Thursday, April 6, 2006

the air america experience

since a few have asked, here are my top-8 shareable observations on my al franken experience (i'd stretch it to 10 but who really wants 20 percent more filler?).

1. the overall vibe of the franken shop is friendly, busy, can-do, and semi-idealistic. you know how you get a gut sense about whether an organization (or academic department) is on the rise or the decline? this place felt like a small shop on the way up. either that, or the staff is just enjoying the ride while it lasts.

2. about a half-dozen young people were working laptops when i arrived. some could have passed for sociology honors students. one helpfully found information on-the-fly just before we went on the air.

3. jerry garcia. lots of jerry garcia.

4. lunchtime is lunchtime, even for a show that airs from 11-2. almost everybody was eating at their computers over the noon hour. the host popped out between breaks to grab a few bites too.

5. they set mic levels by asking guests what they had for breakfast that morning. can you believe i was the first to say frosted mini-wheats? i'd imagine that lefties generally say that they breakfast on stuff like cruelty-free bagels and bulgar-wheat muffins. i'm glad i didn't respond with the tasteless obscure sports reference that popped into my head (mike tyson's children. [sorry]). frosted mini-wheats is much funnier.

6. as a proud but reputedly phlegmatic norwegian-american, i wasn't aware that i spoke with my hands. turns out that i do, which is quite distracting for radio interviewers. mr. franken likely thought i was trying to relay some sort of elaborate secret signal (e.g., wrap it up quick, dude -- the bulgar muffin is repeating on me!).

7. one shouldn't make inferences from quick conversations, but ... he's so not a jerk. al franken is a look-you-in-the-eye real handshake kind of guy. off-air, he's disarming and open. if he runs for office, he'll win the crucial "which of these jokers would i rather have a beer with?" competition that has bedeviled the Dems in recent national elections.

8. the appearance likely sold a few books. locked out jumped up in amazon's sales rankings from a place alongside building military dioramas, vol. viii to a more respectable position alongside such wide-readership classics as modern antenna design. now if we can sell a third copy...

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