Teachers Reading Tweets About Themselves!

I found this on YouTube. It’s priceless. I have read tweets about me. Some folks can be cruel. Now the teachers get their turn.

These teachers are from Los Alamitos High School. They’re reading tweets about themselves from their students. Please share this with your teacher (and student) friends.


The Oscars As A Synergistic Social Media Triumph

oscar selife

Did you watch the Oscars? We did. I suspect numbers will be up this year. It has little to do with Ellen’s performance or anything on-the-show, though she and it were very entertaining.

The Oscars has written the playbook on leveraging social media. It is the synergistic wunderkind! Truly a two screen show.

If you’re on Twitter you can’t not watch the Academy Awards. It our common experience. We’re watching TV together as a family. Welcome back to the sixties.

Of course the Oscar telecast has to bring something to this stew. It’s live. It’s unpredictable. It’s enthusiastically embraced its marriage with the second screen.

Don’t underestimate that last move. Few have done it as effectively or with the ease shown by Ellen tonight.

There were Twitter references everywhere. Ellen set up the selfie you see atop this entry during the show.

Long before midnight Sunday, the photo had been retweeted more than 2 million times, breaking a record set by President Barack Obama with the picture of him hugging First Lady Michelle Obama after his re-election in 2012. Twitter also sent out an apology because all of the retweeting disrupted service for more than 20 minutes after 10 p.m. ET. – AP via npr.org

She took another with Liza Minnelli. And then there was the (real) pizza oscar pizza guydelivery guy. It’s a good night to be @BigMamasNPapas.

My last few years in TV saw a push to engage viewers via social media. We were trying to make you more ‘sticky.’

The fact I have so many followers on Facebook and Twitter speaks to my belief in that. We never did it this effectively.

Has anyone?

Harold Ramis

“Acting is all about big hair and funny props… All the great actors knew it. Olivier knew it, Brando knew it”. — Harold Ramis, Ghostbusters DVD commentary

I was always a big fan. He was silly while maintaining an intellectual persona.

This title card from the Groundhog Day trailer shows what a real Renaissance man looks like.

Harold Ramis will be missed.


Dinner At Pink’s

Helaine and I drove to Hollywood last night. Helaine had some goodies for Stef. It’s a 55 mile drive. An hour and a half last night. LA traffic is as advertised.

Stef met us after work.

She’s been to the Golden Globes, SAG and Grammys. She’ll be on the Red Carpet at the Oscars too. Stef’s part of the team that produces the ‘pre-game’ and ‘post-game’ shows on E!. They’ll be live seven hours at the Oscars.

OK, I’m her father. I’m biased. It sounds like a pretty cool job.

I’m especially glad she’s involved in live TV. It’s a rush when you’re on and there’s no turning back. I tried to explain the feeling before she started. Alas, you can’t properly describe an experience.

We brought Doppler along, which limits where we can go. Who cares? She’s an excellent traveler.

We ended up at Pink’s on La Brea. It’s a hot dog stand, built in 1946, still rocking it’s 1946 style. Pink’s is a reflection of LA’s early adoption of cars versus public transport. You could drive up, get out of your car and get a dog!

I had the “HUELL HOWSER DOG – 2 hot dogs in ONE bun – mustard, chili, cheese & onions.” Huell was a well known TV personality whose segments on LA’s quirky native culture are still played, long after his death.

I also had a Dr. Brown’s Cherry. That brings me back to Flushing, as a kid. The taste hasn’t changed. It was magical.

Pink’s no Glenwood! Will someone please tell Rob I said that.

Our drive home was much faster–a little less than an hour.

We’re very lucky to live so close to Stef. It’s a trip we enjoy taking.

Is It Ever Not Perfect Out?


I’m not going to lie. It’s January 14th. It’s sunny. It’s 87&#176!

Are you kidding me? We’ve already blown through the forecast high.

I have one of my office windows open. There’s a cool breeze. No need for a/c.

