Apr 23, 2007 | 7:58 AM PST
Tags: OTL, OTL
Pericles Cici Burnett Spielberg, Pericles, Cici, LOOP, REDNECK
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So this past weekend, as my husband and I were gearing up
for a bike-ride down the C&O Canal, I found an old pouch I used to carry
around with me for work. It had a jumble of little adaptors and cables in it. I
started emptying it out so I could use it for water bottles and stuff and among
the tools and gadgets it carried, I found a small notebook. The book looked
vaguely familiar because there was a time when I would regularly jot down notes
and thoughts while I was stuck at some 14-hour stake-out on the job. I opened
the book to find the beginnings of what looked like a Spanish dictionary. A few
pages were dedicated to nouns, a few to adjectives, a few to verbs, where I had
written a Spanish word next to its English counterpart.
I could immediately date this book. It was from 1998/1999 when I was a full-time
freelancer at CNN (we called ourselves “perma-lancers” at the time) and my
partner in crime was a Bolivian man with whom I spent endless hours chasing
Monica Lewinsky. We had become the go-to “follow crew” for a while. (The
networks were afraid to use the word “chase” as it would imply that we were
aggressive or taking unnecessary risks for our news coverage.) We were really
good at “following,” though. We bought radio scanners and would listen in on
the ABC motorcycle couriers as they tracked Monica’s every move. When we could
predict where her limo was headed, we’d try to find the best route and get
there before the other network “follow crews.” As pathetically paparazzi as it
sounds, I have to admit the adrenaline rush was quite a kick at times. My partner’s
Toyota 4-Runner was definitely put to the test. We’d make illegal U-turns,
crossing four lanes of traffic to swerve into a service lane, cars braking and
honking at us as we jumped out of the truck, leaving it running, doors flung
wide open while we ran full-tilt crazy down the street with camera and sound
gear. Getting that three-second shot of a young woman walking from her car into
a building seemed like such an important goal at the time. All the DC crews
knew it was ridiculous, but we played along with the game, seeing how many of
us could get those money shots.
Now, DC is unlike any other town in that the Network crews don’t really care
too much about competition. We’re used to cooperating with one another, sharing
footage, taking turns being the “Pool” cameras for certain events. We all know
one another’s names, take care of one another if someone is missing a cable or
needs to borrow a mic, a tape, or even a battery. We often spend more hours
sitting around jabbering on location than doing actual work, so the camaraderie
is quite strong. So even in the extreme case of following this so-called “Big”
news story, even while we were desperately scrambling for scraps, all the crews
were still working with one another so that we could ALL get a shot to send
back to our bureaus. I remember running down 15th Street full speed and
twisting backwards to duck, skittering my feet so that I wouldn’t run through
another crew’s shot. I remember calling out to another crew, “THIS WAY!!!”
because I knew a short cut through an alley that would cut Monica’s car off at
the pass and I didn’t want to see my friends miss their shot. It was actually
quite a fun time. But for every minute spent “following,” there were hours upon
hours of waiting. And so we would talk. I believe there are no better, more
skilled, more entertaining bullsh*tters than DC television crews. Everyone has
a hilarious story to tell. And everyone has a smart-ass remark in response to
the other person’s hilariously-told story. So whether we were hanging out in
front of the Watergate or the District Court House, there was usually something
entertaining going on to pass the time.
There were some quieter moments, though, when we were waiting, stuck inside
that 4-Runner and that’s when the Spanish lessons kicked in. My partner was
arrogant enough that he enjoyed playing the ‘teacher’ role with me. My little
dictionary was actually quite good. If I had stuck with the Spanish lessons and
actually tried to teach myself further, I may have eventually understood my
partner’s phone conversations a bit more. I could tell when he was talking
about me, but I was never quite sure what he was saying. How do you say, “Pain
in the ass” in Spanish? I’m guessing he used that phrase a lot. Yes, that
little notebook brought back some good memories for me. The more I think about
that time, the more absurdities I can remember. I wish I had written all of
them down. Finding that notebook only reminds me that I should be jotting
things down more often. All the details of today fade so quickly. It’s nice to
be able to capture them somehow.
