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Sunday night we had a 9 p.m. ET special on the crisis in Asia (search) — much like we did for the full hour last Thursday — not sure what tonight's show will bring. One thing is certain, I feel like our show is "back to normal." The holidays are over — so no more juggling with staff vacations and everyone doing extra work when working understaffed — and there is much to do on the show. The only question is how do we decide the content of the show when so much is going on in the world? That question will be answered throughout the day as we constantly work and re-work the show.
Incidentally, the day starts for me with a call from my senior producer at 9:15 a.m. ET. If I am feeling disciplined, I do the call from the treadmill (that is a BIG "if.") As luck would have it, my senior producer starts her day earlier ... she is part of a daily editorial call that lasts from 8:30 to 9 a.m. ET. She gets 15 minutes between calls to run for coffee ... or, at least that is what I would do if I had her job. We talk for about 15 minutes and then she sits down with the staff and makes assignments for the day. Of course, in our business you could spend six hours on an assignment only to have breaking news occur and you toss out everything you are doing and start anew.
I thought you might want to know what some of the familiar faces to you did on New Year's Eve. I was curious, so I used the "blog excuse" to ask some people. I asked a few to send me an e-mail to post in the blog about their New Years.
Also, please make sure if you read these e-mails, not to stop before you read No. 8.
E-mail No. 1 — from Brian Kilmeade. Incidentally, he has a great book out right now that is the New York Times Best Seller list ... get it and read it!
My New Years Eve was spent at my neighbor Mike Ragusa's house, because the food and drinks were free and I could bring my family. It was a real challenge staying up past midnight because my body is forever on that morning show schedule. As usual most of the questions from my friends were about YOU Greta. They all want Packer tickets and free legal advice and were hopin' I could open a few doors. Don't worry I steered them all to Judge Napolitano.
E-mail No. 2 — from Claudia Cowan. Her family knows Hugh Hefner and thus her evening:
Steve and I rang in the New Year at the Playboy Mansion. It was a lovely party — with some amazing sights. A dozen women had their black tie lingerie ... painted right on their bodies!
All the best, and happy 2005,
E-mail No. 3 — from Washington Post's Ceci Connolly, who you also know from many appearances on FOX:
Okay, I can't believe this is blog-worthy. But just in case ... I was home in the Philadelphia area with my parents. We went to a house party. The host were Judy and Roger Kent and they are big fans of FOX, especially Judy's mother Kay. Then I watched the new version of "The Manchurian Candidate."
See you soon!
E-mail No. 4 — from Dr. Michael Baden:
My wife Linda and I have traditionally celebrated New Year's Eve quietly at home. It is a night we look forward to being together alone. However, this year our celebrating was sobered by the television images we watched of the tsunami's rising toll of death and disease. Linda beat me at Scrabble — as usual — with a seven-letter word right at midnight.
We hope that 2005 is a better year for everyone — everywhere.
E-mail No. 5 — from my colleague James Rosen. From his e-mail, I suspect he was out all night:
Having just gotten married in June, my wife, Sara Durkin, and I looked forward to spending New Year's Eve at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, a gift certificate for which one of our wedding guests had given us as a wedding gift. And, since my mother's birthday is January 1, we always try to be with her and my Dad on New Year's Day. Thus providence took us to New York. We'd spent the Christmas holiday with Sara's folks in Clarks Summit, PA. The assignment gods smiled on me this year; I only had to spend Thanksgiving week in Crawford, Texas, having spent last New Year's there.
Anyway, we were enjoying a drink in the Four Seasons Hotel lobby lounge at around 5 p.m., seated next to a dapperly dressed gentleman who turned out to be none other than the Reverend Al Sharpton; I guess he feels he does some of his best work for his constituency, or congregation, or whomever, at the Four Seasons Hotel lobby lounge on East 57th Street.
Quite unexpectedly, a guardian angel friend of mine — well known to readers of this page and to viewers of FOX News, but someone who, for good reasons, cannot be named here — called and offered, from many miles away, to make arrangements for Sara and me to attend the festivities in Times Square, complete with VIP-style transportation in and out of the bedlam. Who among us would pass up such an offer?
