Archive for December, 2008

Zach Feeding the Deer
December 31, 2008

  My parents have been feeding the deer in their yard for more than a year. They’ve just about tamed them. 


This one is the most brave. Zach loves feeding him corn. Ally named him Squanto.

 I think she got this name from listening to Zach study history.  (  Squanto (c. 1580s – November 1622) was one of two Native American Indians that assisted the Pilgrims after their first winter in the New World.) 


   Zach got to name another one of the deer who is not quite as brave as Squanto. He chose the name Jack. 


Grandad loves making corn-fed venison jokes….

but of all the things that happened on our Christmas ’08 vacation…. Zach will remember this the most.

My Christmas Gift to My Parents
December 30, 2008

 This is the Christmas gift I gave to my parents.


 The kids and I found it while we were in Sedona. It is a wind sculpture by Lyman Whitaker.   We put it in their front yard right outside the big window where they watch the birds. It looks so peaceful as it slowly turns in the breeze.

I found video of one moving on youtube to show you. 


Then Dad noticed, “Not a bird one has been to the feeder since.”

 Ooopps. I guess the birds are a little freaked out by it.  : )  We’ll have to move it.

Mom’s Song
December 30, 2008

This video is called Mom’s song. It’s everything a Mom says in a day condensed into a couple of minutes and sung to the William Tell Overture. One of the best Moms I know sent this to me…. so Bonnie, thank you and this is dedicated to you : ) 

Christmas Eve Disaster
December 26, 2008

Before I tell you what happened…. take a look at my parents’ beautiful Christmas tree.

Mom works very hard on it and likes everything to be perfect.

Normally, everything is perfect. 


Here’s Mom and Ally getting ready for the big night.


Mom started a cozy fire in the fireplace about an hour before all the relatives were to arrive to open gifts. 

We quickly noticed a strong smoke smell and blamed it on the logs. But it just kept getting worse.

We left the living room and started working in the kitchen. (Well, Mom was working I was nibbling and talking)

Then the kids ran in … screaming for us to come quickly. 



  THE WHOLE  ROOM WAS FILLED WITH SMOKE!  We couldn’t figure out what was wrong because the flu was open. 

Derek grabbed a fan and we opened all the doors and windows.

Yes, I grabbed my camera …..  because that’s what reporters are trained to do   : ) 



Dad climbed up on the roof to see what was going on. He found the problem. Turns out a handyman who was supposed to put some screen up on the chimney to keep the birds out…. secured the screen with a giant piece of slate which covered the opening. What a mess! Dad pulled off the slate and slowly the smoke cleared.  



It looks like the fireplace needs a little cleaning….  and mom’s sofas will have to be cleaned. But thank goodness it wasn’t worse.

We grabbed the gifts and headed to the sunroom to open them.

Here’s Dad with a little soot on his face ….. and you can tell he’s really in the Christmas spirit. : ) 


Christmas 2008…. one to remember.

My Boss and the Christmas Story
December 25, 2008

Every year at this time our boss, Bob Longo, decides to bring a little Christmas cheer to the busy newsroom by reading a Christmas story.

Normally it’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. This year it was about some evil Santa twin that tries to ruin Christmas. 



  My dear friend, Maria is in the background rushing around. I told her she looked like a Pantene commercial with her hair bouncing around like that. ( Honestly, I said originally that she looked like a Breck girl… but she is too young to get the joke. So I had to explain it….. and  so she said  I should have said Pantene instead) 



         Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve Fun
December 23, 2008

I posted this before…. but I wanted to do it again so you’ll have it for tomorrow night. : ) 

  Click here to get to the page to download the 3D Santa tracker thanks to Google Earth  (you have to wait until Christmas Eve to download it)

  Here’s a preview for it: 

Click here for a cute video where you can click on reindeer and make them dance. (Thanks to Chris) 

Click here to get a personalized greeting for your child from Santa himself. (Thanks to Barb)

Concert Update
December 23, 2008

   Here’s a quick update from the Oasis concert my brothers attended last weekend. Derek took my camera to take some pictures.  David and Derek sat in the second row. In the middle of the show the guy from Oasis pointed back and forth at them and said “Brothers?”  David and Derek are twins and so that is pretty obvious. The two main band members in Oasis are brothers, too… and their fights are infamous. I don’t think David and Derek have ever had a fight…. at least not since they were in elementary school.  

