The Post’s Snow Lover Hates Me

Does seeing what he wrote upset me? Of course it does.

I got a mention in Jim Shay’s blog from the Connecticut Post&#185. The entry is called, “Weathering the anti-snow people.”

I tried to respond there, but the website fired off an error message saying it couldn’t connect to its database.

“[A] promising period of snow and cold temperatures are in the forecast.

No you won’t get that from the snow haters on Connecticut television stations. At the top of the list is Geoff Fox on WTNH whose anti-snow bias is enough to turn off the channel as soon as you see him. Sorry, Geoff, I’m tired of hearing that B.S. of the time you spent in snowy Buffalo. Why don’t you just tell the forecast instead of your shaking your head and have that condensending smug on your face when there’s snow in the forecast.”

fluffy-snow-deck-chairs.jpgWe’ve got to get Jim a spell checker. Actually, even if it was spelled right, what’s a condescending smug?

He’s mostly right though. I’m not exactly anti-snow (can one actually be anti-snow?), but I am a snow hater. Not Jim. His blog is named “Snow Zone.” Duh.

He’s unhappy with me. I suspect he thinks my admitted bias affects my forecast.

If it were only that simple.

He probably prefers those who predicted 100 of the last 25 inches of snow! To them hope springs eternal. All potential Nor’easters become Nor’easters. That’s not real life. That’s not me.

My forecast doesn’t make the snow come. As Dr. Mel says, “We’re in prediction, not production.” The snow is a passive observer. It does what it wants.

My job is to be as accurate as possible. Bias be damned. There’s no upside to being wrong. I’ve been wrong enough times over 25 years to know I want to avoid it (and to avoid humanity in general after I’ve been wrong).

Does seeing what he wrote upset me? Of course it does. No one wants to read along as the author tries to put you down (though, as hinted at earlier, it would be more effective if the Assistant Managing Editor of the Connecticut Post properly spelled his words and structured his sentences).

Stuff like this comes with the territory. I do a better job dealing with it than I once did. Anyway, the posting is not as bad as it looks because he wrote enough specifics to realize he does watch!

The blogger doth protest too much.

&#185 – The Connecticut Post was the Bridgeport Post. Like many papers attached to a downtrodden urban center with wealthier suburbs (Newark Star-Ledger, Camden Courier-Post to name two) it changed its name. That might be good for the paper while simultaneously demoralizing for the formerly named city.

I Can’t Handle The Tooth

Parts of my mouth were immovable objects! I looked like a stroke victim. I could drink, but only if I was willing to wear the drink as it dribbled toward my chin.

My plan for today was to write about the new PC which is up and running.

Nope. Bigger fish to fry.

Today was my follow-up from last week’s journey into endodontics–Root Canal II.

I have been through this procedure before and yet I fooled myself into thinking this was some sort of “turn your head to the left and cough” type of event. Nope.

Dr. Cha had to open the tooth and head back in. Gas first (my sixties simulator) and then two injections.

If I could just relax as he did that!

Oh, who am I kidding. I tightened like a clam. My fingers and toes curled inward in an uncontrollable reflex.

When he went to inject me again I asked if, maybe, he could work with just those first two shots. Again, who am I kidding? By this time my gums were totally dead to the world and there was no additional discomfort.

Though going to the dentist is never fun (sorry guys) at least Bruce is good company. We talked about Korea and his family’s escape from the north. We talked about baseball. We talked about my teeth as I watched him work via the monitor on the ceiling. I like that he answers technical questions with technical answers. I am always curious–even about what’s happening to my teeth!

As I left the office I realized I had to work on-the-air. Parts of my mouth were immovable objects! I looked like a stroke victim. I could drink, but only if I was willing to wear the drink as it dribbled toward my chin.

I arrived at work and found Dr. Mel still there because of heavy rain and the chance for strong thunderstorms. He sat for some on-air teases until I began to feel the tingling that signifies the shots are wearing off.

After the first part of the root canal I needed ice for nearly a week. Hopefully this pain will be much more short lived.

In the meantime here’s to Advil and ice. They’re what keeps me going.

A Friend Indeed

Today I saw Dr. Mel as I realized what was going on. So, if you like tonight’s tie you know who to compliment.

shirt and tie.jpgI can’t believe it. I forgot my tie! This happens two or three times a year.

In the past I’ve borrowed from Noah Finz. Today it was Dr. Mel as I realized what was going on. He said yes.

Would anyone have noticed? “Look! Channel 8’s weather people all have similar ties.”

If you like tonight’s tie you now know who to compliment.

I need to store ties at work!

My Favorite Misconception

It used to be all I had to worry about was that rumor I colored my hair. Nope – never. I’ve got lots of gray sprinkled in there, but it just isn’t seen on TV and I’m not sure why. But the rumor persists.

Tonight I got this email from my friend/physician Steve with new rumors.

He said you’ve only got your job “because your family owns the network.” When I pursued this further, he told me that your family owns the Fox Network (it should only be, right?)

