Everybody wave goodbye to Katie Couric and Al Roker. I have to give them this: they got in and got out without attracting a very big crowd, and that crowd seemed to get smaller the more the rain made big hair fall. Thank heavens there were no mobile homes choking 5th and Madison this morning.
I was going to ignore this event, but I had no choice as the Today helicopter-camera-aloft hovered in place over the back southwest corner of my backyard for a couple of hours early this morning, in order to get shots of Bicentennial Mall along the axis that runs up through Capitol Hill (one of the best views of downtown in the city, I'll wager). So, I decided to make a run over to the East End to pick up some coffee at Bongo and some baked goods at Sweet 16th for the missus.
But I slowed down along the way to gauge the gathering throng on the Mall. To tell you the truth, I saw bigger crowds at the State Employees parking lots a couple of blocks away streaming to and fro and waiting for buses to get to work. Jeff St. was navigable. So, no harm done by the Chesney-bots.
When I got home to enjoy breakfast, I turned on Today to see how it all looked on TV. I had to suffer through a fairly undelectable softball pitching performance by Matt Lauer to conservative pundit Bill Kristol. Ole liberal-media-Matt referred to as Dems "obstructionist" for opposing a mere 10 of President Bush's 215 judicial nominees, while Kristol hit homeruns off Matt's lobs by referring to Republicans as anti-establishment reformers. (See the lopsided math? Republicans, who have been the establishment for years, are--ironically--anti-establishment reformers when they oppose something, but Dems are obstructionist if they dare question a single move that conservatives long to make). But I digress.
I have to say that the crowd on the Mall looked even smaller on the tube than in real life. It looked like only about three-quarters of the already small space that was cordoned off for the crowd was ocupado. Channel 4 kept spinning it like the rain wasn't stopping people from streaming and crowding in for the concert. More PR than news.
However, aside from the typically bad news format, Today wasn't all that bad. I'm glad they left us without doing too much damage to the neighborhood, aside from the helicopter noise pollution.
One casualty of the event was my 1982 Doobie Brothers Farewell Tour t-shirt. Once I saw Kenny Chesney wearing one on-stage, I designated mine for the old rags bin. I'm old enough to say that I saw that tour. Was Kenny even born before 1982?
04/28/2005 5:30 p.m. Update: According to the Tennessean, 2,500 people stood in the rain this morning for Today. I am not convinced that they could get 2,500 people into the small corral at the narrow north end of Bicentennial Mall. I strolled around the corral yesterday during a walk with my toddler, and it looked small to me. But you know, I've never claimed to be a crowd head counter, either. So, if somebody official said 2,500 people stood in the rain, then I guess 2,500 stood in the rain.