  OK … here are a few of their pictures:  

Here’s one of the opening act: Ryan Adams. He performed with his new band The Cardinals. 


  This is David….  There were much better photos of him…. but I thought he looked the most ridiculous in this one… so I chose it. : ) Merry Christmas, Dave. 



   And here’s Oasis. This is the guy who asked if David and Derek were brothers. (I think it would have been funny if D&D had replied”no”.)   


      Next, I have some blackmail photos of my boss I’m going to post …….. he he he….. (I guess it’s not really blackmail if I’ve already told him I’m going to post them)

Young Sidney Crosby Video
December 22, 2008

    Sidney Crosby just broke the record for the most fan votes ever in the NHL All-Star game balloting.  He such a great athlete but an even better example to children. As a mother of a 10 year old boy, that means more to me than any record Sidney could possibly break. I can tell you Zach watches sports stars very closely and I’m so appreciative that Crosby is his favorite.  I thought this would be a good time to post an old video of  Sid the Kid… when he really was still a kid. Enjoy! 

   That’s why two years ago Santa brought Zach a signed Crosby  jersey. I got it framed and it’s hanging over Zach’s bed. (He’d much rather I hadn’t framed it so he could wear it… but there was no way I was going to let that happen!) I still catch him staring at it. 


  The former fan balloting record was set by Jagr (when he was a Penguin) at 1,020,736. Crosby broke that in the middle of the day Sunday. Hey, and we can also be proud that Evgeni Malkin also looks like he’s going to pass the Jagr mark. Go Pens! (Zach asked Santa for a signed Malkin jersey this year…. doesn’t look like that’s going to happen… Santa is trying but that request just came a little too late).  : ( 

   There are still two weeks of voting left for the All-Star fan balloting which will select the starting lineups for the All-Star game in Montreal on Jan. 25. Click here if you’d like to vote. 

Coming After Lunch
December 22, 2008

Today after lunch I’m going to post a video of Sidney Crosby playing hockey as a kid to celebrate him breaking the All-Star fan voting record! Stay warm today. There’s a two hour school delay in my district so we’re enjoying a lazy morning in our warm house. : )

Shannon and Sushi
December 21, 2008


Shannon Perrine and I got together for a fun sushi lunch. I’m allergic to shellfish so I get tuna and salmon.

That’s why these odd looking little baby shrimp in their shells didn’t look very appetizing to me. They look like insects.  In fact, I’ll just come out and say it…. they look gross!

Shannon was taunting me with them.


I think some of Shannon’s shellfish got mixed up in my Philadelphia rolls. You’ll probably be able to notice a reaction I’m having in my eyes when I fill in for Shannon on Sunday night’s 11:00 newscast. But we had a blast at lunch so it was totally worth it! : )

Wonderwall Song War
December 20, 2008

My brothers and I are having a debate over a song. Tonight they’re in Virginia to see the English rock band Oasis. It’s my brother, David’s favorite band…. or at least one of his favorites.  They got second row seats. Opening for Oasis is one of my favorite artists, Ryan Adams.  It should be a fantastic show.

So here is the debate. Oasis’  big song was Wonderwall way back in 1995. (Great song written by their guitarist)  But more recently Ryan Adams did a cover of it (Even better in my opinion).  My brothers are hoping Ryan does NOT sing Wonderwall tonight. They say he will ruin it for Oasis which has the better version in their opinions.    I am hoping he does sing it just to get on their nerves.  Derek is threatening to wear a Brian Adams tshirt to get on Ryan Adams nerves. UGH.

Here are both versions. What do you think?