It doesn’t seem logical. 87&#176 and a cool breeze simultaneously.

This is where the dew point comes in, it’s 4&#176. The relative humidity is 4%. Exceptionally dry.

The dry breeze evaporates moisture on your skin, which cools you and makes this temperature very comfortable.

Yes, this weather is unusual. 81&#176 was today’s record at John Wayne Airport. It’s been smashed.

There are serious implications from our dry weather. Most of California is already water challenged. And, of course, fire danger is high at a time of year fire season should be done.

BuzzFeed’s home page currently has an entry titled: “19 Questions New Yorkers Ask When Visiting Los Angeles” Number 18: Is it ever not perfect out?

So far, no.

It Will Be Cold. The World Will Not End.


Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post

Drudge and Huffington have the same lead. This can’t be good. In breathless prose they build the tension. “Coldest Game in History?” asks Drudge. The cold air will “SMASH RECORDS,” yells HuffPo.

It’s 2014. We have advanced warning. We have central heat. The vast majority of us have appropriate clothes. And, we have shelter for those who need it.

The cold in the Eastern half of the country will be a pain. Few will find it fun. But, with a little preparation, even the folks at Lambeau Field will make it through none the worse.

Respect the cold. You’ll be fine.


We’re Going To The Tournament Of Roses Parade

rose parade

Every New Year’s Day Helaine would gaze at the tube and tell me how “one day” she’d like to see the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. Tomorrow she gets her wish. I ordered tickets and a parking pass and gave them to her on Christmas Day. It was a huge surprise and proof it is better to give than receive.

You actually don’t need tickets to see the parade. People are already lining Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena and the parade is 19 hours away! That process just seemed too iffy.

I read the instructions on the parking pass yesterday. Be parked by seven and be prepared to stay until the parade is done! The lot will be staged like long term storage with cars blocked in. My assumption is their 7:00 AM deadline is a little flexible, we’ll still be up very early.

The parade gets underway at 8:00 AM, but doesn’t pass our location until a little before 9:00. The line-of-march takes 2&#189 hours to complete.

On a good day we’re an hour from Pasadena. I have no idea how traffic will be. We plan on leaving the house around 5:30 AM. We’ll only be off the freeway and on Pasadena streets for a few blocks.

Doppler will come along hidden in a shoulder bag. Shhhh. Clicky’s coming too.

We’ve been to Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. That will be tough to beat. It was spectacular. The big difference will be the weather. It should be in the fifties when we arrive, but close to 70&#176 by the time we’re done, all under sunny skies.

Christmas In California

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.

The Christmas Tree

IMG_0283We have a Christmas tree. Just saying that sounds weird.

My sister disapproved.

My parents will disapprove when they read this.

I’m Jewish. We’re Jewish. Christmas isn’t our holiday. And yet, over the course of the year, there’s no more good spirited time than Christmas.

IMAG0302-w1400-h1400Christmas is unavoidable. And who wouldn’t want to embrace its warm, family oriented feel? So, after a quarter century of kvetching from my wife and daughter, I acquiesced.

Stef has given me permission to make her the heavy here.

“Write you did it because of me,” she said.

I did it because of Stef.

IMAG0304-w1400-h1400We drove to Johnson Brothers Christmas Tree Lot on Jeffrey Road. We were foreigners in a foreign land.

“We’ve never had a tree before,” Helaine told the guy helping us. “We’re Jewish,” she added&#185.

I don’t think he had a snappy retort for that.

Helaine and Stef figured a five footer would be enough. One called out to me. It was five foot six. A noble fir.

“Too wide,” Stef said, but it was too late. Decision of the father is final. And, as it turned out, it fits just fine upstairs in the loft.

There’s an ornament for each of us and some small, white lights. We’re not going nuts.

To my Christian friends, thanks for letting us participate.

To my Jewish friends, cut us some slack.

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&#185 – We had a coupon. We didn’t pay retail. Some things are sacred.