When I pointed out that WTNH isn’t part of the Fox Network AND that I happen to know your father and (1) he hasn’t got that kind of money and (2) his name isn’t Rupert Murdoch, he stopped. For a moment.

But then he said, “and [your] father-in-law is Dr. Mel!!!”

Does Helaine know that? Did you? I asked where he got this information and he said he heard it a long time ago. I told him that I knew for a fact that he was wrong about that, too (he either thinks that you’re really young or Dr Mel is much much much older.)

Isn’t this crazy? That’s the first I’ve heard about the Fox Network, but I get the Dr. Mel father-in-law question all the time. Both, of course, not true.

Where do these things get started? In fact, why would anyone care enough to start something like this?

I often worry about the hair coloring rumor, because I don’t want people to think I’m trying to scam them by being something I’m not.

I visited the Fox lot this summer. trust me, if I owned the network, I would have had a much better parking spot.

The Snow is Finished

Yesterday was my day off – but how could I not work with a major storm coming! I went to work about 2:00 PM and, with Gil Simmons, did cut-ins through the afternoon. Then, I was on the news at 5, 6, 10 and 11, did more cut-ins through the evening and cut some special forecasts which ran on the station’s Internet site.

The snow didn’t come up to my expectations, though it was pretty bad. Some areas did get the two feet I called for. Most did not.

However, I didn’t get more than one or two small complaints – and I got nearly 700 emails this weekend! So, the forecast must have been close enough to prepare people for what came – and it was pretty awful.

After a storm like this I like to write and thanks everyone who went out and measured snow or sent me a snapshot. Attached below is what I sent.

Continue reading “The Snow is Finished”

Calls at 1:30 AM Are Never Good News

I worked my normal shift last night, getting home around midnight. By 12:30 AM I was downstairs, on the sofa, computer at my side, watching some shows I had recorded&#185 while away in Florida. Helaine and Stef were asleep. The house was quiet.

Then, the phone rang.

I figured it was my Cousin Michael or my friend Paul. They’re the only two who would call at that time… though Michael would be calling on my cellphone not the family number that was ringing. I moved quickly to the phone, trying to catch it before it woke the girls.

It was Gil Simmons, one of our meteorologists at the station. I didn’t need him to tell me how awful he was feeling because I immediately heard it in his voice.

Gil was scheduled to work 5:00 – 7:00 AM on-the-air, filling in for Dr. Mel who already had the day off and was unavailable. Matt Scott, our other meteorologist, is in France. That left me.

The last time we got this far down the depth chart was 20 years ago when I stayed all night and did morning coverage for the arrival of Hurricane Gloria.

What are you going to do in a situation like this? I really couldn’t say no. I definitely didn’t want Gil to try and leave the house… not that he could. Yes was my answer. I was going to go back to work.

It was already too late to think of getting any sleep, so I killed some time and went upstairs to change from pajamas to a suit.

I left the house a little before 3:00 AM and made it to the station very quickly. As little traffic as there is at midnight… that’s like rush hour compared to 3:00 AM. The streets near my house were empty. There weren’t many more cars or tucks on I-91 as I headed south.

Every show on TV has its own individual format. As I walked in, I immediately headed to the producers and asked them to give me a little slack as I felt my way around this foreign ground and then headed to my desk to draw maps and update the forecast.

I was surprised at how quickly the two hours on-air went by. There are lots of weather hits and certainly a concentration on a very short term forecast – much more so than what I do at night.

I was back home and back in bed before 9:00 AM. Of course I still had my ‘real’ job! So, after a few hours of sleep, it was back at work.

I wouldn’t want to do it everyday, but considering the circumstances, working a double is doable.

I will be curious later tonight to see how quickly I go to bed after getting home. I’m saying this as if I have no free will in the matter, which often seems close to the truth. I can tell you with over four hours before quitting time, I’m dragging.

&#185 – What will happen to the word “taped?” With DVR’s TV shows will be stored on disk, not videotape. Still, we talk about “dialing” a phone number, even though we’re punching it out on a keypad.

Public Speaking

This past summer I agreed to speak to the North End Club in New Haven. I can’t always say yes, but this was at a convenient time, in a convenient place. I like speaking – once I’m doing it. I hope that makes sense?

Today was a significant weather day with snow/sleet/freezing rain/rain in various parts of the state. The president of the organization was nice enough to shuffle her meeting and get me on early – which got me out early.

I don’t work from a script, but I’ve given variations of the same talk for 20 years. I know where I’m going and where the laugh lines are. Actually, the laughs aren’t guaranteed and there are places where I can gage how my audience is accepting me. I’ll field edit if it isn’t going well.

I hate to bomb but audiences have group personalities… and not all are conducive to what I do.

Of all the people I’ve seen on stage Johnny Carson brought something I had never seen, before or after. It was in Las Vegas, and as soon as he walked on stage, he was a hit. For the rest of us, the first goal is to win over the audience. I’ve never seen anyone but Johnnybe a hit from second one.

