Well, it’s official. I will be airing on the Stossel show tonight at 9:00 pm Eastern on Fox Business. There will be replays over the weekend at Saturday 9:00 pm, Saturday at midnight, and Sunday at 9:00 pm. I’ve been told that some of the repeats may be on Fox News rather than Fox Business. Either way, if you don’t get the channel, I’ve been made aware that Fox Business has an iphone/ipad app that allows you to watch their live stream. What you will see is a very short segment that I have been told leads out the show. So, if you plan to watch it, don’t be late…and don’t blink.
Being invited on the Stossel show was one of the highlights of my year so far. Of course, it’s only March and I expect great things for the rest of the year. But, the fact remains that this was my first big exposure related to the book and also my first time in the Big Apple.
I’m going to take this time to tell all of you faithful followers about my time in New York. I hope you don’t mind me deviating from the usual banter. Don’t worry, though. This narrative will be peppered with little gems related to the illegality of things and my interaction with both a security guard and a TSA agent.
My husband and I left for Indianapolis using my new iPhone 4s. I absolutely love the GPS app Waze. It’s up my alley in the fact that it is free and dynamic. It also warns upcoming drivers various things they might want to know — like where the police are situated (that is, if some other Waze user has entered that information for you). My long-time readers will be reminded that the flashing of headlights to warn of upcoming speed traps has gotten some people in trouble before, so this is a nice alternative. Users can also warn other drivers of the presence of road kill, fog, stalled cars, and a number of other hazards.
Going through security posed no problem. My hip replacement didn’t set off any metal detectors, and I waltzed through like a regular person. We had a delightful time in our travels until we tried to leave Charlotte. The plane twice began to taxi down the runway and stopped due to some malfunction. First it was the brakes and then it was the steering. Finally, everything got fixed, but we were sitting on the tarmac for over two hours.
When we finally got to Newark, we were hungry. Our car was still waiting at the airport, and our driver took us to our hotel. To my surprise we drove right past Times Square. I had never seen the likes of it in my life. This little Indiana girl was quite surprised to see activity like day time going on at 1:00 am in the big city. I felt like I was on another planet, but I hadn’t even switched time zones. New York really is the city that never sleeps, but especially on Times Square, which was less than a block from our hotel.
I was desperate for some sleep so that I didn’t appear like a zombie on my Stossel segment. But, I was also hungry, so we ordered some pizza delivery. It must have been a miracle pizza, because it’s the only one that I’ve ever eaten where I didn’t wake up thirsty in the middle of the night. Maybe that’s because of the war on salt there in New York, or maybe it’s because I consumed the pizza in the middle of the night and didn’t have time to wake up. Anyway, I ate and I slept and I woke up happy and excited.
My one block walk to the studio almost made me reconsider my general opinion on stupid laws. You see, I was wearing some of the most uncomfortable shoes ever made. It’s totally my fault, but I found myself thinking, “That should be illegal.” But, like I always say, you can’t legislate stupidity.
Meeting John Stossel and David Asman (also appearing on my segment) was really neat. They were both very polite and good to work with. They both congratulated me about my book and complimented the amount of work that I must have done in order to write it. In fact, everyone I met from Stossel was very professional and complimentary.
The taping of the segment went by in no time. I don’t even remember what we talked about. You’ll have to watch tonight to find out.
The rest of my time in New York was splendid as well. We saw almost every major touristy landmark that you can think of — Times Square, Empire State Building, Central Park, and Grand Central Terminal. We also saw the world’s largest Macy’s and the New York Public Library. My time at the library led to an interesting encounter with a security officer.
When we entered the library, there were large signs that said “no cell phones”, “no cameras”, “no food”, and a few other things that we weren’t allowed to bring. There were guards standing all along the entryways watching everything that people brought in. To my surprise, almost everyone was carrying a cell phone or a camera, and nobody was asked to put them away. Being the obedient person that I am, I decided to go ask about this at the information desk. I didn’t want to talk to the rent-a-cop unless necessary. The nice ladies at the information desk told me that I was free to take pictures as long as I didn’t use a flash. They proceeded to tell me all about the best places to see in the library.
I was feeling pretty confident that I wasn’t breaking any rules by taking pictures. There were rent-a-cops all over the place and people taking pictures like crazy. There were signs everywhere just like the ones on display at the entrance. Everyone, including the rent-a-cops were ignoring them. Matt took a pretty good picture of me in one of the rooms. If I ever start a law firm, this will be the picture I put on my billboard. Anyway, when we left that room, the rent-a-cop outside asked me if I was taking pictures in there. I answered that I was and that everyone else was and that I had asked about it, etc. He kept asking me (without letting me finish any of my sentences) whether I could read and if I had seen the sign. Since I did all I could to ensure that I was following all of the rules, I finally asked him why that is a rule. Eventually, after much back and forth, he admitted that “it’s a stupid rule.” He eventually became very friendly with me and even showed me a view of the Empire State Building and let me take a picture of it from the library in his presence! So, with just the tiniest bit of push back, the guy changed his tune completely. Interesting.
I kept that in mind for my next encounter, which was with a TSA agent. Although, I don’t consider this one to be very successful because I didn’t feel like missing my flight. I suppose I wasn’t prepared to make an example of them by sacrificing myself this time. I missed my kids and just wanted to get home. I’ll tell the story, anyway.
One particular TSA agent was kind of nasty in Washington, D.C. She was barking orders. Her cadence was actually quite similar to barking. She saw me fumbling through my wallet and barked, “I. DO. NOT. NEED. YOUR. IDENTIFICATION. AT. THIS. TIME.” I told her that I was not looking for my identification. I didn’t tell her that I happened to be looking for my hip replacement card. I didn’t want to volunteer for either a pat down or a porno scanner. So, I was searching for my card in case I set off the detector. But, since she presumed to read my mind, I got treated somewhat rudely. I was already kind of grumpy about taking my shoes and belt off so my response to her was not perfectly polite in tone. As a result, she made me go through the metal detector three times. I guess she thought I might have stashed something in my pockets in between the passes through the machine.
When I finally got through, I noticed that they had chosen my husband for a random check. I wanted to make sure they didn’t do anything funny, so I started to take a video of the encounter. There were very few people going through security so I could not be construed to be in the way. Besides, I was sitting on the benches that are provided for people to put their shoes back on. I was not obstructing anything. Anyway, when one of the agents noticed that I was taking a video, he told me I have to turn it off. I kept it on while I asked him if it was against the law. He said, “Yes.” I asked him to repeat himself that taking a video of a screening was against the law. That’s when he said, “No, it’s against TSA policy.” At that point, I turned off the camera, but I should not have. I just realized that it wasn’t going anywhere, and at least I got him to admit that it wasn’t against the law.
I’ve always said that I”m not an activist. I’m just not confrontational enough. I do agree that someone needs to be watching the watchers, though. This is why I completely support the work of the guys and gals over at cop block. Remember — badges don’t grant special rights. In any case, I didn’t allow some ridiculous agent spoil my trip.
If you’ve stuck with me this long, you’ll surely stick with me tonight when the segment airs. Until next time!