After watching an hour of FOX News (my interview with Tom Wolfe, James pointed out, humbly) we hit the town for a cocktail with Sara's cousin, Kelly O’Donnell, at the Palace Hotel. There we made the acquaintance of Gene Washington, the former pro football player, now an executive with the NFL, and a lady friend of his who, after I introduced myself, asked if I was related to the James Rosen who is on Fox News. I asked Sara if this did not entitle me to the tiniest indulgence in the delusion that I am an actual celebrity, insofar as I had now been asked if I was related to myself; Sara punted to Gene.
Soon our escort arrived and we found ourselves plunged into the heart of the chaos at Broadway and 46th Street. We were led up a clear corridor that cut through the throngs of revelers, most of whom sported foolscaps and "2005" spectacles covered with glitter. At 11:38 or so, we met the police commissioner, Ray Kelly, his wife, Victoria, Mayor Bloomberg, his companion, Diana Taylor, and Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was the special guest of honor at the annual ball-dropping ceremony. The whole scene was surreal; a few hours earlier, my wife and I had no more ambitious plans than to consume two bottles of wine in our room and find an Adam Sandler flick on pay-per-view; now we stood at the worldwide epicenter of New Year's activity and I was introducing Sara and myself to Colin Powell. (We were surprised, if strangely reassured, to find we are taller than him, if only in physical stature.) I wished him well in his future endeavors and allowed myself the luxury of telling him I thought he had served his country superbly. He thanked me cordially, then bounded up the stairs of a press riser from which he was to tap the glowing ball that would make the other glowing ball drop from the sky.
At the stroke of midnight, standing on the street amidst the madding crowd, Sara and I embraced and kissed, as confetti rained from the sky and Times Square pulsed with the strains of Ol' Blue Eyes belting out "New York, New York." About five minutes later, a friend beckoned us up the stairs of the riser, and suddenly, we were posing for photographs with the mayor and Ms. Taylor, taken by the city's official photographer, ringed around the same glowing ball that Secretary Powell had touched to kick off the new year. A few minutes after that, our escort magically whisked us from the pandemonium, and we were safely ensconced back at the Four Seasons (sans Al Sharpton) by 12:30 a.m.
Come to think of it, I am not done shamelessly name-dropping. We met up with my folks and a friend, Scott Cohen (author of the amusing book, "Don't you Just Hate That: 738 Annoying Things") for New Year's Day brunch at the River Cafe in Brooklyn, which offers the world's best view of the (forever depleted) Manhattan skyline. We toasted my mom, who turned a spry 28 — hey, this is my frickin' mother we're talking about. Suddenly — as he does every New Year's Day at the River Cafe — Jerry Seinfeld appeared, casually dressed in sweater and jeans, accompanied by Paul Reiser, comedian Larry Miller (the sex-obsessed Dad in "10 Things I Hate About You") and another gentleman we didn't recognize. These guys have been going to the River Cafe on New Year's Day since the late Seventies or something. No one hassled them, and it was interesting to see Seinfeld and Reiser convulsed in cackling laughter; these, I thought, are the guys who make Seinfeld laugh.
As if that wasn't enough comedic talent in the room, then Mike Myers and his wife walked in, hugged Seinfeld and company, and sat two tables away. Seinfeld and Mike Myers ... it wasn't quite Woodstock ... more like ... Laughingstock.
On the drive back from my parents' place in Staten Island to Washington, D.C., we got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic several times and stopped off at the Maryland House to dine at Roy Rogers.
E-mail No. 6
As I was reading through your e-mails I read the one from Linda Morris about the orphaned children from this disaster. We would love to help a couple of older children if there are any.
We just buried our last child on June 29th. We are in our late fifties and our first son was killed at a convenience store and our only other son died of a heart attack. We are loving people, settled with a large home and hearts as big as Texas. Do you think it would be possible to get some older children? We would take little ones too, but perhaps we are too old to be considered.