Member Comments: 64
Apr 23, 2007 | 8:31 AM PST
If you ride as far as Harpers Ferry, go to the OUTFITTER
on Main Street.
My Friends Ron and Laura own and run it, tell them LION KING said hello.
Lion King is my Hiking Name in the hiking community...sorta like STEWIE
Apr 23, 2007 | 8:36 AM PST
Fantastic story, cici!
It sounds to me like you had the coolest job in the world- one I could only
fantasize about having. In fact, I fantasized so much about being an on-the-run
photojournalist that I even made a film about it! "I-News" was my
entry to On The Lot. (Like how I managed to slip that self-promotion in there?)
Say, did you ever see this news release about Monica? Better make it a separate
comment. It's a bit of a mouthful...
Apr 23, 2007 | 8:37 AM PST
Apr 23, 2007 | 8:38 AM PST
Things came to a head last week and the name Monica
Lewinsky is fast becoming a real mouthful at the White House. The latest news
about President Clinton is definitely hard to swallow and seems certain to
leave a nasty taste in the mouth of the current administration. It will be some
time before all the stains resulting from this issue are removed from the Oval
Monica Lewinsky has proved to be not as tight lipped as Clinton had hoped and
is expected to spit out the truth to a Grand Jury tomorrow. She will surely go
down in history for her orations concerning the comings and goings behind the
doors of the Oval Office. Monica was apparently on her knees when she received
the recent gagging order from the White House and now has to decide whether to
swallow her pride and dispose of the evidence, or to succumb to the deep
throated rumblings of the Washington Press Corp. and spill the issue wide open.
Any attempt by Lewinsky to suck up to Clinton can only be construed as lip
service and Clinton would be advised to try and minimize the impact of this,
the latest in a long series of blows he has received since coming to power.
Despite this latest blow, job security for the President seems to be assured,
as he can rely on his proven oral skills to promote a career in public
speaking, being, as he has often shown, a cunning linguist. (Although Hillary
Clinton may disagree with this, as she claims she is rarely on the end of a
tongue lashing from Bill!)
Last edited by videowilliams on April 23rd at 8:43 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 8:39 AM PST
I was posting the same as you!
You're making me chuckle again!!
Apr 23, 2007 | 8:40 AM PST
Miss Lewinsky is from a naval background and her choice
of Bill Clinton as a lover is somewhat surprising, given her preference for
seamen. According to her lawyer, Miss Lewinsky likes to see men in power and
relished the thought of taking a length of time to chew things over with the
President, whenever she could fit him in. And the President was equally keen to
see Miss Lewinsky, always putting on a spurt when he entered her office. Miss
Lewinsky has apparently been offered a PR job by Listerine, who described her
as spunky enough for any job. Her name has also been associated with Big Gulp
soda advertising and Kleenex.
Last edited by videowilliams on April 23rd at 8:51 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 8:40 AM PST
(stomping feet and clapping)
Apr 23, 2007 | 8:41 AM PST
I love it when you clap.
Apr 23, 2007 | 8:42 AM PST
This is why I am a huge Dave Williams fan!!!!
Apr 23, 2007 | 8:42 AM PST
Apr 23, 2007 | 8:45 AM PST
Tiny confession, cici- um- I didn't actually write that.
But I'm happy it sucked you in.
Apr 23, 2007 | 8:56 AM PST
I knew it was an old "article," but that
doesn't stop me from loving you for posting it!!
A good laugh is a good laugh!
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:04 AM PST
I bet it was written by one of your journalist friends...
Last edited by videowilliams on April 23rd at 9:08 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:09 AM PST
Cici...I wish my DC job was as exciting as yours. ;-)
Dave....um, that story was a rather large ejaculation and a bit hard to
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:13 AM PST
I'm starting to tear up over here.
Dawn, you're hilarious!
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:17 AM PST
I was wondering when you'd open your mouth on the subject,
Posting a joke like that around you is like throwing chum in the water near
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:19 AM PST
Look at Dave....living in a glass house.
How are those stones?
Cici...I love making you laugh ;-)
Last edited by DawnAkemi on April 23rd at 9:20 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:22 AM PST
Little Miss Innocent bats her eyelids sweetly, and
prepares to out-gross us all...
