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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

National Girlfriends Day

Tomorrow is National Girlfriends Day. It’s a day that apparently celebrates “girl friendships” everywhere – not a day for boyfriends to celebrate girlfriends. I suppose it’s like a “Sex In the City Day” or “The View day?” So later today… I am going to interview the co-founder of this day’s commemoration, Allie Savarino.

Now, I really wish I had paid attention to girlie movies like “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” or “The Notebook,” or watched television shows like “Project Runway,” or occasionally even caught an episode of Oprah. But I haven’t and as a result, I may have trouble understanding what these women talk about on the Internet forum It’s a website that was created to foster friendships between other women to share photos, stories, parenting lessons, fashion tips and recipes.

Bottom line: Dudes don’t have a cause for this sort of celebration. Heck, we really don’t even “chat” or care about the clothes we are wearing. I find it admirable that there’s a designated day to praise womanhood and bonding. And as best as I can tell, us men folk have no such day… unless you consider the Super Bowl as National Guyfriends Day?

Friday, July 27, 2007

AUI - Astronauts Under the Influence

While Lindsay Lohan’s 2nd DUI this week and Nicole Richie’s sentencing for her 2nd DUI today is all the buzz (no pun intended) on the Internets, it does not surprise me or even really interest me. But the news, that on not ONE but TWO occasions, NASA astronauts may have flown drunk is shocking, alarming and outrageous.

According to an AP article, a NASA panel report said this about booze and spacemen:

“Two specific instances were described where astronauts had been so intoxicated prior to flight that flight surgeons and/or fellow astronauts raised concerns to local on-scene leadership regarding flight safety… However, the individuals were still permitted to fly.”

NASA has a similar “bottle to throttle” policy that the FAA has for pilots where individuals must not drink at least 12 hours prior to flight. However, the NASA report indicated that the astronauts have access to alcohol in their quarantined quarters in the three-day waiting period before a launch.

And speaking of launches – you can barely open your mouth about this serious topic without others chiming in with the bad and obvious puns which will certainly find their way into late night television talk shows. One colleague today said, “How about that… What a BLAST!” Another said, “I wondered where Buzz Aldrin got his nickname!”

I think it’s sad that NASA has apparently turned into an elite Rocket Flying Frat House – from bizarre love triangles with scorned lovers driving cross country in adult diapers to a new classification in “under the influence” citations: AUI – Astronauts Under the Influence.

Get the breathalyzers ready for the Kennedy Space Center, please!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Stress-Eater or Average Joe General

I watched with interest as Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Tuesday. In full disclosure, I don’t find Gonzales particularly media-savvy under the spotlight and wasn’t surprised to see him shifting, weaving and dodging under scrutiny over the terrorist surveillance program. This is not intended to be a slight to his actual job performance – he may or may not be a great AG, I’m not qualified to accurately assess it. But when it comes to political grandstanding, it’s no real secret of what’s going on in any given “hearing” on Capitol Hill.

Today, we learn that Sen. Schumer and others have officially requested that the Solicitor General appoint a Special Counsel to investigate whether or not Gonzales perjured himself on the stand on Tuesday.

So at the very least, it’s fair to say that AG Gonzales sufficiently tied some knickers in knots and now he’s going to have to endure serious attempts at character and career assassination. At the very worst, he may have potentially broken the law which undermines the credibility of the entire Bush Administration.

And considering that Washington is pretty much one big sieve of secrets, one would have thought the AG might have known something was brewing yesterday, right?

I don’t know after reading this in the Washington Post today:

Alberto Gonzales and his family lunching at the ESPN Zone yesterday. The attorney general arrived just as the sports restaurant opened; he ate queso chips with blackened chicken, ribs and Asian chicken salad.

Ummm? Okay… So is the AG one these stress-eaters that handles crisis by chowing down or is he a grace under pressure guy – able to ignore Washington’s fiercest storms and maintain his average Joe diet?