Playing The Part Of The Teacher

One woman wanted to know how to rid herself of Facebook friends that appeared after a visit by her niece. The group now knows about ‘unfriending.’

I wish you could all come and visit my parents’ condo complex. It’s summer camp for the retired. It’s a non-judgmental environment where everyday is Saturday… or Sunday, but with Monday off on a three day weekend. Whatever you want to do is OK with everyone else.

Every Tuesday my dad teaches the beginners computer class in the clubhouse. You’re reading a blog so you’re probably somewhat tech savvy. These people are keyboard neophytes though they’re in their 70s, 80s and even 90s!

Yeah Yetta, I’m talking to you!

If I’m down here on a Tuesday I come in and take over. My dad enjoys it. I do too.

Today my lesson was cautionary.

“Nothing on the Internet is truly anonymous,” I told them and proceeded to talk cookies and IP addresses and other bits of techno minutiae.

I looked up the name of one of the students. Quickly Google revealed an SEC filing where he was given $500,000 in a covenant not-to-compete. Everyone else was impressed. He was slow to admit the filing was about him.

One woman wanted to know how to rid herself of Facebook friends that appeared after a visit by her niece. The group now knows about ‘unfriending.’

They all want to see pictures from home. They want to see the grandkids or in some cases the great grandkids!

The woman who’d asked about her niece’s Facebook friends was disturbed her computer remembered all the websites she’d visited. I showed her how to clean the history. They’re hiding stuff even in their eighties.

Online actions that are probably second nature to you are being experienced for the first time by them!

They have seen the introduction of TV and microwaves and cellphones and now computers. They are not afraid to embrace what’s new. They just need someone to help.

They Fired Joey Reynolds

Whereas most radio stations and disk jockeys had jingles cut in Dallas by Pams or TM (or now by my friend Jon Wolfert at Jam) Joey had a jingle sung by the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons!

Word came last night WOR radio let Joey Reynolds go. I can’t help but feel bad because Joey is one of the reasons radio attracted me so much and why I made it my career for 11 years. Though I lived in Queens and had both WMCA and WABC at my beck and call I gravitated to WKBW in Buffalo, a station I could only hear after dark.

Joey was having a party in the studio and I was invited night-after-night. As good as Dan Ingram, Cousin Brucie and Gary Stevens were they were never as approachable as Joey seemed. I sent my self addressed stamped envelope off to Buffalo to get my purple membership card in the Royal Order of the Night People. I wanted in!

I remember hearing about Joey at other stations as his career bounced up-and-down after ‘KB. At one point he was selling jingles (or so I remember) made to be sung over the intro to records. There are some songs I can’t hear today without hearing some now defunct station’s call letters sung over the front!

A few years ago Joey went to WOR New York where he held down the free form all-night talk show. He’s still that party guy I remember with an infectious laugh that’s instantly recognizable.

Even in the best of times you don’t make money keeping a radio station on-the-air 24/7. Nowadays all-nights are a liability in an otherwise awful economic time for radio. Joey was replaced by a syndicated show–one host for scores of stations across the entire country.

Among the things I remember most about Joey is a jingle from his show. Whereas most radio stations and disk jockeys had jingles cut in Dallas by Pams or TM (or now by my friend Jon Wolfert at Jam) Joey had a jingle sung by the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons!

I’ll bet you I haven’t heard this in 40+ years–until now.

[pro-player height=”30px” type=”MP3″]https://www.geofffox.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/joey_reynolds.mp3[/pro-player]

What My Facebook Friend Running For Congress Probably Didn’t Know… Until Now

My problem… and now possibly her problem… is I’m a geek. I looked at her site and immediately looked under-the-hood.

If you ask to be my friend on Facebook and you’re a person and not a business, you’re my friend. It didn’t start out like that, but I’ve learned the error of my ways. That’s how I amassed 1,604 ‘friends’.

One of my ‘friends’ is running for Congress. She posted a link on her wall and like an obedient puppy I followed.