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:27 AM PST
By the time I finsh reading Cici's blog and I follow the
thread to the end, any response or comments is soooo irrelevent after a couple
BTW, I'm trying to get a wiki story going on my blog. Go contribute. Copy and
paste the last entry into your new one.
Yes Cici, take notes. I don't know about you but my mind is a dry erase board.
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:27 AM PST
Ow. Is that the best you got...I was expecting something
clever. Perhaps its a bit early in the day. Maybe you should do some brain sit
ups to wake up and get a good knife to sharpen your wit.
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:28 AM PST
Its a party on Cici's blog :-D
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:30 AM PST
Dawn, I find your criticisms very hard to swallow.
It is early here, however, so you have me on my knees.
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:32 AM PST
You look quite nice that way, Dave....
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:35 AM PST
You've delivered some heavy blows...
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:37 AM PST
If my rough play has been taken too far, then I apologize
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:43 AM PST
Ha- I'm just getting started on you, Dawn...
Did you hear about the psychology tests done to see if dogs have the
personalities of their owners?
Psych man calls in 3 dogs: architect's dog, mathematician's dog and an actor's
He lines then up in 'sit' position in his office. Calls the architect's dog to
the centre of the room and throws down a bag full of bones. The dog quick as a
flash, builds a house with them.
He puts the dog back to the sideline and brings the mathematician's dog to the
centre of the room and throws him a bag of bones. The dog arranges them to read
E = MC (squared).
Very very good.
Next the actor's dog is brought to the centre of the room and thrown the bag of
bones. The actor's dog eats all the bones, f*cks the other 2 dogs and asks to
Last edited by videowilliams on April 23rd at 9:46 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:46 AM PST
Very funny, Dave. Bet you didn't write that joke either.
Note to self: Do not let Dave appeal to my sensitivities!
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:48 AM PST
Yeah, I'm sorry. Plagiarism sucks. I'm looking for
something that'll blow you out of the water, but nothing's coming!
Let me take a big gulp and try again...
Last edited by videowilliams on April 23rd at 9:50 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:49 AM PST
This is you, Dawn:
Do you know what that is?
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:50 AM PST
That's cause I'm a strong swimmer.
Perhaps you need some viagra....
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:51 AM PST
Apr 23, 2007 | 9:58 AM PST
I need viagra? Are you kidding? Honey, my swizzle-stick's
so big right now it's affecting the tides.
My swizzle stick's so big, there's a shoe called "AIR my swizzle
My swizzle stick's so big, I'd throw it over my shoulder to wear as a tie, but
I'm too afraid of getting a hard on and choking myself.
...No wonder you're intimidated, despite your big mouth...
Last edited by videowilliams on April 23rd at 10:03 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:00 AM PST
This is a regular ass:
And this is you- a smart ass:
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:01 AM PST
Ooooooh! The big scary swizzle stick, its like a club.
Don't beat me with your swizzle stick Mr. Videowilliams, I promise to be good.
(cowering fearfully, eyes wide, lips trembling)
Last edited by DawnAkemi on April 23rd at 10:02 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:04 AM PST
Dave: And this is you- a smart ass:
I guess that's better than being a dumb ass.
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:05 AM PST
Try putting "trembling" where "wide"
is, and "wide" where "trembling" is, and you'll be onto
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:06 AM PST
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:07 AM PST
OMG!!! That's so rude! Some people have no boundries
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:10 AM PST
Poor Cici...she starts this nice little blog dedicated to
a fond remembrance, and we take it into the dregs.
And by "we", I mean the royal "we" as in "you".
Last edited by DawnAkemi on April 23rd at 10:11 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:11 AM PST
You should know all about bad taste.
Say, what were you referring to on Pericles' blog when you referred to a
childhood experience with gin leaving a bad taste in your mouth?
Last edited by videowilliams on April 23rd at 10:44 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:12 AM PST
And yes, I was wondering where cici'd run off to!
Last edited by videowilliams on April 23rd at 10:13 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:16 AM PST
When I was about 13 or 14, my girlfriend and I stole a
5th of gin from the drugstore....it was Beefeater Gin and we picked it cause we
liked the image of the British guard and because the liquid was clear, thought
it would be more like water. I was once very naive.
