Archive for August, 2008

Bart Simpson Lookalike?

August 22, 2008

Brent Cannon:
Brent CannonDuring the morning show the other day, I promised to tell a story. We had been talking about an Olympic swimmer from England, who is now a reporter for the BBC. He is covering the games in Beijing, but he gets mobbed everywhere he goes because he looks like Michael Phelps. He tries to explain – but it does no good.

I had a similar thing happen – and promised to explain on the Breakfast Blog – so – hear goes.

A few years ago, at a different station, I had been confused for Bart Simpson. The station sent a few anchors to take part in some sort of “say no to drugs” program at a local park. There were hundreds of school kids there. At some point, organizers thought it would be a good idea to have all the TV people sign autographs. Well, the kids were little, and most didn’t know who we were. So, they would come to the table to have us sign photos, but would ask, “Who are you anyway?” Well, there was quite a large group at one point, and it was loud, and some kid asked who I was, and I just said “Brent.” Somehow he misunderstood and thought I said “Bart” – which somehow turned into “Bart Simpson.”

Word spread to the back of the pack like wildfire. Bart Simpson was signing autographs! The kids in the back of the pack could not see who was really at the desk, so pretty soon kids were going nuts! And word spread across the playground – and more kids came running. I tried to explain (not to mention I don’t think I look anything like Bart Simpson) that I was not Bart Simpson!

Too late. All sense of logic and reason had gone by the wayside. A frenzy had begun and there was no stopping it. So, despite my real name being printed in bold letters on the picture card, I began signing “Bart Simpson.” I just decided to go with it. No sense fighting it at this point. The kids were thrilled, and everybody was happy. So, for a short time – I – was Bart Simpson. Cow-a-bunga dude!

Brent Cannon
NBC Bay Area Anchor


Cheering the Olympics: it’s all about the syllables, not the country

August 21, 2008

Scott McGrewI had the opportunity to attend some Olympic events back when it was in Salt Lake City. If you have ever been to the Olympics, you know tickets can be hard to get – you basically attend whatever event for which you can find tickets.

Which is how my son Zach and I found ourselves at a hockey game between Finland and Belarus. Sure, we would have loved to cheer on the good old USA, but those tickets were sold out.

Obviously, you can’t attend a sporting event without cheering for someone, so we had to choose between two countries we knew very little about.

We chose Finland for three reasons: First, there was a guy selling Finnish flags on the street corner, and we bought one. Second, the government of Belarus is not very nice. Third, Finnish women fans are total babes.

This was a mistake. As it turns out, if you’re faced with choosing to cheer for a team, pick the one with three syllables, regardless of its human rights record. It just “cheers” better. Dictator, smchimkator.

Say it out loud with me: Bel-a-ROOS! Bel-a-ROOS!! See how good that sounds? With a good part of the stadium chanting that, it sounded really powerful. Just think about another three syllable country: USA. We all know how good THAT sounds when you chant it. U! S! A!

Compare Bel-a-ROOS to chanting our choice, “Finland.” Do you put the stress on the first syllable or the second? FIN-land? Fin-LAND? You find yourself adding an “a” just for the rhythm: Fin-a-land. China has the same problem. CHI-nuh! Chi-NUH! Just doesn’t sound as good as Bel-a-ROOS!

And France, God help us. Never, ever try to cheer for a one syllable country.

The three syllable rule incidentally, is why the country of Central African Republic never gets any cheers. CEN-tral Af-RI-can Re-PUB-lic! You give up after a few tries – it’s just exhausting.

So there you go, your guide to picking sides in the Olympics (when USA isn’t playing, of course).

Scott McGrew
NBC Bay Area Business & Tech Reporter

My Olympic Experience

August 20, 2008

Craig Herrera

 I hope you are enjoying the Olympic Games!  I find myself watching the television so much more these days, and all Olympics!  I love these games as athletes compete for the gold and from the heart after years of hard work.

I think my love for the games started at a young age watching the athletes go for gold, but my real love set in during college.  Before my senior year at the University of New Mexico (UNM), I was very fortunate to be selected as the intern at the Broadcasting Division of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  It was one of the best experiences of my life.  I lived in dorms at the Olympic Training Center, ate with the U.S. athletes, used their training facilities to swim and work out and I met some incredible people along the way!  It was so cool to swim in the pool or to work out in the weight room while tours were happening.  Many of the people on the tour would look into the room to see if they knew any of the athletes, they would see me and ask if I was an Olympic athlete.  I was in no shape to be an athlete, but it was quite a compliment.  J  My roommate however was a great athlete and certainly looked like an Olympian.  Greg was a road cyclist and attended the University of Arizona and he interned with the Sports Medicine Department.  We were two of about 30 interns selected from across the country and the other interns were each in different departments.  We all became very good friends that summer.

