December 29th, 2008
06:05 PM ET

The preceding holiday was brought to you by Ibuprofen

Jack Gray
AC360 Associate Producer

Well, another Christmas has come and gone. So it’s time to put away the empty pitcher of Mimosa and that Charles in Charge DVD set you didn’t ask for and get back to work.

President-elect Obama is reportedly having a tough time adjusting to the insular nature of the presidential “bubble.” Indeed, once he's inaugurated it's only going to get worse. He'll be cut off completely from his old routine and isolated in his limousine, jumbo jet, helicopter and mansion.  Brutal.

Caroline Kennedy has yet to secure her appointment to the United States Senate. Which is surprising. I thought she was a lock once she put that “Schenectady is for Lovers” bumper sticker on her Volvo.

Vice President-elect Joe Biden has settled on a name for his new German Shepherd puppy. The Bidens are going to call the dog “Champ.” I think you’ll agree that it’s a great name for a dog. It rolls right off the tongue: “Come here Champ,” “roll over Champ,” “let go of my hair plugs Champ.”

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says people will soon “start to thank [President Bush] for what he’s done.” That, or throw more shoes at him.

The big concern this holiday season was, of course, the economy. People did seem to spend less, though I’m pleased to report that these dire financial times have not crushed the indomitable American work ethic. I was at a Friendly’s restaurant in Connecticut the other day when my friend Mark asked our waitress, “so, what’s good?” “I don’t know,” she responded, “I don’t eat here – the food here grosses me out.” Clearly she’s wasting her time in food service. With those consumer confidence-building skills she should be working at General Motors.

I was also impressed with the guy at the movie theater concession stand.

Me: “Hi, I’d like a small lemonade.”
Him: “OK, so that’s one jumbo Coke Zero?”


I trust that you had a good holiday. Hopefully this was not the year that your cousin – the one who always hangs out in your garage with a box of wine – finally cracked the combination to your wall safe.

I don’t know how you do things in your family but in my family, in addition to the traditional gift giving, we do something called a Yankee Swap. It’s basically the WASP version of Chinese Water Torture masquerading as some sort of light-hearted trading of gifts costing less than five dollars. I’m unsure if this activity even exists outside of New England. All I know for certain is that the “gift” I invariably wind up with is a Ziploc bag full of expired Advil.

Finally, New Year's Eve is fast approaching. As you know, Anderson and the hilarious Kathy Griffin will be hosting our CNN extravaganza from Times Square. I'll be one of the people behind-the-scenes on the platform with them. I'm actually looking forward to it, despite my aversion to events where throngs of people are penned in like cattle. So don't forget to tune in and join us Wednesday night at 11pm Eastern Time.

And remember, I don't want to hear the names Dick Clark or Ryan Seacrest for the rest of 2008.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Jack Gray • New Year's Eve 2008
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Alex (Aliso Viejo)

    Interesting Christmas you all guys had. I think I spent most of my Christmas in my pink pajamas and THAT is already bliss. Add some drool, milk and hugs from my godson and I thought it was just perfect. As for the NYE, I never watched it. However, I am looking forward for a painless initiation. Someone can make me laugh surely.... I hope.

    December 30, 2008 at 1:58 am |
  2. Don, WA

    I go to the same diner and get the same waitress every tuesday, and I always ask "what's good?" And she always says – "nothing". Should I give up on her Jack?

    December 30, 2008 at 12:05 am |
  3. Chelsea from Ft. Lauderdale, FL

    All this Kathy hate makes me a bit sad, I think she's hilarious. Anderson could have chemistry with a paper bag, so I'm not too worried about them working together. Welcome back Jack! Can't wait for NYE even if it really is just an excuse for everyone to get drunk.