If you get any information on this, please include us in your contacts. I know you are swamped by all kinds of requests and so if I don't hear anything, I will understand. We are serious about this and our lives would have so much more meaning.
Thank you, Greta and your team for your fine show.
Donna and Dan Stepp
ANSWER: At this point we have heard nothing about the children and what will become of those without families. However, it sure is worth noting that many — like Donna and Dan — would make a wonderful family. It is always wonderful to see people like Donna and Dan offering to open their family to others ... and, I suspect they do have hearts as big as Texas...
E-mail No. 7
We have literally thousands of children here in America desperate for a home-thousands. And cost is not a factor as there are no costs.
I hope that Americans looking to adopt children of another race will remember we have a need with few parents willing to take on the blessings and burdens of adopting these children already here in America. I think it is wonderful to want to help, and I know many parents choose Europe for a white child, but once you are willing to adopt a child from the Sudan or wherever, race is not an issue.
And once race is not an issue we have thousands of children here looking for a home.
ANSWER: I have so many friends who have adopted and each claims the "red tape" is enormous. I know we must be careful where children are placed — they can't defend themselves and some are to young to speak — but there must be a way to accomplish adoption with greater ease and speed.
E-mail No. 8
I need your help! My husband, SSG. John Hammond, who is serving as a reservist was recently sent to Balad, near Baghdad for a non-combat related injury. He sent this e-mail to me (please forgive his typing):
"Would you do me a favor? There is a place here at Balad that takes care of wounded and injured soldiers before they fly to Germany. This place is absolutely wonderful and provide the best care I have seen. I am sure you heard about the rocket at Mosul. Most of those soldiers will come thru here on their way. Anyway many of them arrive with nothing but hospital garb. This place gets donations to provide the soldiers with comfort items like sweats, food, snacks etc. Please tell everyone that if they want to send me a package don't. Please send it to:
NCOIC/Commander 332 AEW/CASF APO AE 09315-9997
This is where the real heroes need help. They can use everything here but mostly clothing items and small backpacks to be used as carry ons for the flight to Germany. Socks, underwear t-shirts, coffee mugs, sweats, shoes etc. One guy here with me was hit by a car bomb. He is in great shape, but lost his uniform and everything and has nothing but a pair of sweats to wear to Germany. They have been so wonderful to me here that I would like to help any way I can."
Anyway please pass that message along for me. After collecting Christmas decorations for his unit and shoes for the children of Taji, Iraq, I am out of financial resources for postage, etc. Could you please pass the word to any person or organization that would like to help out? Love the show!
Roby (Robby, since you like pronunciation hints) Hammond
E-mail No. 9
My husband is convinced that (Judge) Jeanine Pirro appeared in the movie, "The Day After Tomorrow". I said, "Uh, honey, I don't think Ms. Pirro was in the movie". But he's determined and said, "I'll bet you $100 she was in the movie." (OK ... well, I could use an extra $100.) But of course, your word will rule. Hope you can help "settle the bet".
Go Greta! We really enjoy your show. Appreciate your time.
E-mail No. 10
Pardon me for being cynical, but the death reports skyrocketed when they realized that there was money to be had. All of a sudden Indonesia had quite a few thousand more victims. I'm not saying this wasn't a terrible thing ... it was. And we should help out. But $350 million in aid from us, when we are fighting a war that is not ours, and hurricane victims in Florida still are homeless and need help! We spend billions all over the place, but Social Security is going broke, the national debt is so high, that no one can comprehend it, and we have the needy among us. Maybe we should look to our own needs a little more. This aid thing seems to be a game of one upmanship. And by the way, just for the record, I voted Republican so I don't feel my statements are necessarily political ... just practical.
One final note from me: So many of you now write "SUE-NAMI" in your e-mails to tease me that I no longer see it as a mistake. It now seems like the correct spelling ... ugh. I realized looking at e-mails last night that I did not "notice" the "SUE-NAMI" spelling anymore — that is dangerous ... but funny.
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