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Going on TV makes you a real person....

"I don't usually ask my guests this, but can I get your home phone number, you sexy thang?"

I was on TV Tuesday.

It wasn't something planned or anything. Somebody from Court TV called and asked if I would mind going on the air to talk about the Oklahoma City bombing. His name was "Cole." That really doesn't have anything to do with the story, but I just thought I'd mention it. I've never met anyone with the name "Cole" before, at least not as a first name. Just thought that was interesting.

Anyway, he asked me about a week ago, and I did a little bit of soul searching on the subject. I instant messaged Barbara, since she was there, covering the bombing at the same time I was, and has a lot of the same perspective. She was supportive, but did raise the question of whether my going on national TV to talk about it might cheapen the experience.

I thought about that, and wondered if I should back out, but then I remembered that I'd already told Cole I'd do it. Plus, I hoped I could bring some sort of perspective to the discussion, since I did live in Oklahoma for six years and wasn't some Washington D.C. pundit espousing on a subject I knew nothing about.

So I went on.

They set me up in a satellite studio, which is a fancy way of saying that I was to go to a tiny dark room in downtown Austin to sit in a chair and talk "Via Satellite" on the live TV program.

I didn't know it was going to be live. I might have changed my mind if I'd known that in advance.

So, I go to the downtown office on the fourth floor of a building next to the Texas capitol building. The room has a window facing it, so whenever you see people being interviewed on TV in front of the capitol, they're actually sitting in a comfortable air conditioned room on the fourth floor of a building on South Congress Street.

The guy, whose name was Jay or Ray or some variation of "Ray" and "Jay," was very casual about the whole thing, as if going on national TV was like getting your driver's license renewed. I was freaking out because my hair was doing this weird flipping thing, my eyes were red and tired from lack of sleep and my saliva had the consistency and thickness of Mrs. Butterworth from talking on the phone all day.

He showed me a small makeup tray and asked if I needed any makeup. I didn't know. "Well, I'm shooting digital, so it'll look good anyway."

I decided to put a little powder on because I didn't want to be all shiny and cause people's TV sets to burn out their picture tubes from the glare on my late-afternoon skin. I didn't realize until long after the broadcast that I was putting on very dark makeup that would end up making me look as if my forehead had been rubbed in some swamp mud.

The guy sat me in a chair and called somebody in New York or wherever Court TV is based and said, "Yeah, that's the guy." They were already broadcasting my image to the home office. Ray, or Jay, or JayRay or whatever his name was, laughed suddenly, but I couldn't hear the other end of the conversation. I'm sure they said something like, "That's him? Funny-looking little guy, ain't he?" JayRayRay just chuckled.

He plugged a pink thing into my ear that went about a foot into that orifice. But I could suddenly hear what was going on. "Omar, are you there?" a man asked.


"Uh... no. This is Court TV."

"Oh. Judas?"

"Hi, Omar. Can you hear us okay?"

"You want me to talk about Ebay?"

"No. Uh, Omar, this is our producer. Can you hear us?"

"Norm's gonna 'beer us?' "


It went like that for another five minutes until the show started. There was no monitor nearby, so I had to just trust that this was a real show going on. Catherine Crier was talking in my ear (not seductively, but I can pretend, can't I?), but I couldn't see the show. Then she was talking to me, and I had to squint against the very bright lights and talk directly into the camera.

She sounded friendly enough, but I was really just talking to a disembodied voice, as if I'd been kidnapped by an automated voice mail system. She asked me questions and I tried to answer them as best I could, but at some moments, I could feel myself rambling, trying to fill the silence.

At one point, she cut me off, saying that I was avoiding a question and I was suddenly filled with self-loathing because I hate it when people avoid questions from reporters. I thought I inadvertently did something like this:


Catherine Crier (Live!): Omar, many of us are wondering whether Timothy McVeigh should be allowed to speak to the media. What are your thoughts on this?

Omar: Well, of all the Jell-O flavors, I think watermelon is the most underrated and --

Catherine Crier (In Color!): But you're not really answering my question, Omar. Can you tell me if you think you as a reporter would want to interview McVeigh in prison?

Omar: Having never tried lime Jell-O outside of the context of a Jell-O shot, I would be unqualified to perform that specific taste test.

Catherine Crier (In Surround Sound! [where available]): Omar, would you please just answer the question?

Omar: Okay... (sigh.) I had Jell-O today.


But I was told later (and upon seeing the videotape, I agreed), that I answered her damn question and she just wanted me to say something provocative. So I told her I have nice nipples.

It was an odd and interesting experience. They told me I did well and that they would like to have me on again.

I'm not really an expert. But they did offer to link to Terribly Happy once I put up my bombing journals. See, I wrote these journals during the bombing (which I guess were the precursor to the Gina journals, but these were not fictional). They were written six years ago and I had posted them on the Web. They disappeared from the server when I left college, but I plan to post them again here. I'll let you know when that happens. It'll probably be next week.

When I got back to the office, one of my co-workers remarked that I got my 15 minutes.

The way I see it, that was only 10 minutes, tops.

You know what's funny? As soon as they were done with me, they went to commercial by previewing what was up ahead on the show. This appeared roughly 20 seconds after my segment was done:

Yep. Hugh Hefner. It's so obvious they only had me on their show to try to boost their ratings and liven up an otherwise lifeless show.

I totally should have stuck around and asked him for Brooke Burke's e-mail address.



Cosa's Hunger Strike to End Third-World Debt

Days 21 and 22

Days 21 and 22 : Oh. Shit.




Cosa's bones are showing a bit.

I mean, I guess that's normal for a cat who hasn't eaten in three weeks.



I guess she knows what she's doing. I mean, I'm sure she'd find food if she really wanted some. I mean, she still moves if I prod her with a stick.


I've never seen such a skinny cat.

Anybody had much experience with cats on hunger strikes? I may need some advice here.


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