Wow, what a blast that was!
Here's the basic story. A few weeks ago, there was in the "guest panelist" chair a woman named "Ellen James." First thing I thought of was "Wow, she's named Ellen James and yet she can speak." (If you don't get the joke, go read "The World According to Garp." You'll thank me later.)
Ms James was described on the show as a freelance writer who publishes a literary journal called "Salt." Here's the online version and here's the blog connected to it. (Geez, does EVERYONE have a blog these days?)
When I saw that, I thought to myself: Hey, I'm a freelance writer (I have a political column over at The Front) and I write for one of the bigger lefty blogs in town (this one), why can't I be on the show?
So I dropped the good folks at WQED an e-mail asking them if I could be on OffQ - and they said yes.
I was told that they'd send me the topics of Friday's show on Friday afternoon - so I took the afternoon off and headed down to the public library in Oakland. Had a great cheeseburger at a place called "Five Guys" and made it in to the Carnegie at about 2. Read everything I could until about 4 and waited. Then I went over my notes and waited some more.
The waiting was excruciating.
I arrived at QED at about 6:45 and got shuttled into the green room (and I THINK it was actually green - though I wouldn't trust my memory on that).
About 7:10 I met Chris Moore and he gave me some general pointers and then we went into the studio. I sat in my chair, got miked and thought to myself, "What am I doing here? This could turn into a whole mess of humiliation." But then I thought, "Yea, but this is really cool." And it was.
Fred Honsberger walked in about 7:15. Alan Cox a few minutes later. Handshakes all around. Alan was wearing a "Suicide Girls" t-shirt and (I think) some brand new Converse All-Stars. I'm pretty sure they were All Stars, I'm just not sure they're "brand" new.
Ruth Ann made it in at about 7:25.
Then the show began. After a few early jitters, I began to enjoy it big time. I made a few points, cracked a few jokes. There was one that can't really be heard on the air (everyone was talking), at the end of the story of the "pidgeon shooter," Ruth Ann said that if you get to them early enough, pidgeons are squab - and added something about how they should utilize all this locally raised produce at the nearby Culinary Institute. I said, "Yea it would be like killing two birds with one stone."
Get it? I thought it was funny, but I don't think anyone else heard it. Every one did giggle when Fred "thanked" me for listening to his radio program (I think he actually said "bless you.") and I said "You can give me a dollar later."
Everyone was very nice and I was honestly surprised how cordial everything was. With any luck, I'll be back on the show sometime soon.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming of incisive political commentary.