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Here is how I know the Christmas holidays have begun:

1) I got sent a box of chocolates and ate them for dinner at my desk last night (obviously I have no discipline and have bad habits) and 2) people are fighting over Christmas displays — rather than figuring out a way to get along and respect the diverse views… go figure. Yes, all in the name of holiday cheer.

Spotted: Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas (with others) dining at the George Hotel restaurant in Washington, D.C., yesterday. The hotel is on Capitol Hill… about a six block walk (if they walked) from the U.S. Supreme Court. No, I did not go up to them and no, I did not check their meals to see if they were health conscious or not (although I did not see them eating a box of chocolates like some people I know). I guess the Supreme Court cafeteria can get old if you have a lifetime appointment.

As for the continuing story about Natalee Holloway, I wish the latest news about the Dutch TV show meant that we are closer to learning what happened to Natalee. I don't think it does, but this is one of those many times I would love to be wrong. I speak frequently to her mother and the pain is immeasurable. I often get e-mails from viewers critical of Beth and I don't understand. You can disagree with her, you can think she is on the wrong track, but would you do anything different? Would you not push as hard as you can to find out what happened to your child? I admire Beth and we have frank discussions about the investigation. As you might imagine, it is not easy for Beth when I might have a different view about the investigation. Of course we both — and likewise others — have the same goal: to get answers. She deserves answers. That is basic human decency. It is deplorable the way this investigation has been handled (bungled?) in Aruba. It is cruel that the authorities in Aruba don't talk to her and give her real information, whatever that may be. She can handle the truth... I don't buy the excuse that Dutch law does not permit them to talk to her. There are ways to talk to families without jeopardizing the investigation or violating the law. And yes, it is possible it will still get solved... all that is needed is loose lips.

I speak often to other parents with missing children and I wish our show could help them. I am not sure what we can do to help any of them. I do think some publicity for them is good — it puts pictures of the children out there in case someone has seen the child and, in some instances, helps encourage the police to put the matter on the front burner. Our police are overburdened in many communities and the 'squeaky wheel' has some effect... but, of course, that means at the expense of another investigation.

I get e-mails from viewers daily about stories we have covered and viewers want updates — so do we. We check daily on the stories hoping for updates and will bring them to you when we get them. If we don't talk about it on the show chances are there is nothing new in the investigation.

As for last night's show, we had a surprise: Carl Cameron was supposed to be in our last segment. At 10:48 (I looked up at the clock), my line producer in NYC said we did not have Carl. I asked during the break where he was and was told he was on an airplane on a runway. I think this is going to be Carl's life for the next two years. As for us, what did we do? We scrambled — FOX pays us to 11 p.m., not 10:48!

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1 — The e-mailer below is referring to E-mail No. 7 in yesterday's blog:

I agree with e-mailer No. 7 — ED Hill! She was my favorite and now she has been banished to a time slot that no one watches voluntarily. (It's what's on at the doctor's office and the license bureau, etc.) What a waste of talent. The morning show hasn't been the same without her.
There's something unbalanced now with the morning news.
Regards,
Tracey O'Day
OH

E-mail No. 2

Hi Greta,
I must have missed your blog about our personally celeb., I don't know if there was a deadline to reply but I'm going to send my favorite anyway. For an over sixty grandfather, I still enjoyed her show "Dayside with Linda Vester" and I think she's as cute as a button! I nicknamed her funny face for all the funny expressions she made and her entertaining presentation of the news. There was no stick, she seems to be a very real and down to earth person. Very charming. I hope she can return to the same one person show, if motherhood allows.
Thank You.
Eugene Owens
Dal.-Ft.Worth Metro, TX

P.S. If this is not posted, perhaps my e-mail can be forwarded to her to let her know that Fox fans miss her.

E-mail No. 3 — This next viewer forgot to put his/her name on the e-mail:

[As] usual you spineless gutless coward you put on Taco Joe. How stupid of a bimbo are you? I think you stupidity knows no bounds? If the Van der Sloots or Kalpoes want air time on American TV, let them call in. I'm sure the bozos you work for will pickup the charges. Otherwise they get no airtime

Finally, some articles that caught my attention — (the first one is my hometown, so of course I am curious)

• FBI helps investigate fatal beating of Appleton woman

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) — Police have asked the FBI for help in the case of a 56-year-old woman found beaten to death earlier this month.

Connie J. Boelter died of blunt force trauma to the head Nov. 15 in her home.

"This is a comprehensive, ongoing and involved investigation, which to date has accomplished more than 125 interviews," police said in a statement. "No avenue of investigation has or will be left unexplored."

Sgt. Pat DeWall said Monday that police will work with the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, which helps profile criminals.

DeWall said investigators think "there is someone who has information that can identify the person responsible for the taking of Connie Boelter's life."

DeWall said the person involved may have exhibited changes in behavior, including a change in eating and sleeping habits and nervousness or agitation.

Sgt. Randy Cook, a major crimes investigator for Appleton police, said working with the FBI will helps to focus the investigation.

"Once you are familiar with these investigating techniques and their value, it's not something you go to in desperation," Cook said. "Doing something like this comes from experience, and it helps sooner rather than later."

Boelter's family has asked anyone with information to assist police.

"Our mother was a wonderful, kind and giving person to so many people. She was always willing to help anyone with whatever their needs were," family members wrote in a statement.

"Now it is our turn (for) the people of this community to pull together and find justice for this mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and friend."

Information from: The Post-Crescent, www.postcrescent.com

• Suspect subdued with football helmet

PALM BAY, Fla. (AP) — A Palm Bay homeowner, who stopped an alleged burglar by beating him with a football helmet, is now considering owning a gun.

Kevin Williams spotted a man outside his window around early morning yesterday using a screwdriver to pry at the screen door.

Williams said — quote — "I had to protect my home. I wasn't sure what in the world he would do, rape my wife, steal something."

That's when he got his son's helmet from the garage, went outside and hit him several times. Police say Michael Elliot Brown was arrested on charges of occupied burglary attempt and possession of burglary tools.

Williams says he's lived in the same neighborhood for 17 years without any previous problems, but is now thinking about buying a gun for protection.

Information from: Florida Today, www.floridatoday.com

• Three arrested in Pasadena flagpole cart prank that injured woman

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Three people have been arrested in a prank that severely injured a Pasadena grocery store employee when a shopping cart hoisted up a flagpole fell on her.

Cesar Desolar, Jessica Alvarenga and Manuel Garcia were arrested today on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Sixty-two-year-old Shantie Maraj was injured last month when a shopping cart, hanging from a flagpole outside a Ralphs supermarket, fell onto her when she untied a rope to raise a flag. She suffered cervical spine fractures but had no signs of serious neurological injury after surgery.

The city of Pasadena and Ralphs each contributed to a ten-thousand-dollar reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. It's not clear if anyone will receive the money.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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