Friday, December 31, 2004

Q & A, Episode Dos! Guest is Brian Williams

to watch the show click here

Again, this theme music is just so relaxing. I'm not even being sarcastic. I bet 10% of "Q & A" viewers fall into a blissful sleep before the show even starts, dreaming of Brian Lamb fanning them with a copy of the US Constitution.

Speaking of, Lamb is interviewing again, and the interview is in Brian Williams' office.

Williams just said that he is writing a book about the death of president Garfield, so I guess he must have a pretty legitimate knowledge of history. And now Williams is going into the details of the story. (Garfield was shot leaving Union Station to join his wife at the Jersey shore.)

I had no idea Brian Williams was such a geek. Good for him. I just assumed he was a sharp looking anchor guy. The book actually does sound really fascinating. Listen to Williams here:

"The story of Garfield's death involves really the invention of modern air conditioning. It involves Alexander Graham Bell. It involves complete strangers doing what just seemed to them to be the patriotic American thing and making his train ride to the Jersey shore, his last wish, more comfortable by stuffing straw and dirt under the train tracks wherever they could, by lining up along the train tracks as their president drove by. It involved 500 men pushing the train car up freshly laid track to the front door of this seaside inn in Elberon (ph), New Jersey. In a very dramatic final scene, where he only lived for a few days, but did get to taste the sea air he thought would have a restorative power."

Williams says it will be like the book "Isaac's Storm" in size, scope, and "gee whiz power." I've never heard of that book, so here's the Amazon link.

Wow, Williams is really selling his book well here. This is must see material for anyone who wants to know about the art of pitching a book. He's passionate about the subject matter and he knows exactly what makes the story interesting.

He just mentioned this Beschloss guy for the second time, this time between McCullough and Doris Kearns Goodwim, so I've got to google this guy. Here's a short bio. He probably met Williams at the annual Handsome Historians Luncheon.

Williams was friends with Ed Gillespie (chairman of the Republican National Committee)in college. It's amazing how big shots know each other like that.

Arggh. RealPlayer just crapped out again, now I have to reload the show again. In the meantime, I love how the slogan for "Q & A" is "Interesting People. Informative Conversations." Only C-SPAN could come up with such an undynamic motto. The word "informative" just doesn't have pizzaz. No business actually subject to market forces could ever have such a bland slogan. Imagine... "Rocco's Pizza: Delicious Food, Reasonable Ambience."

Ok, we're back. And, we're not back. Thanks RealPlayer. Awesome. The only good part about this is that I get to hear the theme song every time I reload the program. So it could be worse.

Ohhh, so Williams is from the Jersey shore! Yeah Jeeerrrsssaaaay!

Ok, RealPlayer just shut down again so I guess I am just going to read the transcript. This is a real low point in the evolution of C-Spantastic. I am not on a treadmill and I'm not even watching C-SPAN, on television or on my computer. At this point the web site should probably be called Transcriptarriffic. Or Lazybumtacular. Anyway, onward...

Williams never graduated from college. Interesting. I guess his obsession with keeping track of current events has more than compensated for this...

I made a deal with myself at age 14 never to let a day go by without finishing that day's newspaper, usually the "New York Times." When I come back from vacation, it's not uncommon that I'll tell the person who's bringing in the paper at our house to save them all and I'll sit down and get through every newspaper. It's just a thing I have. My biggest worry is that a fact will get by me, that there will be a fact in the ether as you speak of out there, that I wonÕt know about and I hate that feeling.

The fact that Williams is secretly a geek made me like him, and the fact that he is from Jersey added to that, but this is the line that has truly warmed my heart:

"I don't need more than two pairs of shoes. I'm not into shoes; my dad wasnÕt into shoes. I don't understand people who have a closet full of them."

The three papers delivered to Williams' house:

1) USA Today
2) Wall Street Journal
3) New York Times

Other periodicals he says he reads:

- The Weekly Standard
- Time
- Newsweek
- Claremont Review of Books
- New York Review of Books

I'm excited to check out the Claremont Review of Books, I've never heard of that.

Williams says he has called in to the Rush Limbaugh show. "I think it's my duty to listen to Rush."

Now Williams is just putting on a geek clinic. Amazing. Bask in the geekitude which follows...

LAMB: How many books do you read on average, I mean day to day?

WILLIAMS: Well I probably have five going at any one time and among them, presidential fact books, I'll reread a chapter on Chester A. Arthur for fun or to help myself go to sleep at night. And a lot of political nonfiction I will just read in a three-day sitting or over two plane flights. I'll keep one book in my briefcase. For the long time it was a book called "Cod," about the cod fish and its importance in the American economy. And that was a great piece of airplane reading.

My biggest fear in life is being on a plane with nothing to read. I look at these people who take the free magazine out of the seat back pocket and I shake my head and I say what did you not know about your day today that you werenÕt going to need reading material? I get shaky when I think about the prospect of a plane flight without a book.

That is just great stuff. Any book lover knows exactly what he is talking about.

It's breaking my heart that I'm reading the transcript of this and not seeing it.

He even says he flies Jet Blue with his family. Goodness. I wish I had a daughter so she could marry this man.

Here's his tip for picking a tie that will look good on television: look at it from about 10 feet away.

Williams just made a comment about Lyndon Johnson's jowls, which is interesting because my comment about Roger Ailes jowls drew complaints from 1moreslogger, a loyal C-spantastic reader

Okay, so that's the end. What a show! I can't wait to actually see it. I think Brian Williams is the Tony Robbins of the news industry. It's comforting to see someone who reads a lot actually succeed. With Bush getting a second term I was starting to get the feeling that reading books was actually harmful to one's chances at achieving worldly success. Like him or hate him, Dubya is not a "reader" and yet he's a political wonderboy. Anyway, God bless Brian Williams, new anchor of the NBC Nightly News and President of the Ambitious Bookworm Club.


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