This Here’s A Story About Paul And Heather…

March 20, 2008

The verdict finally came down for the divorce case of Heather Mills and Paul McCartney. Both sides put forth their cases, and most professional pundits gave forth their opinions on the outcome. Of course, those who were familiar with the case knew that Heather didn’t…uh…have a leg to stand on.

Great, now that that’s out of the way, wee may continue. Under normal circumstances, making fun of the handicapped is a reproachable breach of decorum, a tasteless last bastion of the talentless, humorless hack. On the other hand, it is Heather Mills, and being handicapped and being a gold-digging unrepentant whore cancel each other out.

Granted, we still don’t know all the behind-the-scenes information. Nor do I normally really care all that much. My involvement in the lives of the rich and famous has a pretty sharply declining cliff of interest for me. Without an incredibly graphically detailed description of exactly what it is that a drunken, coked-up Lindsay Lohan does in the darkened hallway of a Lisbon discotheque to earn her reputation as one whose knees are not, in fact, in any danger of permanently getting stuck together, I don’t much care all that much. Cest la vie, and all that, they said, as the Titanic crashed into Gomorrah.

And yet this particular story just irritated me to no end. Not irritated in the same sense that knowing that Social Security isn’t getting fixed or that it’s going to snow at the end of March irritates me, but knowing that there are people out there—undeserving people, mind you—that are getting more than they should ever be rewarded. And Heather Mills seemed to embody that exact, specific demographic.

Mills started off as a mere blip on my cultural radar. It’s not exactly unknown to those who know me that while I will concede that while the Beatles are a cultural icon, I put them right up there with Bear Stears and professional baseball as the single most overrated cultural entity of mankind. Partly it’s the songs—I find that their range of their early bubble-gum pop to their later psychedelic let’s-change-the-world-through-music nonsense has only a small overlapping era of a few years where they produced songs I actually enjoy. Granted, I think the Rolling Stones are overrated, too, but at least they don’t make any pretense about art or world peace or other intangible, unattainable things that sell records but also delude fans into thinking any of it matters. They’re officially known as the E*Trade Rolling Stones, for crying out loud, but at least they’re laughing all the way to the bank, which is more than Ringo Starr can say.

So the trials and tribulations of Paul McCartney’s love life weren’t exactly something I pondered over my toast and mango juice in the morning. I usually concentrate more on crafting new and creative ways to get out of doing any work for that day while still getting paid. So when I offhandedly heard about McCartney finally moving past his beloved Linda, a woman who is a saint because while she couldn’t sing and wasn’t very good within the music industry at least she wasn’t Yoko Ono, I kind of registered that in the back of my mind of things to dredge up from the stormy recesses of my brain if it could ever conceivably help me get in some girl’s pants.

The few times I actually saw Heather I wasn’t impressed. Sure, it’s possible it’s because I only saw her on Larry King Live, which is a painful enough process in and of itself, and it’s possibly that it was the first time I had seen Paul in quite some time, probably since “Band on the Run.” Will I still love him when he’s sixty four? Depends on whether all of his face has to be sixty four. Holy cats, did the doctors just paste big chunks of foam rubber on his face and hope he wouldn’t notice? Anyway, the entire process soured me to Heather, who kind of came off as a bossy witch. (Ahem.) I was willing to write it off at the time that it was because I was watching her try to converse with two extraordinarily old men who didn’t quite seem to grasp the fact that they were, in fact, being broadcast live on television.

But over the next few years my opinion did not approve. Again, I was more than willing to write it off to the grumpiness of someone who has gone through extensive physical trauma in their life, though I kind of assumed marrying a freakin’ Beatle would have been enough of a self-esteem boost. And I was also willing to cut her some slack, not being used to being hounded by the press—and not just the press but the British paparazzi, a relationship that is akin to comparing the jug of stale, fetid water sitting in your garage with an Indian typhoon that’s trying to eat your soul.

As the details of the divorce proceedings came out, though, I turned against the woman. I’m an objective person, or I like to pretend that I am, so I incorporate the fact that I’m probably only getting one side of the story. But somehow I doubt it. Mills maintains that she is not a gold digger, which only proves that she apparently does not exactly know what the definition of a gold digger is. (A good reference for her, by the way: any mirror.) And her protestations that $49 million just wasn’t enough to raise their daughter with—saying, in effect, well, I guess she won’t have enough money to fly home to see daddy—is something that would give any PR executive a heart attack. When she fired her lawyers and represented herself, it may have seemed an aggressive and bold move on her end but really just made her look like a deluded, power-hungry amateur former high-class prostitute and pornographic model. (I’m just sayin’.) The last straw, though, is when, after the verdict, she poured water over the head of Paul’s attorney, the last, desperate, childish act of a desperate, childish woman. And that is all the tasteless justification you need to call her Eileen.