He eats, we report and YOU decide.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pants Fundraiser Tonight

While all is quiet on the Great American Pants Nightmare front (Judge Roy Pearson has until roughly August 15th to file his formal appeal to the DC Court of Appeals), the Chungs are receiving some fundraising assistance at the US Chamber of Commerce tonight.

The American Tort Reform Association and the US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform are teaming up for a glitzy soiree to help the Chungs offset their legal woes. You may recall, they don’t owe Pearson anything – or even have to pay the court costs (that fell on Pearson) – but they do have in excess of $80,000 in attorney fees.

I am going to attend and find out (on camera) how the Chungs are doing and if their impression of this great land of opportunity has changed.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Peace Mom v. Pelosi

It’s official – she’s in it to win it! I met Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan along with about 300 or so of her supporters at Arlington National Cemetery this morning where she had a small press conference. From there, we walked all the way over Memorial Bridge, up Independence Ave to the Rayburn House Office Building. Cindy, along with Reverend Yearwood and Ray McGovern met with House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers about the likelihood of Impeachment for President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Cindy came out into a crowed hallway and said:

"The Democrats will not hold this administration accountable, so we have to hold the Democrats accountable… and I, for one, am going to step up to the plate and run against Nancy Pelosi.”

Afterwards, Sheehan staged a sit-in right there in Conyers’ office for which she and about 45 other people were arrested. Cindy told me it was her 8th arrest for protesting – but her first since coming out of her short-lived retirement.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Your Congress Hard at Work

Yesterday, I had the arduous task of reporting on “Big Story” why the latest Homeland Security legislation currently does not have any protections for Americans who report suspicious activity. The answer is a very technical one, but at present, you should be worried about being sued if you “drop the dime” on someone like the “Flying Imams” who sued their “John Does.” (That lawsuit is still ongoing.)

Sen. Joe Lieberman is the Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and it is his conference that met yesterday, failed to include the “John Doe” language in the bill, but concluded with the possibility that it MAY make it in the final product in the end.

When I called Leslie Phillips, Comm Dir for the Committee, and asked if the language was going to be included, she told me, “maybe, but it’s too early to know… there’s a lot of support for it.”

However, Phillips also said that there is no plan at the moment for the Conference Committee to meet again. That simply may or may not come about (I suppose) by spontaneous combustion? I don’t know and the people working on it have no answer either. Oddly, Leslie patiently explained to me that “you can’t just go sticking things in bills,” but technically, that’s exactly what Lieberman is and can do with the status of the Conference Report that is yet to be written.

Confused yet? It gets better.

Leslie was quick to point out to me that Sen. Lieberman sponsored legislation back in May (co-sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins) that is “stand alone legislation” to address someone’s immunity from Flying Imam lawsuits. The status of THAT bill according to Phillips is that it “has been referred to Judiciary.”

The intention, I gathered, was to illustrate how pro-active Sen. Lieberman has been on this issue – however, when I asked if I could talk to the senator on camera or over the phone on this issue, I was quickly dismissed.

And even more confusing – last night, after my “Big Story” report, Sen. Collins took to the senate floor and brought up Flying Imams language to be added to an education bill – and it FAILED.

Bottom line: Americans are worried that they will be sued if they report suspicious activity. Congress says they think this is a very important issue and they want to do something about it. Yet, because of arcane parliamentary procedures, they aren’t able to do anything about it at the moment… oh, and they don’t want to talk to you about it either.

And you wonder why Congress has an abysmal “poor job” rating of 83%?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pajamas and Polls

So the Senate staged an "all-nighter" to debate the war in Iraq. Every major newspaper in America has pictures of the cots being set up in the Senate halls and pizzas being delivered... all they seemed to be missing were the movies and popcorn.

In fact, they are still going at the time of this posting (0955). So I guess there's some slumbering irony in that Reuters/Zogby just released this "wake up" call:

Eighteen months before Bush leaves the White House, nearly two-thirds of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction and give the president negative marks for his job performance.

An even bigger majority, 83 percent, say the Democratic-controlled Congress is doing only a fair or poor job -- the worst mark for Congress in a Zogby poll.(AP)

What is one to make of this?