    December 29, 2008 at 7:46 pm |
  4. Megan Dresslar- Shoreline, Wa

    Hellooo Jack!!!
    Welcome back!!!! I am glad you have fun time with your family and friends last week for Christmas day! I agree with you........ I am enjoy many movies, it was so great watch movies. I am so excitng to watch Anderson and Kathy will have fun Happy New Year Eve party! I am so ready for that! I am so huge fan of Kathy Griffin, she made me laugh.... she have a sense of humor, I love her pick on Anderson
    (she is just teasing him) so good! I will watch them on Wednesday night on (HNYE) on CNN TV! I hope that you share with the viewers and including me! I can't wait new year 2009!!!!! Whooohoooo!!!! LOL! Jack,
    You made me smile my face!! 🙂 Happy New Year to all of you, bloggers, CNN, Anderson, Erica, Kathy and you!
    See you later. 🙂

    December 29, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  5. EJ (USA)

    Hi Jack,

    When you said goodbye for the holiday week it almost seemed like you were leaving forever. Or maybe that's how the holidays make me feel. I was so surprised to see you blogging again and then I realized the holidays don't last forever.

    December 29, 2008 at 7:15 pm |
  6. EJ (USA)

    Don’t love Kathy G. I don’t think she’s funny at all. She just makes me uncomfortable, and who needs that on New Years’ Eve?

    Kathy cracks me up. I LOVE how she makes Anderson uncomfortable. She's hilarious. Her job is to make everybody uncomfortable and she does a great job.

    December 29, 2008 at 7:13 pm |
  7. Linda from Boulder

    Love Anderson;
    Don't love Kathy G. I don't think she's funny at all. She just makes me uncomfortable, and who needs that on New Years' Eve?

    But Anderson must enjoy her company, or she wouldn't be there, I guess. But if viewers is what they want - consider someone else for next year.

    Can we make other suggestions? How about Kelli Rippa? She and Anderson have such nice chemistry on her show. Or if you need a comedienne, bring Ellen deGenerous on.

    December 29, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  8. Helen Bullen, Reading, UK

    Welcome back Mr G! I trust you and Sammy had a good holiday, did Amy turn up with that wig? We've just about finished our turkey, I was worried we'd still be eating it come Easter. By the way, I checked your picture out over Xmas and I have to say, you are a real cutie! If you ever fancy a more mature woman.. We have the cheap present thing over here in England, usually confined to the office as Secret Santa. Tradition dictates that the gift should be either tacky or risqué. Last film I saw was Madagascar 2, I kidnapped my 10 year old god-daughter and her 8 year old brother and took them, I think a fair few jokes went over their heads! Debating on going to see Australia, mainly so I can drool over Hugh Jackman. Found out today that CNN are showing Cooperman and Kathy over here on NYE, hurrah! Well folks, it's nearly Tuesday, better get to bed! Just time to wish Anderson, Erica, David G, Jack, Sammy and all you lovely bloggers a very Happy New Year, let's hope that 2009 brings you all you wish for x x x x

    December 29, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  9. Michelle D. Fonthill,Ont

    Hi Jack
    Another Christmas gone by ! It was over so fast ! I hope everyone and Jack had a great holiday . I think Anderson and Kathy do a great job hosting the New year's party I know Kathy can be pushing the envolope but it's all in good fun although i hope she doesn't get AC fired by midnight ! i agree it's time for a good laugh ! AC and Kathy !

    Have a great night !
    Michelle D.

    December 29, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  10. Fred - Santa Fe, NM

    I'll be watching Anderson on New Year's eve, but I too which you would find someone better than Kathy Griffin. She is really awful. I feel sorry for Anderson - it must be one long hour for him.

    December 29, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  11. Bonnie

    Wow–can't believe all the "I hate Kathy people". I love her!! Glad she's coming back this year. I'll be watching.

    As for movies–I did see Slumdog Millionaire–loved it. Don't think I can go see Marley & Me (not a fan of the tear jerker movie–especially when it involves animals). I was glad tho that Jen's movie beat Brad's!!

    December 29, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  12. Pamina

    Hi Jack-
    Glad to hear you had a nice holiday. Your tradition of "Yankee Swap" sounds like my grandmother's tradition of re-gifting. Except it wasn't $5 gifts, it was more like college tuition. Good times, good times.
    I am totally in to your live blogging for the Oscars. I was serious about you helping Anderson ring in the New Year with Kathy too. I think you'd be great!
    Have a good night!