The woman who introduced me read from my bio. Oops – a few of the jokes I wanted to tell were there and she was delivering them. Oh well, – my fault.

My program ran 30-35 minutes followed by some questions. They were very responsive while I spoke and their questions afterward were also very good. So, all in all, a success.

I won’t take money from a non-profit organization, but they did give me an honorarium to donate to charity. Since our morning meteorologist, Dr. Mel and his fight with cancer became a topic of discussion, I will be donating the check to the Cancer Center at Yale.

Best of New Haven

OK – it’s not the Oscar for Best Picture, but this is the ground on which I compete. I was thrilled to, again, win the “Best of” readers’ poll from the New Haven Advocate in the “Local TV Personality” category.

Best Local TV Personality

Geoff Fox

WTNH-TV, 8 Elm St., New Haven, (203) 784-8888

It’s raining, it’s pouring, Geoff Fox is winning the “Best Of” award for

Local TV Personality again. And why not? He’s been “local” for two

decades. He’s on TV, and he’s so damned personable. Whenever he walks

into a room, people want to chat with him, and not just about the

weather. Maybe about his incessant poker-playing, or his wife’s

obsession with soap-rocker Rick Springfield, or the computer he built

himself, or how he looks like he’s lost weight (He has–15 pounds, with

the goal of dropping 10 more).

Most of the time, Fox is the one starting the conversations, and he’s

out and about constantly–at charity events, school programs or holiday

gatherings. “I’ve probably spoken individually to every schoolchild in

Connecticut,” he grins. And they constantly come up to him to remind him

of those fleeting, yet important, encounters. Amid all this, he still

finds time to report the weather on Channel 8 weekdays at 5, 6, 10 and

11 p.m. , which makes his nice-guy-ness all the more amazing. (He

doesn’t go to bed until 3 or 4 a.m.)

This month marks Fox’s 20th anniversary with Channel 8. Before that he

worked in Buffalo, N.Y. a market where it’s pretty easy to predict the

weather, at least in the winter: SNOW. Geoff Fox is a guy who just keeps

shining and is never partly cloudy.

2nd: Dr. Mel (WTNH-TV)

8 Elm St., New Haven, (203) 784-8888

3rd: Ann Nyberg (WTNH-TV)

8 Elm St., New Haven, (203) 784-8888

Before anyone who was passed over, in any category, gets bent out of shape, let me point out that Quinnipiac University beat out Yale University for “Best Local 4-Year College.”

Blogger’s note: I am now down about 23.5 pounds and hoping to lose another 5 or 6 by July.

Anything’s possible

Late last week, my friend Harold told me he was taking this week off and that if I took a day off, we’d go to “The City” (Since I was a little child “The City” meant Manhattan which was treated differently than other parts of New York City).

Fine. I asked for, and received, Tuesday off.

But, what to do in The City? We talked about The Lower East Side (I am a knockoff watch whore and am looking for a new faux Breitling), getting tickets at TKTS and seeing a Broadway show, the Ansel Adams exhibit at MOMA and going to see David Letterman.

I have been a Letterman fan since the first time I saw him on The Tonight Show. When his late show began on NBC, I got on my knees and begged our program director at WGRZ in Buffalo to run it (which she eventually did).

Click to see the inscription from Dave

Around 20 years ago, Helaine and I went and saw a taping at 30 Rock. A friend who worked at NBC at the time got us into the studio early, where we shmoozed with Biff Henderson.

Letterman came out before the show and walked into the audience, looking for questions. Being right in front, we were tough to avoid. He called on Helaine and then answered her question, “What kind of makeup do you wear? My fiancee is on TV and his doesn’t look as good.”

When the show started, he made reference to the question and asked me what station I was on. Andrea Martin was on the show, but I don’t remember much more.

Of course, Letterman tickets are tough to come by, especially in the summer when his target audience is … at will, so to speak. So, I emailed my friend Mel at CBS. “They hate us,” he replied, making no bones about the Letterman staff’s relationship with the rest of CBS.

Next, an email to Aaron Barnhart at the Kansas City Star and Aaron has been a Letterman fan forever, and I figured he was connected. Anyway, I had just done a favor for him, so he was into me.

No pull.

But, Aaron suggested I go to the CBS website and put myself on the standby list. What the hell? It was late, the dog was chowing down, I had nothing better to do.

This afternoon the message appeared on my cellphone. Mitch at Late Night was calling, telling me they had a cancellation and I was invited. Assured seats, no standby. How cool is this?

All I had to do was answer a trivia question to establish my Letterman bonafides. First, how often did I watch? I told him 2-3 times a week (any more and too much Dave starts sneaking into my performance). My question, “Who is Alan Kalter?”

Damn! Alex, I’ll take staff announcers for $500.

So, Harold arrives at 10:00am. We”ll drive to Stamford and catch Metro North to Grand Central. And, we’re going to see Letterman.