Words escape me here, but suffice it to say that it might be a good time for Washington to take two aspirin and get a good night's sleep...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pants Suit UPDATE

So there's an update in the Great American Pants Nightmare... DC Superior Court Judge Judy Bartnoff denied Judge Roy Pearson's "Motion for Reconsideration" yesterday afternoon. Basically, I imagine she thought about it for a millisecond, and then promptly punted it out of her courtroom.

But as the Chung's Defense Attorney Chris Manning told me yesterday, I imagine the appeal is still forthcoming.

“Once again, and to no one’s surprise, justice has prevailed. Judge Bartnoff has reiterated her well-reasoned ruling in favor of the Chungs. Mr. Pearson should do himself and everyone else a favor and end this ridiculous lawsuit now. Unfortunately, however, I have no doubt that he will appeal and continue this unfortunate ordeal for the Chungs.”

We are also now awaiting Judge Bartnoff to rule on Manning's "Motion for Attorney Fees" which would require Pearson to shell out more than $82,000.

A July 24th fundraiser is being held to help alleviate the Chung's legal woes. For more information, go to

Sunday, July 15, 2007

1900 New York City

I'm back to civilization with our tapes and gear and sitting in an edit room... Never the fun part of our business, but sometimes the most important.

It would seem too that it was unfortunate we had to pull out as Pam had quite the experience - with 4 to 6 squatches late into the night!!

But we've got a lot of great stuff, so be sure to TUNE IN ON FOX AND FRIENDS TOMORROW at 0835a ET to find out more!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

2100 FOB Sasquatch

We bid farewell to our sasquatch hunting friends this afternoon as Andy and I have to get ready to depart early tomorrow.

There's a group going out again tonight and early into the morning, so perhaps the squatches will show on the one night we weren't there - the one that got away?!

Pam will do her howls, Don will undoubtedly bait the motion sensor cams and who knows if finally the sasquatches will decide to show.

We've got a lot of tape and some audio of our first night's possible contact...

Tune into to Fox and Friends... And we'll leave it to you to decide!

But suffice it to say this: Sasquatching Hunting is a lot of FUN!!

0226 LOST in the UP

Target North is somewhere at the end of some very confusing, unmarked roads - but the scenic views of the valleys converging with winding lakes are breath taking.

Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate with us. It was rain, rain... and more rain.

We picked up a very pleasant gentleman in tonight's outing named Rob Lucas who was doing a story on the expedition for the Daily Press.

But after several howling screams by Moneymaker and a few other investigators, the search was called off due to the weather.

Moneymaker said that the conditions were bad and that he rarely has luck making contact with squatches in the rain. And standing there in a downpour getting maulled by mosquitos, I can't say I blame the squatches for staying home.

Little did we know that the real excitement - and not in a good way - began after we started back to home base.

I guess nature really does have a sense of humor... or revenge.

I think the mosquitos read the blog. Because while  everything I said in the previous entry is true - they took it to a whole new level tonight. Andy and I had no idea 300 of them would sneak into our truck and attack us as we navigated our home way down winding slippery roads.

They were dive-bombing us from every angle and we couldn't put the windows down due to the storm. So we fought.

We were swatting them, smashing them on the dash and ceiling and doing everything we could not to freak out and end up in a ditch. By the time the battle was over, it was bug guts everywhere. But we are also now covered in bites. We have to tally up the number of bites between us versus the number of squished skeeters in the truck tomorrow morning to see who won.

But there's one lone hope that some squatches eventually showed tonite - brave Pam stayed behind to stick it out.

Friday, July 13, 2007

1645 Somewhere in the UP... Likely Lost!

We are traveling north looking for the group in logging country. There are no highways, freeways or marked streets here. Just a lot of trees, dirt roads and... allegedly, some sasquatches.

It's just dawned on us too that coincidentally, we have elected to hunt sasquatches on FRIDAY the 13TH!!

