Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Blog posts January 2009

I hear there's a pretty big football game on Sunday.  Unfortunately, my team - the Philadelphia Eagles - isn't playing in it.  Consequently, I am left with a choice between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Phoenix Cardinals.

Honestly, it's not much of a choice.  I suppose I am leaning toward the Cardinals if only so I can take some comfort in the fact that my Eagles lost to the eventual Super Bowl champions.  However, should the Steelers prevail, I will be OK with that, too.

Ultimately, I am rooting for the COMMERCIALS.

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Digital Delay?

I have a few minutes before my financial advisor calls with an update on my shrinking 401K.  So, here are a few thoughts on what seems as though will be a delay in the transition from analog television to digital.

This plan has been in the works for years - years, people.  My television station and every other station around the country have been telling viewers about it for years - years, people.  In our case, we've had information on our Web site for quite a while, we've done many stories about the transition and who will be affected, we've taken part in two tests required by the FCC, and, also following FCC guidelines, we run a crawl at the bottom of the screen at least twice a day to let people know that change is coming on February 17th.  Except that, now, maybe it's not.

Congress is currently in the process of delaying the switch by four months, to June 17th or thereabouts.  President Obama supports the delay, so I'm sure it's gonna happen.  My question is, "Why?"

The argument for delay basically seems to be that 6.5 million households are not ready.  How is that my problem?  How is that my televison station's problem?  Again, it's not like people didn't know this was coming.  As one of my friends put it, anyone who cares about TV will have already done what they need to do to continue watching television.  The options are:  hook up to cable or satellite, buy a TV that is digital ready, or get one of those convertor boxes.  Of course, the government coupon program is now out of money.  But, if you really cared, you either would have signed up for a coupon before the program ran out of money, or just gone ahead and bought a box without the coupon.  I repeat, it's not like people didn't know this switch was happening on February 17.

Whatever.  What we're now left with is a delay that will cost local television stations thousands of dollars that they probably didn't plan to spend.  With TV stations already cutting costs to the bone, this delay could lead to even more job losses.  Hopefully not, but it could.

Thanks, Congress.   

*******UPDATE:  Thanks, Congress!  Shortly after I posted the above entry, the House, in what may be the smartest thing it's done in years, actually rejected the plan to delay the conversion.  So, unless something else happens soon, it's bye-bye analog on February 17.  I'm ready.  Are you?******

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Say Good-bye, George

We don't have George Bush to kick around anymore.  But, I'm going to take this opportunity to get in one last kick anyway.

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Carried Away?

After watching part of Tuesday's inauguration, it's clear that there is an outpouring of hope for President Obama.  Expectations are high, and he's still being treated like a rock star basking in the adulation of fans far and near.

I have to wonder if we're not getting carried away by all this hype.  And, by "we," I mean media included.  Witness this Associated Press article which surfaced yesterday afternoon.  It first crossed the wire as an AP News Alert, which basically means that the AP considers it to be "breaking news."  This longer article followed.

BC-Obama-Media Visit,120
Obama takes tour of White House press digs
Eds: APNewsNow.
Associated Press Writer
      WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has taken an impromptu tour of the White House press working area.
      The new president caused a wild scene when he surprised members of the White House press corps with an appearance late Thursday afternoon.
      He walked through the briefing room and soon found himself surrounded by journalists. He told them that he just wanted to say hello.
      Then the president continued on, walking by the media outlets' booths and other work spaces that are spread across two floors.
      (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

So, Barack Obama stops by to say hi to the White House press corps and the AP treats it as breaking news?  Really?

I think we need to get over it and get on with it already.

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Time to Go

It took eight long years, but the disaster that is/was the Bush administration is finally leaving.  But, not under their own power.  Did you see THIS?  Cheney pulled a muscle in his back, so he'll be in a wheelchair for the inauguration.  As if these people haven't done enough already, now they need to be pushed out of Washington.  I can't decide if it's delicious symbolism or just plain pathetic.

Either way, bottom line, they're gone.

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It's Cold

So, while I keep my fingers crossed that the pipes don't freeze, enjoy this classic from 1989!

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Questions, Questions

It's been a while since I've blogged about work, but tonight put me over the edge.  Judging by some of the phone calls I received tonight, it seems that many people are absolutely incapable of thinking for or doing for themselves.

One phone call was from a guy who wanted the phone number to a local SPCA shelter.  Somehow, he managed to find the number to the TV station, but I guess he never thought about using that same method to find the number to the SPCA in question.