This is the Oasis version of Wonderwall (the original) : 

  This is Ryan Adam’s cover: 

Mr Rogers’ Lesson
December 20, 2008

Zach had a Social Studies test today. We studied for it a lot this week. One of the things he was learning about as the English and French and Spanish and Dutch explored and fought over North America ….. is diversity and tolerance. For some reason this Mr Rogers song kept popping in my head. So I thought for the weekend, I’d post it here as a wonderful childhood memory with an important lesson.

WWE Monday Night Raw
December 18, 2008

So they tell me it’s like a soap opera for  men.   When I heard several people here at work got tickets for the WWE RAW show at Mellon Arena… I handed my good friend and co-worker, Joe, my camera and asked him to take some photos.


 For those of you out there who are like me and don’t keep up with this stuff… here’s what I can tell you. This pro wrestling is very popular. Every Monday night a show is broadcast live … and this past Monday it was here in Pittsburgh at Mellon Arena.  The guy above is Batista … and his nickname is “The Animal.”  Joe took a photo of Batista earning his nickname….. He’s got Cody Rhodes in a suplex. 


   Who knows  what’s happening here.

   Joe told me Randy Orton’s nickname is “The Legend Killer.” 


   I guess nicknames would be a pretty big deal in something like this. I’ll have to ask around to see if any Action News people have interesting nicknames. 


   I have more pictures… maybe I’ll sort through them and share them later. Thanks to Joe for bringing these back to me…. maybe Joe’s next blog assignment will be a little more my style… like a shopping adventure!

Behind the Scenes / Weather
December 17, 2008

 Our wonderful meteorologist Erin Kienzle demonstrated for you how her weather wall works. We call it the “key”…. which is short for Chroma Key, the technical name for what’s happening here.   


       During the weather, Erin stands in front of the bright green screen. Anything that is that color green (or we’ve learned the hard way any color even close) will disappear and turn into the weather maps Erin’s created from her Weather Watch 4 Center. That’s why you’ll never see anyone standing in front of the wall wearing this color.  Erin can see where she’s pointing on the map a couple of different ways. First, there are monitors on both sides of the weather wall so she can peek slightly off to the side and get her bearings. 

     Or she can look directly into the camera lens. Remember in the last post how our news scripts were on the teleprompter? Well, our stage hands can switch it over so our meteorologists can see what you’re seeing on television. It’s much, much, much harder than it looks. It’s not like a reflection in a mirror …. it’s switched around so it takes a lot of practice and coordination! 


     Everything the weather folks say is ad-lib …. no scripts for them ; )  She can advance her weather maps when she’s ready for the next one by using a remote (I call a clicker because I’m so technical.. ha ha ha). 


     Thanks to Erin and Mike and Pat for taking the time out of their busy day to help me demonstrate how things work behind the scenes.

     Coming next…. some crazy pro wrestling pictures (!) from Mellon Arena courtesy my friend Joe. I have to admit…. I just don’t get it.

Behind the Scenes / Teleprompter
December 16, 2008

   Here’s a look at what we see during the newscast. Most of you have heard about our “teleprompter”…. that magical device which allows us to read our scripts while looking into the camera lens. I had Mike Clark help me show you how it works. 


      We can read our scripts by looking at the glass which is in front of the lens. The glass is angled a bit down and reflects a computer monitor below which has all of our scripts in it. 

       The scripts scroll up as we read.  (Doesn’t Mike do a great job?)    


      This is Pat. He’s fantastic at his job.  Among his many other responsibilities…. he is also responsible for running the teleprompter.  He is in the studio with us and as we read…. he controls how fast or slow the teleprompter moves.


     Now, if there’s breaking news…. of course, there are no scripts for that… and often the stories are switched around for various reasons and we need to look at our “hard copy” scripts which we have in front of us….. and sometimes our computer   crashes (must like the ones you have at home) and we need to read the scripts in our hands. But most of the time we use the wonderful teleprompter. 

    Oh, Mike told me to be sure and say that he memorizes all of his scripts so he doesn’t really need the prompter LOL !

   Coming next… I also took some photos of how the weather wall works with the green screen with the help of Erin Kienzle… I’ll work on that now.