And considering that we are separated from the group, lost miles from civilization, and evening is fast approaching... We may not make it to our rendezvous with the big fellas.

One beast that I have been forgetting to mention that we have been in constant contact with are the UP Mosquitos. These are not your average run of the mill skeeters. They are very large, fearlessly aggressive and heavily populated. Even the thickest coating of Deet spray seems no match for the ones that are the size of small hummingbirds.

The good news is that Andy is eating homemade Fudge and Cornuts for dinner, so it is my hope that tonight the flying terrorists will find Andy much tastier than me.


1315 Departing Gitche Gumme Campgroud

There are scattered reports of people hearing long, non-human howls, wood knocks and even rock knocks throughout the night.

Pam's team is out collecting Don's surveillance camera data (which he will soon find has an image of me being blinded by the one down by the creek by accident) and making the trek North to set up tonight's base.

Much of the morning is geared to this move to "Target North." Moneymaker believes we had encountered some squatches in our first area, but he is determined to find beasts that will come closer and interact with us.

"We need to move North and find us some aggressive Yooper saquatches."

I'm not sure whether this is a good idea or not - but I agree with Moneymaker's point: we'll never get one on video unless we get it to come chase us.

0257 Forward Operating Base Sasquatch

We pushed farther into the deep of the woods than previous outings tonight. We are in the same group with Pam, Don and Eric. Along the way on our journey in, Don placed motion sensor cameras at strategic points like the log cabin and the creek. Don also baited the sites with honey, sardines, licorice... and gorilla pheromone.

I don't know exactly  how one obtains the scent of primate hormones, but I think it's safe to say we are likely to attract a few bears and drive them out of their minds. Don says honey is like heroin to bears.

Once we were at our destination point, again Pam attempted the howling screams and wood knocking to attract some squatches in the area. Pam even let me try a howl myself... Which is perhaps why we did not encounter a beast tonight.

But a gentleman in one of the other groups had what he described as "an incredible experience." Apparently as his group was driving into their location to camp out for the night, the witness says "something" threw "a shrew that had been bitten in its spine" at their car. When he got out, he saw what he thought was his friend's silhoutte, but his friend was already up the road at the site. When he looked back where the figure had been, it was gone.

Why that guy is still sleeping in a tent out there tonight is beyond me - but I'll give him this, that sort of courage shows real determination.

This experience aside, the overall area hasn't show much will on these squatches part to try to intimidate us and drive us away. Therefore, we may move to a more remote location closer to Lake Superior tomorrow. (I actually know where it is, but I can't tell you!)

I didn't wear the helmet cam as it is very involved and requires one to walk alone into the night. But I can't wait to find out what - if anything - that brave soul saw tomorrow.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

1935 The Grove Restaurant

Andy and I are starving - trying to catch sasquatches takes a lot of time and energy.

We spent much of the afternoon on a "scout" trip DEEP in the woods with Pam, Don, Eric and few other Bigfoot enthusiasts.

Don is the consumate woodsman. He is quiet, observant and looks like someone who has spent much of his life in the outdoors. Don evens spends some nights when he's out hunting "sleeping under a big tree." And IF there are any sasquatches out here, Don is the man who can find them.

On our scouting, Don found a dilapidated log cabin, some sticks that had been arranged in an X formation (possibly a sasquatch trail marking) and some very large poop that after examination, he determined was not bear or moose poop.

I think we are likely to return to this area based on the intelligence Don was able to find.

Around 1700, we attended a press event that had hoped to appeal to residents in the area to come forward with their stories. At least 3 different witnesses came while we were there and interestingly they were all women.

One of the women said she waited 25 years until today to tell anyone about "the big hairy ape-like creature with glowing red eyes" that she encountered on the highway.

The woman was there with her fiance who learned about the sighting well after their engagement. So suffice it to say, I may not have found Bigfoot yet... But I definitely found true love exists here.

Maybe we'll find that red-eyed beast tonight...

1235 Base Camp at Gitche Gumme Campground

As the first "official" day of the expedition begins, several enthusiasts are beginning to show.

