15. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

DadKeyWestresized

There’s not much more to say about my dad on days like this, the days that remind me of him and of how long it’s been since he’s gone. It’s still hard and strange and painful to think he’s gone, but it’s good to remember the happy times, too. Above, that’s me and Dad in Key West, I think at Turtle Kraals or someplace like that by the water, and I don’t know what year it was other than that I was much younger than I am now and Dad was pre-mesothelioma and that would put it around the late ’90s or early 2000s. We had a great time then, and it’s a cherished memory now. I’m glad there’s at least this photo to remind me of it.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

26. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

He would have been 83 today, and as happens every year, I think of my father the way he wanted to be, the way he expected to be before mesothelioma hit and changed everything. He was going to be on the tennis court, still playing, like his hero, a guy named Hank Beck who played tennis at the Y in Wayne, New Jersey into his 80s, softly returning everything and driving opponents 30 years younger into fits. That was the plan, and then the asbestos scars turned into a raging, painful cancer and ended everything.

Ten years ago was his last birthday. I went down to Florida, visited him, brought him a gift, but things weren’t going well. The pain was intense; he went to use a Barnes and Noble gift card I’d gotten him, but that was, pretty much, the last time he was able to go out and do anything. A little over a month later, he was gone.

But I’d prefer to think of him as he wanted to be, as he was before the disease took over, a little guy, elderly but spry and sharp, way younger than his years, out on the tennis court or in the pool, grinning and having fun. I can’t go visit him anymore, but every once in a while I look in the mirror and I notice that I look just a little more like he did. So, maybe he’s still with me. I hope so. If Hank Beck was his role model, Dad is mine, and if I’m carrying a little part of him along, that’s a good thing.

13. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

What, two months between posts? That’s unacceptable. Also, that’s what happens when you’re very, very busy.

Anyway, it’s that time of year, and we’re going to be walking in the Revlon Run/Walk for Women, the annual cancer fundraiser that we do every year to commemorate Fran’s survival and to honor everyone who’s battled the disease and help fund research and treatment. We’re not planning to hit everyone over the head with it this year, but we ARE soliciting donations. Go to http://do.eifoundation.org/goto/pmsimon2014 and you can give. That’d be nice.

And thanks. It’s kind of our pet cause, but you can understand why….

24. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Baseball, Television · Tags: , , , ,

This is pretty cool. Last year, WPIX in New York posted this report on the history of the station, done in 1998 when the station was celebrating its 50th anniversary, but I hadn’t noticed it until now. It has old footage from the ’40s and ’50s on through, mostly news footage, but also has the ’70s Action News with the WPVI theme, a little Bill Jorgensen (better known for his years at channel 5), and a lot of Yankees stuff (and, inexplicably, the Mets in ’69, the Giants’ Super Bowl wins, and the Rangers’ first Stanley Cup, none of which were aired on WPIX).

But that’s the news side. This is more memorable:

I hated the Yankee theme. Then again, I hated the Yankees.

And this, courtesy YouTube user YanksAtShea, aired on WPIX just like this, Mantle’s 500th, called by the late Jerry Coleman (although in 1967, he wasn’t yet “hanging a star”:

Also from WPIX, this rare footage of Roger Maris’ 61st home run in 1961, called not by Phil Rizzuto as you’ve heard a zillion times before from the radio broadcast but by Red Barber, who fixates on the $5,000 the guy who caught the ball would get, and by Mel Allen, who interjects briefly as the applause continues:

This was channel 11′s original “11 Alive” theme and logo:

Grew up with channel 11. (It was one of the clearer channels at our house. Also, Three Stooges.) Fun to see this stuff again.

25. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: All Access, Nerdist, Radio, Television, Work

No, I haven’t gone back on my promise. Not intentionally, that is. It’s just been frantic here – both jobs swamping me at the same time a vicious headache came to visit and linger. Hence…

You can read my latest All Access column here. People seem to like it. I don’t know. Whatever.

Here, don’t remember if I ever borrowed this from Tim Lones, the Cleveland TV historian:

1957. Cool.

10. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Convention, Travel

I drove today. Woke up in Henderson, Nevada, just outside Las Vegas, and had lunch at home, just outside L.A. And then I worked and now I’m finishing work. That’s about it.

The drive, though — I’ve made the drive to and from Las Vegas too many times to count by now. That’s what having to go to conventions will do to you. I don’t hate the drive, but it gets… tedious. There isn’t much between St. Rose Parkway in Henderson and, I’d say, Fontana, unless the Mad Greek in Baker or a cluster of chain stores in Victorville is your speed. But if you time your bathroom needs correctly — that is, if you don’t need a pit stop between Primm and Baker, or Baker and Barstow — it’s not too difficult.

