Monday, February 26, 2007

The Paula Zahn Story

Ok, a number of you have asked what the experience was like. So here it is. I will preface by saying that for you to get an honest account I have to drop names, for which I apologize. I promise you, my son isn't impressed, and that's all that matters to me.

First of all, as many loyal readers know, I have done more than my fair share of television. Most major channels have featured my growling visage at one time or another. But this was different, as I usually sit in a dingy DC studio alone, with an earpiece in, talking to a metal object staring at me while hearing voices from afar.

So, similar to your basic night at Rush's place after a few grams of the white powder and the red pills (please attack me again Rush, please!).

In this case I was booked and offered a flight to New York, the town of my birth and upbringing, and was placed in the hotel where my grandparents were married. Which is now owned by The United Arab Emirates. No better metaphor for how times have changed.

I got on my plane on Thursday afternoon, only to bump into Congressman Anthony Weiner with my luggage. In my defense, he was blocking the aisle. And he did apologize. Various other familiar faces were sprinkled throughout the plane, I am sure some were other loyal representatives of ours.

I got to the hotel, and it is nicer than anything I could ever come close to affording. On Central Park South. Bathroom as big as my bedroom here (no, I am not exaggerating). So I settled in to watch some tv, and on New York's local news station, New York 1, there was Representative Weiner discussing a potential run for Mayor of New York City in three years. Some day I might be able to say I smacked the mayor with my luggage.

I read up on the CNN topic, hip-hop and mysoginy, which if you'll look at my photo on this blog, I am obviously the most qualified to discuss. Hey, I was a Run D.M.C fan.

I was taken over to the studio by a car, not bad service I must say, and sat in the lobby waiting to be ushered into the Green Room. An old grad school friend from Columbia passed by, who is a producer on Lou Dobbs' show, which was cool. We caught up. Then Lou himself walked by. I kept my views on immigration to myself (the man is right on when it comes to outsourcing however).

The Green Room had really good cookies. Damn they were good. And suddenly, I was on the show. I was a bit nervous, but not very. They were all really nice people, especially Paula herself. She was the nicest of any host I've had the pleasure of meeting.

All I had to do was make sure to look at the right camera when they introduced me, and from there, it was game on. I made my arguments, including insulting Rush Limbaugh for his blatant sexism. Rush seems a bit peeved at me for that (although he hasn't heard of me). The show ended.

I grabbed more cookies. Got a ride to a bar on the West Side of Manhattan (Rudy's, on 9th Ave between 44th and 45th, for those of you in the know), where I joined the crew of Drinking Liberally. Lots and lots of fun. One of the founders, Justin Krebs, was there (great guy). My pals Matt Browner-Hamlin of numerous blogs and the fantastic Elana Levin, the online guru behind the excellent Drum Major Institute, were there.

I met Phillip Anderson of The Albany Project, a great blog dedicated to eliminating the GOP in New York (taking their 6 House seats, all of which are vulnerable, and removing their control of the state senate by a few seats being the main goals). A goal I wholeheardtedly support. So go over and say hi to these guys. Oh, last but not least, I met Mark Steckel, creator of the Spotlight Project, which you can learn about by clicking on Spotlight icon below this post (very cool guy). And there were many others, who I hope I don't offend, as I can't name everyone (beer will do that to you).

I woke up in my plush hotel the next morning, and on the way out of the elevator, passed the person who was the 3rd runner up to perhaps being our incumbent president right now, former Senator Bill Bradley (ahhh, don't make me think about it).

And that folks, is my fun-filled trip. Hope I didn't leave anything out. And if I did, it's Rush Limbaugh's fault.


At 6:28 PM, Blogger Paddy said...

Sigh, you're going to have to make a list of possible people that you run into that you have to tell, "There is this CRAHZY lady in Indiana who lurves you!".

We're starting with GG and now you gotta add Rep Weiner.
He rocks.

At 6:51 PM, Blogger Fernando said...

Ooooh Mr. Big stuff. That's pretty fancy for some dude who majors in history.

I'm proud of you Cliff.

This better not turn out to be some payoff for discretion over events in some dark government building when the lights went out...

At 6:58 PM, Blogger Cliff Schecter said...

It was called Fernando's Hideway, If I'm not mistaken...

At 7:35 PM, Blogger Mary Ellen said...

So, ya ate the cookies in the green room, eh? You didn't drink the kool-aide did you? ;-)

You did a great job and I was impressed about how much you knew about hip-hop, you funky white boy!

Do you think they'll ask you back?

At 9:05 PM, Blogger Cliff Schecter said...

Thanks Mary Ellen!

They actually already have asked me back. So assuming they don't uninvite me (as Fox has done on occasion) I will be going back on.

Just have to see when it works for me again, because it involves leaving DC for NY, so I want to make sure wife and child can make it (this time they were out of town visiting the grandparents).

And thanks so much for the compliment. I did do some cultural history as part of my PhD program, so even though I am more of a Led Zeppelin kind of guy, I actually do know something about hip-hop, particularly its cultural/historical/political relevance.

At 9:37 PM, Blogger GottaLaff said...

Way to go, CliffDog!

Next time they put you on air, ask 'em to shoot you from the front. Not that I didn't love seeing a rear-view of your now-pulled-up-trousers...

You did great. And even if you didn't, it was SO worth it for the hotel, the cookies, and the possibility of wallet theft. Okay, scratch that last one.

At 10:48 PM, Blogger Kerri said...

Kinda wondering what kind of cookies they were. I think I'm just hungry right now.
Otherwise, good post. I've always thought of Paula Zahn as an airhead. Now I will be forced to re-evaluate.

At 2:27 AM, Blogger Jambon said...

I am so jealous of Cliff getting to meet the Zahnanator. I've had a crush on her since her days at CBS with Harry Smith on the sorry ass CBS morning show. She was the only thing that made that program bearable!

If it makes you feel any better Cliff, the hotel you stated at might be owned by the UAE, but it is a union hotel. UNITE-HERE has a very handy Union Hotel Guide to help us liberals travel in good conscience :)

At 6:36 PM, Blogger Steve said...

HAHAHA! Rudy's! The disgusting dive with the enormous pig outside! Somewhere in the ether is a picture of me with that very pig in a compromising position. Needless to say, I don't remember anything.


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