A local news crew is here interviewing eyewitness Don from my group last night. They are arranging to go LIVE from this afternoon's press conference.

The focus of this morning's meeting was determining what it was that we heard in response to Pam's first scream/howl. Moneymaker has the recording connected to some high tech audio equipment to get a better listen. On the recording, between Pam's call and the unidentified sound we heard, my own voice pops up whispering, "I think I hear something moving in the bushes."

"We got a recording last night, a response to a howl. The recording is interesting, the only four possibilities are coyotes, owls, sasquatches or humans. We don't think it was an owl or coyote... It sounds too primate-like to be either of those. And we don't think there were any other humans out there," Moneymaker said.

One thing has been determined - I'll be strapping a helmet cam with thermal imaging to my head tonight going back to try to get a better look... at whatever made that noise.

0224 Somewhere in the UP...

We've survived our first "squatching" expedition - and if you don't think it is terrifying to wander miles into the thick of nowhere with no lights and a lot wild things lurking in the dark... then there is something seriously wrong with you.

But already, I can't wait to go back for more - that is, after some sleep.

On our way in, we stopped and interviewed a man and his wife (who by all standards appeared to be very level headed folks) that had encountered something that could only be described as an unknown beast - it had even frightened the couple's fearless dog for whom they had been taking for a stroll through the woods. They had photos too of a footprint that wasn't a deer or a bear!

After the couple lead us to the site where they had allegedly been exposed to a Sasquatch, we broke up into small teams to search the area.

Andy and I were in the lead group with Pam, Eric and Don - all of whom have had numerous encounters with the beasts. Don recounted that after his first experience, he didn't go near the woods for a few years... Can you blame him?

At this point, I'm thinking to myself: if you saw a great white shark in the water, would you be in a hurry to go BACK?

And a side note about the Sasquatch-deer relationship. The Sasquatch follows and herds the deer like a shepherd over its flock... Until it decides to maul it, snap its limbs off for bone marrow and harvests its soft organs. This was a small detail that I could have gone without learning before I was standing in the dark.

On several occasions, we heard things moving in the trees around us - which is a slightly less than reassuring sensation. At one point Don got still on the track and told me that he had "gotten the chills" which had a sphincter-tightening effect on me. Pam too said at the same moment, she began momentarily to feel "apprehensive."

Shortly thereafter, Pam began to attempt to call one in... Her long, whooping scream added a whole new dimension to the evening. We even heard a few similar howlings, but most of the crew believed it came from Matt and his group. (Matt appears to be the only other tracker qualified to call them in besides Pam)

And while the first night's mission seems to have been less than successful in provoking an encounter with the legendary Bigfoot... It more than piqued my curiosity and frightened the daylights out of me.

Tomorrow is another day... and night!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

As night sets, it's 60 degrees and starting to rain. We are at base camp but will soon depart to scout an area where a local resident believes he had an encounter with a "squatch."

Local tv news stations here in the UP will, this evening, broadcast an appeal for more eyewitnesses to come forward. I am told so far 2 new witnesses have come forward since a newspaper appeal ran this week.

BFRO's Expedition Leader Matt Moneymaker is keeping a close watch on the weather. He is concerned too much wind will make it difficult to hear the indicative sounds of a Bigfoot.

But storm or no storm, tonight's mission is going forward.

Andy is wondering if he should call his parents and say, "good-bye."

Sent from my blackberry... 

Touched down a few hours ago at the Sawyer International AP... Not sure what's International about it because we didn't see any flights to Maui or Singapore, but I guess you take a puddle jumper across Lake Superior to Canada, then you qualify for International status.

Speaking of Lake Superior, I am standing at the water's edge on a GORGEOUS day and there are WAVES breaking... For a surfer, this is very confusing to me. It's a lake?!

Anyways... We looted Wal Mart for field provisions and a cheap tent. I even splurged on a machete (you never know if Sasquatches are friendly or not) and a new toothbrush.

We meet our contact in a few hours to begin... The Hunt.