Another guy called to let us know that the poloticians need to do a better job of keeping the sidewalks clear and ice-free during the winter.  Because, you know, if the politicians were doing their job like they're supposed to, there wouldn't be so many lawsuits.

Fairly late in the evening, the intern answered a phone call from a third guy.  He wanted to know why there was a squiggly white line at the bottom of his television screen.  He wanted to know if it was a problem on our end or if it was a problem with his cable company.  One look at the screen told me it was actually his problem.  As in he had no clue about what he was watching.  The squiggly line was part of the "enhanced" episode of LOST.  It appreared at the bottom of the screen and explanations of plot points in the show popped in above it.  If he can't figure that out, how in the world is he ever going to figure out what the damn numbers mean?

Speaking of numbers, a woman who called wanted the number for PennDOT.  I was ready to give her the toll-free number for road conditions when she added that the number she wanted was for maintenance - the guys who plow and salt.  I didn't have it and wasn't about to look it up, so I told her to look it up herself in the phone book.  Her call came well after 5 p.m.  If I had given her the PennDOT number, just which state employee did she expect would be answering the phone when she called?

And, let's not forget the woman who wanted to know why the teacher who's accused of having pounds and pounds of pot in her house hasn't had that house taken away by the government.  Oh, I don't know.  Maybe because she's not actually been convicted of anything yet?  And even then, was drug money used to buy the house?  I don't know.  The woman was just arrested last week so it's a little early to be talking about seizing her house - even if that is a potential consequence.

Well, here's my question.  What gives people the idea that a television station has the answer to all their questions?  And, what gives them the idea that we have all the time in the world to look up those answers.  We may be in the information business, but we are not information!

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It's the Economy, Stupid

Computer problems prevented me from posting this earlier, but I feel I must persist.  You see, the American Dialect Society has chosen its 2008 Word of the Year.  And, since I blogged about it HERE and HERE, I can't very well leave you all hanging.  So, here you go.

The 2008 Word of the Year as chosen by the American Dialect Society is bailout.  You can read the entire news release HERE. (You should read it really.  It's quite entertaining)  While I think the choice is worthy, it's not particularly original since the fine folks at Merriam-Webster beat the Society to the punch several weeks earlier by choosing "bailout" as their own word of the year.

I should also say that the choice of "bailout" follows logically from the 2007 WOTY, subprime.   Here's hoping that the 2009 Word of the Year is something along the lines of "rebound."

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Celtic New Age and Japanese anime.  An interesting combination. 

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Steve Reed is a Bobblehead

(thanks to CAPITOL IDEAS for the link)

According to THIS story on, a bobblehead doll of Harrisburg mayor Steve Reed is being sold to raise money for a new sports museum.  The price of the doll?  $75 each.  First of all, I don't believe very many people will pay that kind of money for a Steve Reed Bobblehead.  Second of all, I don't believe very many people believe that Harrisburg needs another museum. 

Then, there's the matter of the video (use the blue arrow in the lower left to play) which, I guess, is supposed to help sell the bobblehead.  I don't know.  It needs music. Or something.

Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed Bobblehead

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Bye-Bye, Bat

Pat the Bat is moving on.  He's done a two-year, $16M deal with those Tampa Bay Rays.  I say, good for Pat.  The Rays will probably use him mostly as a DH which, at this point in his career, is probably where he needs to be.  He wasn't always the slugger that the Phillies needed him to be, but Pat Burrell showed up for work, kept his mouth shut, and got a big hit against the Brewers.  Thanks, and good luck.

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New Year, New Tunes

It's the first weekend of 2009, so of course I'm thinking about a song from 1986.  Go figure.

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Fish Pedicure

Not long now until the American Dialect Society reveals it's choice for the 2008 Word of the Year - or WOTY as it's known to linguistic insiders.  Back in November, I jotted down a few ideas HERE.

It seems I was on the right path.  The Society recently published the list of nominations on its Web site.  You can check it out HERE.  From the public, lots of suggestions related to the recent presidential campaign/election.  And, quite a few related to the current economic situation.

You can also check out nominations from members of the Society.  They followed suit with the political and economic terms.  But, they also threw in a few gems such as:

fish pedicure

: A cosmetic procedure in which fish eat the dead skin off the feet.

Can't say I ever heard that one.  Will I let you know what the winners are on January 9?  You betcha!   

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