But if you’ve never had the pleasure, enjoy these time lapse Vegas-to-L.A. videos from other people:

For the record, I did not stop for a bathroom break in Baker. I made it to Barstow this time.

07. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Convention, Meta

waitingforsonyces2014

I’m sitting in the Las Vegas Convention Center waiting for Sony to tell me all about stuff that we’ll forget about in days if not hours. This is what I do for a living, at least in part. I sit in convention halls and ballrooms, listen to people carefully parse their words to avoid mishap, and write down what they say, shove it into news-type form, and publish it. Later, I make fun of it, separately, in tweets and posts elsewhere and here. That’s how it works.

There are worse ways to make a living, I suppose. But the tedium can get to me sometimes. And the running around – it’s a given that if I’m at one end of the convention center, or one end of town, I’ll have to be at the other end, usually in a matter of minutes. This is why I dress light, even in chilly conditions outside like today: anything heavy and I’ll be drenched in sweat. I also can’t be in two places at once, which is why, when Michael Bay was melting down and stalking off stage at the Samsung press conference, I was on the other side of town in a sparsely-attended panel that was more apropos for coverage by my employer. I miss out on all the fun stuff.

But, again, there are worse things. This is luxury annoyance. In the meantime, I have to stop writing this, because I have platitudes to write up. And maybe there’ll be a celebrity embarrassing himself or herself at this one, too. One can only hope.

04. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: All Access, Convention, Nerdist, Work

T-minus 2 days until I have to do CES – excuse me, International CES – in Las Vegas, and I’m as unprepared as ever. Haven’t packed, did just a rudimentary brush through the agenda, just not together yet. It’s always like this.

Maybe this year it’s because there’s no real excitement about what’s in store at the show this year. After 3D kinda flopped and last year was all about cars and 4K, the prospect of this year being exactly like last year- nothing notable, mostly evolutionary (barely)- has me not exactly relishing the drive up there.

Or maybe it’s that it’s Friday and I’m just worn out. Let’s just say that’s it. Who knows? Maybe something at CES will knock everybody’s socks off. It could happen. Right now, that drive is not what I want to think about. And, two days early, it’s all I can think about. That and the Eagles game. If they win, that drive won’t be quite as tough. I might just float all the way up the 15 freeway.

02. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Internet, Meta

Well, then, here we are, new year, new look.

I’ll explain.  The old site had done just fine for years, but it was running an old, unsupported edition of Movable Type, and to properly upgrade would have been a pain and costly, too.  When I picked things up again this week, it just seemed… musty.  So, WordPress, with which I have experience and which is a relative breeze to install and operate, it is.  With one minor hiccup in importing the old posts, which I was able to fix, here we are.

I’m sure I’ll discover problems along the way — missing posts, broken links, whatever.  And I reserve the right to redesign and redesign again.  But it doesn’t hurt to slap a new coat of paint on the old place once in a while.

31. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Television

A long time ago, I worked for a guy named Bob McAllan, then the President of Press Broadcasting in New Jersey. Bob had one of the most brilliant minds I’ve encountered, always several steps ahead of everyone, especially the FCC. While I worked with him, we managed to do stuff like reallocate the TV dial in Central Florida to end up with us having the best TV signal in the market, 5 million watts in the main Orlando antenna farm on channel 18, and buying a Trenton FM, turning it into a statewide powerhouse, and figuring out how to let out the directional pattern so that we could cover even more territory. He was, and is, an amazing broadcaster.

And he’s still at it. It was unsurprising that he managed to find an FCC TV regulation that remained on the books after the digital transition and used it to buy two rural northern Nevada TV stations (total value: practically nothing) and move them clear across the country, reallocating them to Middletown, NJ and Wilmington, DE, and putting their antennas smack in the middle of Manhattan and in Philadelphia’s Roxborough antenna farm, respectively. Here he is pushing the button to launch the new Channel 2 Wilmington/Philadelphia:

The play with low-band VHF digital stations is, of course, to get must-carry positioning on cable systems. That, I hear, has been accomplished in Philadelphia, where the new KJWP-TV is being added to Comcast/Xfinity on channel 2. And that means that for the price of a rural Wyoming TV license, legal and engineering fees, a lease on the tower and in the transmitter building, and the cost of a used transmitter and antenna, Bob managed to pull off owning New York and Philadelphia full-market TV stations, all because he read the laws and understood them, and the FCC, which tried to deny the moves and was ordered by a judge to comply, didn’t. I’m proud to have worked with Bob in the past, and I’m proud to see him still making brilliant moves and driving the FCC crazy in the process. In case you haven’t followed my career, driving people crazy is kind of my thing, too.

There’s more about the move by ace communications attorney Harry Cole here.