She spent the night in my home and we proceeded to guzzle the whole bottle.
Needless to say, both of us were sick like dogs. And the taste of gin has never
appealed to me since. I've tried to like it.
Last edited by DawnAkemi on April 23rd at 10:18 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:19 AM PST
My first experience of that kind was at 18 (we grow up
slower down here) and I was drinking Coca Cola at a friend's place, laced with
whiskey. Next thing I knew, I was semi-unconscious on a couch, and this girl
was gently stroking my hair saying "You're all right. You're still
I never found out who she was.
Last edited by videowilliams on April 23rd at 10:21 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:21 AM PST
Those kinds of experiences make me wonder why I still
like to drink ;-)
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:22 AM PST
I had my first hangover the next day. I thought I was
dying. And every hangover since then, I swear I'll never drink again.
(says he, refilling his bourbon glass)
Last edited by videowilliams on April 23rd at 10:24 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:25 AM PST
Upon further reflection, my gin experience happened at
16. The memory is a rather fuzzy place.
Last edited by DawnAkemi on April 23rd at 10:26 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:27 AM PST
Especially after alcohol!
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:28 AM PST
More substances than alcohol fuzz my memory I'm
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:29 AM PST
GARRISON: We're going back into the case, Lou. Now who
was that source of yours from three years ago, Bill?
BILL: Hell, I can't even remember last night, boss, let alone three years
...I'm very fond of that exchange.
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:30 AM PST
And don't even get me started on other substances.
How appropriate that I just raised Oliver Stone!
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:31 AM PST
Well, children, the real world beckons!
This has been a real mouthful and a rather viscous, slippery affair.
Until we meet again ;-)
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:32 AM PST
Serendipidy is a marvelous thing.
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:32 AM PST
Last edited by videowilliams on April 23rd at 10:34 AM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:36 AM PST
Well, whaddaya know? She actually gave me the last word.
Apr 23, 2007 | 10:44 AM PST
Last edited by DawnAkemi on April 23rd at 12:01 PM.
Apr 23, 2007 | 11:32 AM PST
Hi I'm a persecuted Jew with a gun to my head -- someone
Apr 23, 2007 | 12:19 PM PST
Man, why is it that I always get sent to go somewhere
just as the party gets started?? Darn having a day job!
Well, it's quite hard on me that I missed the climax of this stiff discussion,
but I sit in the after-glow of satisfaction knowing that such stimulating
interactions were happening on my blog!
I love you guys!!!!!!!
Apr 23, 2007 | 4:55 PM PST
I was late for the party too. Got a great joke to tell though.
I'm gonna save it for BLEEP. It's a good one. An old boyfriend told it, at one
of our drinking and smoking parties many years ago...
YES I WAS IN MY TWENTIES ONCE!!!
Apr 23, 2007 | 6:13 PM PST
Hey there, RG!
I will head over to BLEEP to hear your joke!
I have no doubt it's a GREAT one!!!!
Apr 24, 2007 | 12:32 AM PST
Cici, that's such a great story -- it's as if you
excavated a jewel from your own life.
Have you ever thought of writing it up as an essay and publishing it?
Sixty comments -- you're the grooviest!
Apr 24, 2007 | 6:37 AM PST
Thank you so much, SallySue!!! I am so flattered!
The thought did occur to me years ago to try to tell some of the crazy news
crew stories that I and my crew friends experienced. I thought about writing
short TV show-type scripts, but couldn't think how they would ever get
produced, so I guess I kinda dropped that idea. The essay idea sounds better,
though. Do you think anyone would publish a series of stories like that?
Hmmm... You've got me thinking now, Michele. Thank you!!!
Apr 24, 2007 | 6:40 AM PST
Has anyone seen my glasses?
Apr 24, 2007 | 6:47 AM PST
Man, I forgot about Harrison's glasses!!!!
Hey, that's an excuse for me to go downtown today and see you!! Heehee.
Apr 25, 2007 | 2:11 AM PST
You're very welcome! Absolutely..write them up and send
them around. I think it's a nifty idea.