Records breaking all around us
Tomorrow's predicted high in New York's Central Park is 68 degrees. We broke a record here today, and will set a new record with each day forward, for the latest arrival of snow... ANY snow... this winter. We've yet to have a flake, and it's the latest-arriving winter in history. And for every New York story, there's another region reporting strange happenings -- from Denver (they're getting hit AGAIN) to New England (bare grass ski slopes in some places) to the American South, where twisters rolled through three states so far today, January 5th. Tonight we'll have a look at what might be going on here.
Also tonight, we'll look at what happened on day two of the Democrats in control in Washington, plus the Bush White House changes its management of the Iraq war and security situation. There are also changes being announced in how Homeland Security money is distributed.
And we have a disturbing story from New Orleans today. Put simply: There were more Americans killed there this week than in Iraq. And to end on an up note, as we try to around here each Friday night, Kevin Tibbles will have our "Making a Difference" report tonight, on an extraordinary woman in Chicago.
MAX ENCOUNTER OF THE FINEST KIND
One of the great things about working in 30 Rock is that you never know who you're going to see. One day it will be President Clinton walking through the lobby, and on another day it will be Sen. Clinton. When SNL is in season, it's not uncommon to share an elevator with the likes of Jessica Simpson or Alec Baldwin or Neil Young.
Having said that: A funny thing happened today while getting lunch. I saw Max Weinberg in the NBC commissary this afternoon. I've known Max as a fellow NBCer for years, but for some reason (perhaps owing to the long line to pay for our food) today I chose to come clean about my past. I finally told him just how much of my high school and early college years I devoted to following Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band all over the Jersey Shore. There was one bar in particular: Trade Winds in Sea Bright, N.J., eight miles from my house and right on the ocean. My "associates" and I (OK, two or three guys from my firehouse crammed into Lt. Mike Spratford's rusted, tragic and mostly-blue Ford Econoline van) would spend all of Friday and Saturday nights there, with the exception of an impromptu and harrowing side trip further south along the shore to Jimmy Byrne's Sea Girt Inn. We basically spent our paychecks in two nights. As an excellent customer over the years, I got to know the bouncer at Trade Winds, and while we enjoyed a tasty beverage or two, he would often tip me off to any rumors of an E Street Band appearance. More often than not, such events would happen after closing time. Bruce would come in unannounced, grab the microphone, plug his guitar into an amp and stand on a table. Clarence Clemons (a substantial man) would bring his substantial saxophone and stand on a substantial table alongside Bruce. And Max would use whatever drums the house band had (that was usually a group called "Fresh," whose set list I'm quite sure we could all still recite from memory, and who were best known for their rendition of "Hold Back The Night") and somehow those drums sounded better in Max's hands. It was always late, it was never enough, but it was heaven.
And there's a postscript to this story: It turns out my friend Max is indeed every bit as romantic about those old days as I am. He just called my office and, after some reflection, assured me that those were, in fact, great days. He confirmed my belief that the Jersey Shore from 1975-79 was a great place to grow up listening to great music. Max also remembers Fresh as a great house band, and he added that he met his wife at the Stone Pony while playing with another house band called Kahoots... a band I saw many times. While it's a small world, it's also mostly gone. Trade Winds long ago met the wrecking ball, and is now condominiums. Max has lost track of most of those local musicians, but he still keeps in touch with that Bruce guy. And he assured me that if he ever hears of a Jersey Shore blowout, just like old times, he'll let me know.
Thanks for not minding tonight's stroll down memory lane. I hope for a few of you out there who might hail from the same place, it means just as much.
Back to business: I see that CNN has switched to severe weather coverage mode due to more than one suspected tornado in the south this afternoon. Now it's off to the newsroom to start putting this all together. We hope you will join us for our Friday night broadcast to end the week. Have a great weekend, and we'll see you back here on Monday for what promises to be another eventful week.
Read more from Brian Williams 2007
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