By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2006, 11:40pm PT  

Let's drop a few names and monger a few rumors.

Spent a few hours in the recording studio today (on the Ides of March) recording a section for the audio version of investigative journalist Greg Palast's new book --- to be released this June.

In the bargain, I got to spend some quality time hanging and chatting with both the legendary Ed Asner and the unstoppable Janeane Garofalo who are amongst the many notables recording sections of the book for the audio version. More on those two in a minute.

Palast's latest is called ARMED MADHOUSE: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, The Best Legal Whorehouse in Texas, The Scheme to Steal Election '08, No Childs Behind Left And Other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War. A title so long, I feel like I've read the book already.

(Pre-order the hardcover here, or the audio version here.)

Haven't read the book yet beyond the passages I recorded today and the snippets I heard from Asner and Garafalo. But judging from all of that, the book looks to be another scandalous hoot. Moreover, I couldn't be happier to have been asked to read some of the sections concerning Leon County, FL, Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho (or, as Palast refers to him in that chapter, "one of the Lords of the Voting Universe.") Fortuitous timing, that.

Since it's not out yet, perhaps the cover has yet to be finalized...and so, here's a pull-quote that I hope Palast will feel free to use, if inclined, at least on the inside flap:

"Like most Americans, I don't read books. But if I did, Greg Palast's Armed Madhouse would be the first one on my list!"

Or perhaps this one:

"Once again, Greg Palast proves that nothing is sexier than a hard-boiled Jewish investigative journalist/gum-shoe hot on the trail of Electoral Fraud in the United States!"

Or even:

"The only thing more informative and entertaining than Palast's newest book is the audio version of Palast's newest book!"

As mentioned, had the opportunity while there to spend some time hangin' with Asner and Garafalo. While I'd heard through various grapevines that Asner's wife is a BRAD BLOG fan, it turns out he too keeps an eye on these pages from time to time.

That said, since his wife is indeed a reader here, I can't say too much more about our conversations, lest Ed be completely evicted. Though I was pleased to learn that this affable and wise-cracking hero of mine from way back originally hails from Kansas City, KA --- just a few hours down the road and across one state line from my old St. Louis home.

As for Janeane, an interesting tidbit mentioned --- amongst conversations of the Madness of Coulter and other Disturbing Signs of our Times --- was that, as of the first of the year, she chucked her computer entirely! Since unplugging all together, she reports, she feels like a new woman. Or, at least, is feeling a freedom she hasn't felt in years.

I can relate. You have no idea how much I wish I could unplug entirely at times. I'd recommend you folks find the opportunity do so as well, but that would make as much sense as Diebold recommending state officials use hand-counted paper ballots.

While she says she has no prob doing her radio show and her current gig on The West Wing without either email address or net access, I've yet to figure out how I can pull of the same thing and still be a blogger. But I'm working on it.

But since Janeane no longer goes online at all, I'm sure she'll never notice it if I report to you that she showed up an hour late, was drunk as a skunk, wouldn't stop doing blow off of Ed Asner's bare chest, and recorded her chapter of the book entirely in the nude! You shoulda been there!

(NOTE to Ed's wife: just kidding!) (NOTE to Sam Seder: don't mention any of this to Janeane, I promised her I'd keep it all off record!)

Also in da house was the winsome actress and frequently arrested activist, Shiva Rose McDermott, wife of The Practice's Dylan. Unfortunately, I didn't get to spend more than a minute or two with her, so I can't report much more than she was gorgeous, smart, delightful and simply appalled by Garafalo's outrageous behavior, particularly after Janeane went outside and started beating up a homeless guy. Even I thought that was way out of line.

It was nice to spend a few hours away from the machine.