    December 29, 2008 at 6:02 pm |
  13. Heather,ca

    Thank goodness for Jack!

    Yes that $5 bucks or less or $10 bucks or less thing is all over the place. I think some families use it to save money and only spend money on real things for those in their family like if they are married and have children. If you have many relatives with a spouse and kids you know that is big bucks. So this way its I hope you like that key chain. Oh it was the gift with purchase when I got the cologne Im wearing. I actually know someone who got a adress book from a relative only to find it had pages filled out and a crossword puzzle book with some puzzles done. No I just love spiced decorative oils for my kitchen and candels that smell bad. Of course it could be worse I was thinking about getting something and well I just forgot. I guess that is the thought part of its the thought that counts.

    I really do hope and wish Caroline Kennedy would just give up on this Senate thing already. Is she really prepared to go on Facebook and Myspace and blog. I dont think so.

    I cant wait for Kathy Griffin and New Years eve! I cant tell you how much I need a good laugh.

    December 29, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  14. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    The Bidens are going to call the dog "Champ." I think you’ll agree that it’s a great name for a dog. It rolls right off the tongue: "Come here Champ," "roll over Champ," "let go of my hair plugs Champ."

    Jack, LOL! I do agree with you, Champ is the perfect name. Looks like the Bidens want to get a 2nd. puppy, a lab, so the probability of the hair plugs getting chewed has doubled. The saga continues....

    Let's just hope that as you age, your hairline doesn't recede....unless you have Blago's hair genes, I got a feeling that all this talk about hair plugs will one day come back and haunt you.... 😯

    All of this movie talk has got me thinking, maybe I’ll ask the powers-that-be if I can do a live blog during the Golden Globes and/or Academy Awards. Who’s in?

    Love the idea of LIVE blogging! Count me in!

    And remember, I don’t want to hear the names Dick Clark or Ryan Seacrest for the rest of 2008.

    Can I mention Carson Daly then? Not a big Kathy Griffin fan, sorry!

    December 29, 2008 at 5:54 pm |
  15. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    Jack is back after the holidays! Yay! It sounds as though you had a pleasant holiday season!

    Now let me preface this comment by saying that I am by no means President Bush's biggest supporter...or one at all. But I do think we are a little quick to put all the blame on him. The President can't do it all himself...yes he certainly contributed to the problem but so did many others...wow I can't believe I just defended him!

    I'm so excited to see Frost/Nixon...I've been waiting for that movie to come out since I saw the preview for it when I saw 'W'.

    I think my New Year's plans involve the usual ordering Chinese food, cheesecake and watching Anderson and Kathy on CNN! Happy New Year!

    December 29, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  16. Brandi - bottom of the boot

    hmmm...i must say i love kathy g. not so sure why so many dont. lol

    if i could handle acknowledging new years eve, i would definitely choose her and anderson to watch, im sure they would be quite entertaining.

    oh, and yes to the live blogging. 🙂

    December 29, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  17. Linda

    OK, I never add to the blog posts – but since I see some people are in strong agreement with me, I guess it's my turn.

    I just can't give Kathy G any of my time especially on New Years Eve. We'll be watching Ryan. Sorry.

    See ya at your regular time!!

    December 29, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  18. Brandi - bottom of the boot

    Hello Jack! I went to the movies too, but for some reason, cant remember the name of it, lol, it was good, just cant get those worn out brain cells to recall it at the moment. perhaps a liitle too much partaking over the weekend to drown out those holiday memories. 😛

    btw, im still saying bah humbug! is there a bah new years?????

    December 29, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  19. Linda from Boulder

    I'd love to read your play-by-plays during the Oscars. Count me in. I'll bring popcorn.

