Hall of Fame.

This year’s poll was our biggest year ever as well — we received well over 112,000 total votes in 16 categories. For those uninitiated, every year we run a ballot in print and online for four weeks beginning in February. Readers are asked to fill in their favorite places, on everything from Best New Restaurant to Best Hardware Store. There are no staff filtered nominations — every person, business or institution is eligible. We then spend days counting the votes.
The results are so big that we publish them in two issues.

Taken together, these two volumes (also available online as of May 12 on not only provide a useful tool for discovering the best places to eat, shop, work out in and get healthy, but it is also a great overview of the quality of life and vitality in our region.

This year we introduced a few new categories — including Best Chef and Best Cupcakes. As usual, we have our share of repeat winners, but we are always excited to see newbies, too. You’ll have to check the following pages to see the results — no previews here.

We first met Fox more than a decade ago at one of our winners’ receptions. He was charming and engaging, as personable and funny in person as he is on air. We have spent a few hours together since then, and observed that Fox is, in the words of computer nerds from the 1980s, truly WYSIWIG —- that is, What You See Is What You Get. Fox defies stereotypes in many ways, but mostly by his curiosity and his smarts. He’s a technology buff — he
built his own computer and website, and he’s an amateur photographer as a well as a ham adio buff. He’s also a long-time pop culture vulture, the kind of guy who will reference Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ “Mickey’s Monkey” as fluently as he will tell you how much he enjoys the latest TV phenomenon.

We have been at some of the hundreds of charity events he has graciously hosted — including our own Best Of New Haven celebrations on occasion — and laughed at his asides while he makes everyone feel comfortable. We have read his blog (geofffoxcom) while he traced the destructive path of Hurricane Katrina, concemed about a friend’s mother who was living in New Orleans at the time. (He called three days before the storm hit and told her she
needed to leave; he now says the house was destroyed and she would have been killed.)

We have invited him metaphorically into our living room, to find out whether we needed an umbrella the next day, and, like any weatherman (or meteorologist) he is very often accurate but sometimes not. We have heard people joke about how he always gets the weather wrong, even on days when he gets it right. And when he does blow it, perhaps most unusually of all, he apologizes, as he famously did last winter for a storm that never roared.

”People think we hype the forecast numbers,” he says, “but there’s no upside to being wrong. If I say there is going to be half an inch of snow or 15 inches, there’s no difference in the ratings. The word ‘snow’ is the magic word. Believe me, I don’t want to be wrong and I don’t want to hype.”

In the days just before we went to press, Fox the TV station announced that Fox the meteorologist would be joining the station’s news team. The seven-time regional Emmy Award winner now does the weather and a science segment for WTIC weeknights at 4 and 11 p.m., and billboards promoting his return to the airwaves light up the interstate.

Welcome back, Geoff. And see you next year. – Josh Mamis

Perfect Positioning

I was at the New Haven Advocate’s “Best Of” dinner at Anthony’s in New Haven. Very nice. Very enjoyable. I am a born schmoozer.

As I was waiting for my car, I spied this vehicle across the way. It is perfect – seriously.

I assume this is a company that does outcall tech support (the only way people of this ilk will ever be associated with anything outcall). The vehicle does everything humanly possible to position them as the geeks I’m sure they are.

In a world where perception is often mistaken for reality, this vehicle (and the others I saw in the lot) will be perceived correctly. Don’t you want the person who fixes your computer to be nerdy enough to fit into this box of a vehicle?

An Incredible Gift

Tonight was the New Haven Advocate’s “Best of” awards. There were thunderstorms on the radar, so I took a quick trip to The Annex (eastern portion of New Haven) to say hello and thank you (and nosh on a little smoked salmon). I only stayed for 15 minutes, and didn’t even get my award. I got something even better.

Josh Mamis, publisher of the Fairfield County Weekly and former editor of The New Haven Advocate, said he had a gift for me. So, we headed out to his car and he proceeded to open the trunk. As soon as I saw the orange/yellow color of the sweatshirt, I knew.

It was a WMCA Good Guys Sweathirt!

I won one when my name was called on the radio, about 40 years ago. Not that it was a major deal, but I still remember: “Geoff Fox, name it and claim it. Call PLaza 2-9944.”

Somewhere along the way my smiley faced sweatshirt disappeared – probably outgrown or worn out. Looking back, I should have treated my sweatshirt with the same reverence a Barry Bonds home run ball would get. It was something valuable, not to be judged by its physical appearance as much as its place in history.