Let the Balls Begin

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Dear Viewers,

Thursday night we are live for three hours — yes, three hours — from inside the Democracy Ball.

President Bush (search) will attend the ball, but so will many of his cheering and celebrating supporters. Because it will be loud — bands and lots of people — I will wear a special earpiece. Actually, I will wear two — one that "works" and the other which just drowns out noise. When you wear it, you feel like you are wearing a Walkman and there is a temptation to yell. The one that "works" will give me the audio from the guest sitting next to me so that I can hear my guest talk over the noise of the celebration. The one that "works" also allows my producer to talk to me and tell me who the next guest is, how much time left in the segment, etc. But the problem is this: When my producer talks to me, the audio from my guest is cut off — only one person can be "fed" into my ear at one time. There is a high risk I will "miss" answers — cross your fingers. Producers know to keep it short… very short. For instance, instead of saying "two minutes," I have the producer say "two." I know he does not mean "two days," or "two weeks" —- although, under some conditions it can sometimes feel like that!

The show will be a "rock-n-roll" one — meaning that we can't plan it. We don't know what will happen, who will be there, what guests will show up when, etc. So, we roll with the punches. It is "breaking news" throughout the three hours — but just not bad news which most breaking news is. This will be a party as it is every four years with lots of unexpected things — so I hope you will watch.

We decided to scope out the ballroom since we will be airing from the midst of it. I wanted to see the set and see where I would be doing our three hours so that I don't get lost and that I am properly oriented to the task ahead of me. Our staff, joined by a two producers from "Hannity & Colmes" took our own "tour" Wednesday — we did it before the Secret Service did their late night sweep. I have posted some pics from the "tour." Click the photo box above to see my photo essays from the inaugural ball preparations.

I also took my handycam and just "shot" video. Click the video box above to watch that video. The video is pretty unprofessional and very much home video — but I figure you want to see what I see. One of my colleagues, Joel Kaufman, said he would try and "fix" the video and make it look better than what I shot. I have not seen it and will see it when you do —- when it is posted. He did call me when he first saw it and teased me about my abilities — or lack thereof is a better description of the call.

Finally, one e-mail today. In yesterday's e-mail I revealed that I had spilled coffee on my blouse yesterday before the show and got all sorts of suggestions like: have an extra blouse in the office. The e-mail below was a particularly creative one and I have to post it. It will be particularly interesting to those of you who hate "the crawl" and the "lower third" banners. (Kevin also makes reference to Senator Lott and me both wearing pedometers to measure our daily steps.)

E-mail No. 1

Greta, with the banner and crawl at the bottom of the screen, no one would even notice coffee stains.
As for walking 10,000 steps a day, you could have requested an assistant or intern to put in a few hundred and make a run to Target for a new shirt!
I hope you now have an emergency blouse hanging up somewhere in the office?!

ANSWER: Kevin, you have given me a great idea. If I get some big bruise on my chin, please expect the crawl to be a huge font taking up the bottom half of the screen.


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