    December 29, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  20. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    Hello Jack!
    Good-bye 2008! Don't let the shoe hit you in the back. What a year, huh?
    Why I never, and I hope never again!
    I was hoping to wake up Christmas morning to find peace on earth. I suppose that is not possible living in hell. I wish I knew which words to put together to bring peace on earth. That would be a miracle and yet call me an idealist, i believe we can do much, much better.
    Yankee swap eh? Down south we call it the ole Dixie switcheroo. If you are lucky, you might get a recycled refrigerator to put on your front porch. Very convenient!
    I must admit you have a lot of discipline for a 28 year old. Most people your age would be out in the crowd in NYE screaming and vomiting.
    Anderson and kathy should be a hoot! You really should make a cameo appearance if at all possible!
    I don't know what I am doing but my goal is to stay out of jail. I've never been in jail, but I hear Bubba the jailer is enough keep ya sober.
    You and Sammy don't need to go see marley ane Me. I went and squalled like a colicy baby. How I embarrassed myself as I rolled in the aisle with my box of tissues. I could relate.
    Ok~ Unhappy old year, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    December 29, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  21. Presley

    *fans self that Jack responded*

    Wow, you see a lot of movies. I wait and rent usually.
    And yes, Frank Langella is the level of actor all should aspire to be.
    My first time seeing him ever was in the movie version of "Dracula", he did it on Broadway I believe, first.
    AND YES to live BLOGGING!!!
    But please do the Red Carpet coverage as well...that's always good times, especially if Gary Busey shows up, out of no where, randomly, unexpectedly.

    Thanks for responding!

    December 29, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  22. Renee

    Thanks Jack for the movie reviews! I'll second Slumdog Millionaire! What a great film. Glad you saw Marley and Me. No dry eyes in Florida either.

    Now I just had a thought about Sammy and Me, the drinking dog that heads to the White House. She tramples along with her Obama sisters getting secret access to places in Washington. Then she runs to Camp David to get away from it all and starts her drinking. The folks at Camp David are just happy to have someone to start drinking with again! Now, is there anyone you know with some loose change to get this film produced?

    December 29, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  23. Dulcie

    Gaaa! So YOU were the people who thought up this horrible, horrible game. Here out west we call it White Elephant. I've had to do it for office party after office party and yeah, I'm lucky to end up with the out-of-date Advil. See, I can't bear to 'steal' a nice gift from someone else. It just feels mean.

    I'm looking forward to watching Anderson & Kathy. I'll just curl up on my couch with a nice box of wine, lol

    December 29, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  24. anne,newfoundland,canada


    I hope you had a Happy Holiday,and that Sammy is now sobered up a little from all the festivites.

    I am an outsider here,but WHAT exactly will people be thanking Mr.Bush for??

    -an economy in the tank
    -2 wars
    -forclosures,bank troubles,unemployment....I could go on.

    THAT is really something to be thankful for,no doubt about it!
    What has SHE been drinking?

    As for that shoe-throw seen around the world,seems as if he is quite used to ducking to avoid,hey?

    Would like to see you on the NYE show,but doubt I will be seeing it this year.
    I have always enjoyed Anderson hosting each year,BUT,I am NOT putting up with Kathy Griffin and her "so called" attempted humor once again.

    Sorry,but he is quite capable of doing the show himself,and if the choice for someone to appear with him changes NEXT year,I will return,until then,sorry Anderson.....

    December 29, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  25. Cindy

    I also went to the movies over the holidays...twice in fact. We saw Marley & Me and I have to say that it was too funny! I love Owen Wilson! He is just too funny! Then we took the kids to see Madagascar Escape 2 Africa...it was actually pretty funny for a kids movie. But it did have some adult innuendos that kids wouldn't get....well I hope not. LOL But all in all I had a great time both days. Hope that you did too.


    December 29, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  26. Stacy

    All of this movie talk has got me thinking, maybe I’ll ask the powers-that-be if I can do a live blog during the Golden Globes and/or Academy Awards. Who’s in?

    Oh my God, yes! I already do that with other people, but I can multi-task for you, Jack. Bring your snark! (I actually don't even know when the Oscars are. The last movie I saw in the theater was the Dark Knight.)