My problem… and now possibly her problem… is I’m a geek. I looked at her site and immediately looked under-the-hood. It’s possible for anyone to see this kind of thing. Your browser is equipped to divulge the code it sees.

The site is run under WordPress. My site too. Obviously I approve.

The site is very stylish so I checked out the theme–“Probama.” Uh oh.

Daria Novak is a Republican candidate for Congress. She’s a former Reagan administration staffer and is pictured with Newt Gingrich on her site.

On the other hand “Probama” is described as:

“A timely WordPress theme for supporters of Senator Barack Obama’s political career and presidential campaign. Built-in control panel options allow easy management of images, video, podcasts and other RSS info.”

My bet is Daria Novak will soon have a new look on her campaign’s website–and again, it’s a really well designed site. I hope I’m wrong, but “Probama?” That’ll be difficult.

It’s possible there’s a real life lesson hidden in here somewhere. A good idea doesn’t become a bad idea just because someone you don’t support or don’t like is associated with it.

Will the theme lose its luster because of its name? Stay tuned.

The story continues with changes made to Candidate Novak’s site after this entry went onlline.

Scenes From The Child’s Day

Part of Stef’s day was spent driving to Ikea in Burbank to pick up some set pieces. On her way she drove by Hollywood and Highland, site of this weekend’s Oscar telecast

The child is working in West Hollywood today. She is a production assistant on a pilot for a new cable reality show. It’s a few days work–a very good start.

Helaine and I are proud. She’s undoubtedly exhausted! Her call was 7:30 am. The talent’s call was 3:00 pm.

Production assistant means you’re a jack-of-all-trades. It’s what you do to see what you want to do next.

Part of Stef’s day was spent driving to Ikea in Burbank to pick up some set pieces. On her way she drove by Hollywood and Highland, site of this weekend’s Oscar telecast.

You just don’t get these photo ops in Hamden!

Playboy? Are They Still Around?

Playboy. I think back to Barbie Benton. She’s six months older than me. Probably a grandmother now. That fantasy’s been derailed.

I can’t tell you the last time I saw Playboy¹. A bill came from them today anyway! Unbeknown to me someone put my name on a subscription form. There’s a website for problems like mine. In two sentences I explained my situation.

“We have received your email inquiry and it is being sent to a Customer Service Representative; please do not reply to this message. We respond to all email inquiries in the order in which they are received. We value our customers and promise you a prompt reply. Thank you for contacting Playboy.”

Playboy. I think back to Barbie Benton. She’s six months older than me. Probably a grandmother now. That fantasy’s been derailed.

Through my daughter I know Hefner and concubines have been on cable for a few seasons. Viagara notwithstanding, does anyone really think these girls desire Hef and, quite honestly, vice versa?

I don’t have Hef’s money but to women of playmate age I am transparent! This is not a recent occurrence.

One of these women married Hank Baskett the former Philadelphia Eagle who fumbled the ball during this year’s Super Bowl. That makes sense. Hef, not so much.

The real reason I’m writing this is I’m surprised Playboy still exists at all. Times are tough for print and even tougher for porn²! Who exactly is buying this?

With naked pictures taken with cellphone cameras held at the end of outstretched arms, the advent of ‘sexting’³ and an Internet full of flesh what place does Playboy still hold? What part of the market is still available to them?

Playboy was readily available because it was considered ‘classy.’ With the Internet isn’t even the pretense of classy now unnecessary?

I have two business days to think about all this.

¹ – That could be said even if Helaine wasn’t reading this.

² – OK, it’s not porn, but it’s certainly in competition with porn.

³ – Secondhand knowledge. Honest.

The Good And The Bad

“There’s plenty of on-street parking,” her contact said.

The child has a job interview early next week. We’re excited as she is.

“There’s plenty of on-street parking,” her contact said.

Uh…. she doesn’t know how to parallel park. She has the weekend to learn!