Sent from my blackberry... 

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Countdown to the Hunt

We're down to hours before departing at dawn for our Sasquatch Expedition... Our flight leaves at 6a for the Upper Peninsula of MI. Checking gear and packing it: Tent, check. Sleeping bag, check. Cameras, laptop, boots, batteries, Power Bars, etc... Check.

It feels like 120 degrees outside in the nation's Capital, the Senate is all in tethers over the Iraq debate, and John McCain's campaign is imploding with fleeing veteran staff members. Simply put - perfect time to get outta here for a few days.

News of our mission has reached local media according to the Upper Peninsula's newspaper, The Mining Journal, who writes:

An expedition by the Bigfoot Field Research Organization is set to get underway Thursday in Marquette County. According to BFRO investigator Matthew Moneymaker, the project, which is planned to run through Sunday, is intended to collect evidence supporting the existence of the legendary creature known as "bigfoot" or "sasquatch."

The exact locations where the 50 BFRO investigators will be working remains confidential, Moneymaker said. He said the group plans to limit media access during the search.

But we're on the inside track. I have been included in the group's messaging system and privy to the dismissal already of a potential "face shot" that did not qualify as legitimate.

I ask Andy, our cameraman, for his thoughts on the trip. "I'm not afraid of Bigfoot," he says.

So far, nothing has led me to believe this mythical beast exists, but I must confess that I am already enjoying the journey - and it hasn't even begun.

NOTE: Most of my missives and updates from the field will be from blackberry and any other means possible, so I ask for misspelling forgiveness in advance!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Representative Sheehan?!

Last night after tending to my Sasquatch hunting trip, I got a phone call from Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan... Just two months after retiring as the face of the anti-war movement, Sheehan told me of her plans to challenge Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her seat in San Fran. According to Cindy who spoke to me from Camp Casey in Crawford, if Pelosi "does not put impeachment back on the table," by the time she reaches Washington on July 23rd (she is doing a caravan/walk for humanity starting tomorrow), then the one-time activist will formally become an anti-war candidate.

Despite Pelosi's winning her seat last go around by 81% in the general election; Sheehan says that the Scooter Libby commutation "put her over the edge." She said that it was time to hold the Democratic leadership accountable and even encouraged others to oppose Rahm Emanuel, Steny Hoyer and Jack Murtha for their seats.

Surprisingly too, Speaker Pelosi's Spokesman Brendan Daly offered this response:

Speaker Pelosi has said repeatedly her focus is on ending the war in Iraq. She believes that the best way to support our troops in Iraq is to bring them home safely and soon.

Of note, her official proclamation tomorrow comes on Cindy's 50th birthday.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

In Search Of...

I may not be Leonard Nimoy, but somebody has to try find the big guy... Bigfoot! You may have seen some of my recent appearances on the newschannel, but here is the latest: We ARE going and I am told that we are on a HOT trail.

On Tuesday or Wednesday, I'll depart with my fearless colleague, Andrew Stenner, for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan - the "UP" as it's locally known. And according to the leader of the Bigfoot Field Research Organization (, Matthew Moneymaker, there is a very recent encounter from a doctor in the area who Moneymaker notes, "on the scale of witness credibility, he's on the high end."

So I'm spending this gorgeous Sunday trying to figure out what one takes on a Bigfoot Hunting Expedition... I've dug my two-man tent out of the attic (at my wife's total disbelief that I am ACTUALLY going to do this!) and pulling much of my gear kit that I took with me to Fallujah last November.

There are a few odd things too that Moneymaker says are critical to the mission: for example, one MUST bring a wooden bat or axe handle. Fortunately after inquiring, the bat isn't to fight the beast if it attacks, but rather to communicate with it. Apparently, one of the ways you attract Sasquatches is to bang on trees and logs.

So I'm off to the camping store like a kid headed to summer camp to stock up... and who says adults can't have fun in the summer?!

And thanks to the genius of Willie Sanchez and the encouragement of my boss, Mike Elder, I should be able to post regular updates here throughout the journey!