    December 29, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  27. Jack Gray

    @ Presley - OK, here are the movies I've recently seen:
    Frost/Nixon - outstanding, Frank Langella is one of America's most underrated actors
    Milk - very powerful, Sean Penn delivers an Oscar level performance
    Slumdog Millionaire - fantastic, though in danger of becoming overhyped
    The Wrestler - very intense and sad. A tour de force by Mickey Rourke. Never thought I'd write that.
    Revolutionary Road - incredible. If I had any money to bet on Best Picture this where I'd put it.
    The Reader - another great performance by Kate Winslet (she's in Revolutionary Road as well) and a compelling story.
    And finally, yes, I saw Marley & Me. No Oscars for this one but it's a sweet film and there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
    All of this movie talk has got me thinking, maybe I'll ask the powers-that-be if I can do a live blog during the Golden Globes and/or Academy Awards. Who's in?

    December 29, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  28. Lee

    Hey, Jack, hope you had a good Christmas? I am sorry I will not be watching the NYE program so I won't catch you if you happen to accidentally walk in front of the camera.

    I agree with Cindy, I won't watch Kathy Griffin on NYE for the same reasons.

    December 29, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  29. Tammy, Berwick. LA

    I've participated in the gift swap game several times down here at different parties, so it's not just a New England thing. The gifts were actually things we wanted, though. And people actually negotiated over who was going to get a few of them. It was funny to watch (and be part of).

    Mimosas-hmm-you've got me wanting brunch now. I'm on winter break, so it's about that time...

    Last year I was part of the cattle-penned throngs (until we made it to our restaurant/bar, had dinner, and listened to a great band). From what I could tell, where the media sits it's a pretty nice gig, though. And while I said I'd never do it again because I am not a fan of large crowds, part of me is wishing I was up there right now to be part of it all.

    December 29, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  30. Stacy

    Charles in Charge reference! Oh, you're taking me back to my teeny bopper days. I sooo wanted Charles in charge of me. Not that long ago I saw that Scott Baio had a show on VH1 called "Scott Baio is 45...and Single." My inner 13-year-old made me tune in and, well, it only took me one episode to figure out why he was still single. What a jerk. Old crushes die hard. And I'm sure you wanted to know all that. It's Irrelevant Monday, isn't it?

    December 29, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  31. Cindy

    Hope you had a great holiday too! And no...the Yankee swap just isn't done up north. We do it here in the south too but we add a little to it. Everyone buys a gift worth no more than $20, cause ya see we ain't cheap...LOL... we stick numbers on them then let the drawing begin! People draw a number and open the gift one by one, as the drawing goes on the person drawing can keep the gift that they got or take away someone else's for themselves and give them the crappy gift. But let me warn you..it can get quite nasty! But hey what family get together doesn't end up with some fussing!? Just keepin it real! LOL

    And I'd love to say I'd be joining ya for NYE but I gotta bow out on ya. Watching Kathy and Cooper is the equivalent of watching paint dry! SORRY! But RS has my viewership until Kathy is gone. I find her so called comedic talent repulsive.


    December 29, 2008 at 1:11 pm |
  32. JC- Los Angeles

    Rather than asking our fearless leaders, executives and politicians who have collectively run our nation into the ground to get back to work, perhaps you should ask them to use up all of their vacation time.

    December 29, 2008 at 1:03 pm |
  33. Presley

    You went to the movies and don't share which one?
    It was Battle Royale, Dog vs. Brangelina...And the Dog WON! And the Brangeloonies are not happy. Yea, I hurt my brain and read the blogs all about it today.
    Or did you see "Valkyrie"? Nazi's and Tommy Cruise, very holiday.
    (I'm surprised it did well.)

    I will hopefully be watching AC360 New Year's Eve, I watched CNN for everything else this year.

    Now, I must stalk your voice mail Jack and whisper Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest's name in my Sarah Palin voice randomly through out the next couple days....


    December 29, 2008 at 12:59 pm |
  34. Annie Kate

    The "Yankee Swap" huh? In my family we practice "re-gifting". We are always giving each other gag gifts at Christmas – that is half the fun. But some gags are better than others and deserve to be "re-gifted" for many years – we have one that is still going strong at 20 years. This year we got a new one though – it's called the world's largest remote – its about as big as Anderson's laptop. Its the geek/nerd answer to fruitcakes. We figure we can get a lot of years out of this one.

    Have a great day Jack! Glad you had a great holiday.

    December 29, 2008 at 12:43 pm |