My first day at work was so much fun.  My boss, and now good friend, Beth Howard (who now lives and works in New York) was so nice and became such a great inspiration and mentor in my life! Beth put me in charge of writing the media guide for U.S. Diving as we prepared for the U.S. Olympic Festival.  In the 90s we had U.S. Olympic Festivals during off Olympic years so the U.S. athletes could be exposed to a festival that was similar to the actual Olympic Games.  American athletes who were or wanted to become Olympians were selected and divided into four teams, North, South, East and West and they competed against each other for medals.  Each athlete was given a uniform, and went through the same process an athlete would experience before the actual Olympic Games.  


After I had the media guide in place, we worked on several short videos of athletes.  My boss liked my work and she made it possible for me to go work with her at the Olympic Festival.  The Olympic Festivals were in different U.S. cities each year and soon I was on my way to St. Louis, Missouri for three weeks of hard work.  We worked on short videos of athletes during an event and showed the video immediately after the event.  It was much like a video you might see after an event now.  For example, after a swimming event you’ll see a short video showing all the highlights of that event all set to music with great sound bites from commentators… that is what we worked on during the U.S. Olympic Festival 1994. 


The Olympic Festivals showcased U.S athletes in both winter and summer games.  I met some great athletes like diver Kent Ferguson (1992 Olympian), Greg Louganis (Olympian ’76, ‘80, ’84, ’88).  I also met figure skaters Tara Lipinski (Olympian 1998) and Michelle Kwan (Olympian 1998 and 2002) long before either one made their first Olympic team. 


The U.S. Olympic Festival (which is no longer held), the internship and the memories I have from that summer will always have a special place in my heart.  I was also fortunate enough to land my first job out of college with Beth at the USOC-Broadcasting Division upon graduation from UNM.  Soon after I went to Atlanta to see a few of the games in the 1996 Olympiad in Atlanta.  I hope to one day see more games, until then, back to the tube for more of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad!  I hope you enjoy them too!

Craig Herrera
NBC Bay Area WeatherPlus Meteorologist

Olympic Daydreams

August 15, 2008

Craig Herrera

And I win GOLD!!!


Well… in my own mind.  I love the Olympics!  It’s funny, every time the Olympics come around, I like to picture myself as an Olympian, and oh yeah, on the podium too.  With every work out, every bike ride and every swim, I imagine that I am competing with the best in the world (except Michael Phelps), and I can hear the commentator on the television cheering on my name as if I am winning and setting new records!  The crowd roars and screams as I win gold.


Am I alone in this daydream of mine?  I was at the community swimming pool last week and I overheard a group of kids and I think they were having the same fun I was having.  One kid jumped into the pool, the others gave him an 8.0 for too much splash on his entry into the pool.  The next kid did a simple, oh wait, a complex cannonball and his friends gave him a 9.5 for degree of difficulty.  I laughed to myself because I realized I am not alone in my little daydream.  It was so much fun to see others doing tricks and imagining that they were competing at the Olympic games!   


I also have to admit that I have Olympic music on my iPod too.  Yes, THE Olympic music you hear on the NBC Network.  I picked up the CD “Summon The Heroes” (by John Williams) after the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.  I added it to the Olympic music collection I started while I worked at the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colorado back in the mid 90s.  I’ll save that blog for next week, because that was such an incredible experience too! 


I also have to admit I listen to my Olympic music while I am at the gym, and in my car.  I have the Olympic fever and I hope you get some time to enjoy the Olympics in Beijing.  GOLD!


Craig Herrera

NBC Bay Area WeatherPlus Meteorologist

Fan Frustration

August 14, 2008

Brent Cannon

I am officially a college football fan. Of course, fan is short for fanatic – and I have entered the world of the fanatics. Now, I do not paint my face, but I do wear my team colors and hang a school flag outside the house on game day.

It has been a long eight months since the college football season last wrapped up. The new season is just around the corner. The anticipation is mounting. I read as much as I can to keep up to date on my team (the Colorado Buffaloes). I watch recent practice video on the web. I e-mail fellow Buffs, and talk about various aspects of the game.

I even take steps to prepare for the season opener. The other day I cued up a DVD of last year’s CU vs. Nebraska game. CU won 65 to 51. But it reminded me of an issue that cropped up several times last year. It not only happened to me, but to many people who tried to enjoy their favorite team on TV. Network coverage – and this can be any network covering multiple games in one afternoon – can drive fans crazy.

If the previous game runs long, you miss the start of your game. You end up watching the score on the banner across the bottom of the screen. Suddenly, you see a score in your game – but you are stuck watching the other game, which has not ended yet. It’ll drive you absolutely mad.

In my case – I had forgotten how the CU/ NU game ended. I knew we won – but couldn’t remember exactly what happened. After rewatching the DVD I knew why. The network cut off the end. CU was in the lead with under two minutes to go. The Texas/ Texas A&M game was about to start – so they cut off the end of my game – and switched to the Texas game. In that final minute or so of the CU game – there were two more scores. That must have been a wild final minute. I will never know. Fans of those two schools never got to see what happened.

