Rick Sanchez is usually a straight-forward, if shouty, news anchor. But tonight while filling in for Campbell Brown, Sanchez could barely contain his excitement over pictures of the Underwear Bomber's blasted briefs, obtained just minutes before by CNN.

Since Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab blew up his pants Christmas Day, we've learned much about his wealthy Nigerian father and Yemeni Al Qaeda connections. (Tonight, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attack.) We've fretted over the predictable warmongering and absurd air travel restrictions prompted by the attacks. But tonight, Sanchez was all about Abdulmutallab's crazy shredded underwear:

After its first couple appearances, patterns began emerging from the underwear; it became a sort of Rorschach blotter made of stained cotton and snapped elastic. Was it a graceful dove? An avenging angel of death? Two wine glasses or a pair of faces looking at each other? We began to understand Sanchez's weird fascination, as all our hopes and fears about the upcoming decade seemed reflected in those destroyed briefs.

After Sanchez, Larry King also started his program with CNN's underwear shots. (Which have also been picked up by ABC and NBC News, thought not with nearly as much fanfare.) Unfortunately, the air-tight vacuum tube CNN keeps them in must not have made it to King's studio in time


We are eagerly awaiting Rick Sanchez's response to the inevitable Strap-On Bomber.