Switching – or not switching – depending on which side of the coverage you are on – can come back to bite the network. They can miss a wild finish. They predict the winner and move on – only to have a wild turn of events change the outcome. Not to mention the fact that it seems “unsportsman like” to quit on a game. The teams don’t quit. What if teams said, “Well, there’s only a minute to go. We can’t win. We quit.” That’s not how sports are played. How many last second victories have you seen during your life? Plenty, I bet. What was it I heard the U.S. men’s gymnastics team saying after they won the bronze the other day? “Never give up. Never quit.” That’s the American way. That’s what sports are all about.

I guess making money is bigger to the networks than seeing a game to the end. But it drives fans crazy. I wish fans had a choice. If a network has multiple channels, it would be nice to be able to offer the viewer the option of staying with the coverage – or switching to another channel – no matter what part of the country you are in. It is frustrating to join your game already in progress – or have the end of your game cut off.

Here’s to a new season. I think fans love this time of year because no matter which team you love – right now – anything is possible. Everybody has the same record. Let the games begin!

Brent Cannon
NBC Bay Area Anchor

HD Upgrade

August 13, 2008

Scott McGrew

You would think the “tech guy” would have all the latest gadgets, especially when it comes to TV, but in fact I really don’t. Regular DVD player, no BluRay. No home theater, and until just a few days ago, just regular standard definition television.
We started airing parts of the morning show in high definition, however, and I know we’re coming close to doing the same with my other show, TechNow, so I figured it was time to upgrade.

I’ve actually owned an HD television for some time – the old one quit and I bought an ENORMOUS TV from a guy on Craigslist for $200. How do you get an enormous $20 HDTV? You buy a tube or “CRT” television. It’s not flat or plasma or LCD, it’s a regular TV with a tube – it must weigh 800 pounds. But it fits in my entertainment center and does a fine job.

I had not gotten around to hooking up an HD signal, and while it may seem strange to watch standard definition on an HDTV, actually many people do just that, though accidentally. A recent study says many TV buyers never hook their HDTV up to an HD signal. They figure if the TV’s HD, that’s all they need.

Anyway, while you can get a perfectly good signal right over the air (for free!) I just had the Dish guy come and upgrade our satellite box.

MythBusters looks great in high definition. But when I watched Brent and Laura and the rest in HD, I wasn’t all that startled by their appearance. It took me awhile to figure out – I see them in person every day, and now they look on TV like they do when I see them every morning in person.

Our suits look better, though. Instead of having a nice chalk stripe which shows up black/grey on TV, and a charcoal suit (black/grey) and a pinstripe (black/grey) the clothes actually pop.

I knicked my chin shaving that morning – when I get home, I’ll have to roll the TiVo back and see if you can see it.

Scott McGrew
NBC Bay Area Business & Tech Reporter

Chip’s Recovery

August 1, 2008

Laura Garcia CannonAnyone who knows me knows how much I love my dog. Chip is a big part of our lives. Happy, loving, just a little living stuffed animal. He recently had a life threatening accident that put him in a coma, oxygen tank and a list of medications for some time. We used to call him ‘little man,’ now it’s more like ‘miracle man.’ I never took a day with him for granted before (ok, sometimes I maybe complained about having to go out for walks even when I was tired), but now.. I can’t look at him without thinking, “miracle,” and how unbelievably blessed I am to still have him in our lives. If you have a pet, and don’t know where there is an emergency hospital close to your house, find out. Find out now before you need one. I knew, in fact I had the number programmed into our phone, and it made the difference in saving his life!

Thanks to the great great people at United Emergency Animal Clinic in San Jose: all the staff, especially Dr. Judy Owens who jumped into immediate action. Taking over from there was the incredible crew from South Bay Veterinary Specialists who all know who Chi” is now… he lived there for a while while recovering. Dr. Clare and Dr. Sergeeff are on my cell phone speed dial. I won’t name the rest of the staff for fear of leaving someone out, but even Chip took to a certain new girlfriend in there – you know who you are!!!!

His recovery has been amazing by the way. Day-by-day I’ve seen our little dog come back from being incredibly sick to… well, chipper! From being on strict bed rest to starting to walk, then play.. he’s now back to his old tricks – literally trying to give me a “high five” or “play dead” which really isn’t funny anymore, since he practically was. Ugh.

He has so incredibly improved in health he even made a star appearance that you’ll soon see in San Jose Magazine this fall. He’s more popular than us! He had a photo shoot. I guess we’re reduced to just being his “handlers” so to speak… which is ok with me… if he was a cat he definitely used one of his nine lives. Here is a behind the scenes picture of his photo shoot. You can see how much he means to both of us.

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC Bay Area Anchor