Women Behaving Badly

June 3, 2007

There’s been a sudden rash of young Hollywood starlets who have garnered a lot of attention for substance abuse, misbehaving in public, and a myriad of embarrassing activities. For those of us who are older and don’t subscribe to FHM, it may be helpful to remind ourselves exactly how to differentiate these women when they’re clothed.

And as an aside, it is certainly true that men have had their share of behaving badly. The difference, of course, is that no one actually cares. For this fact alone, Tom Sizemore should get down on his knees every night and pray as hard as he possible can.

Britney Spears
Known For: Transforming herself from innocent jailbait to cosmetically enhanced pop singer
Charges: Not wearing undergarments, maintaining the world’s partnership parity index by marrying a talentless douchbag, perpetuating the redneck stereotype in every manner possible except for the fact that she isn’t hooked on OxyContin. That we know of.
Sentence: For years, Spears was caught intermittently misbehaving, but usually in a child-rearing manner and not a substance abuse manner. After her divorce from K-Fed, however, she fell off the wagon she was never really on in the first place. After one particularly interesting trip and/or bender, she shaved her head, got a wrist tattoo, and who the hell knows what else, prompting a face-saving trip to the rehab center.
What’s Next: While still in rehab, she occasionally performs 15-minute shows, the length of which seems oddly appropriate.
Probable Quote: “Shavin’ my head like Kojak, vomiting up PCP at the MTV Awards, Stepping out of limousines wearin’ nuthin’ but done whut nature gave me…honey, that’s just country.”
Expectations of Future Success: Absent a Mouseketeer reunion, it’s a one-way ticket to Branson, MO for the next forty years.

Paris Hilton
Known For: Being conceived, standing awkwardly, looking relatively good in night vision
Charges: Driving while drunk, corrupting the previously innocent Nicole Ritchie, animal endangerment, existing
Sentence: Actually, this one’s for real. Paris was sentenced to 45 days in jail for signing off a notarized document saying she wouldn’t drive, then she drove, and now she’s going to jail. It will probably only be for 23 days if she’s good. And if she’s bad, a $10 million dollar book deal.
What’s Next: Simple Life 6: Jail and Rehab.
Probable Quote: “I would like to thank everyone for their support during this trying time, especially my friend Nicole, who I hate with a passion unparalleled, and my mother, whose empty soul and ice-covered parenting style properly prepared me for this. [Vomits up an Altoid.]”
Expectations of Future Success: One of these days, one of her boobs is gonna drop, and she’ll be shilling suitcases on the HSN.

Paula Abdul
Known For: Judging other merely adequate singers on their talents, having a string of merely adequate hits for a four-month period back in the late 80’s, sleeping with contestants who have met the stringent requirement of showing up at auditions
Charges: Showing up at interviews sounding about as coherent as an older washed-up sexually frustrated former pop singer can sound. She recently “tripped over her cat,” which seems like a euphemism for something much, much more humorously worse. We’re guessing she fell off a cat scratcher at the Beverly Hills Wal-Mart that she mistook for a stripper pole. But that’s just a guess.
Sentence: She still maintains good relations with her employers at Fox, so her job is for the time secure…but small deviations from her sobriety are likely to spark an avalanche of unfortunate press.
What’s Next: Abdul is teetering on the edge of sobriety as it is. Unless her handlers can control her, she’ll be spending some quality time at Betty Ford with her sponsor MC Skat Kat.
Probable Quote: “I’m going to make this bottle of percocet and fifth of whisky my own!”
Expectations of Future Success: Unless she’s careful, she’ll be out of a job when American Idol goes off the air in 2038.

Lindsay Lohan
Known For: Modeling, singing, being a teenage drama queen, crashing vehicles besides Herbie.
Charges: Drunken driving, snorting cocaine in the bathroom of an exclusive club, having a batshit crazy father, Just My Luck
Sentence: Lohan recently entered rehab after somehow managing to wreck her vehicle into nothing in particular.
What’s Next: Her tenuous stay at rehab will determine what happens next. That, and how often she violates probation by ingesting eighteen pounds of pure Columbian hash before she drives to the Walgreens to get three dozen cases of Robitussin.
Probable Quote: “I have to be careful sometimes. I don’t want to be known as the first young Hollywood actress fall to the temptations of this glamorous lifestyle.”
Expectations of Future Success: It’s a crapshoot depending on her penchant for sobriety: either a lifetime of romantic comedies and the eventual Oscar-winning period drama, or fourth lead in Scary Movie 7.

Mischa Barton
Known For: The OC. Bit part in the Sixth Sense. Not much else.
Charges: Mixing pills and alcohol at a weekend barbeque. Allegedly.
Sentence: A one-night sentence at the hospital with a stomach pump and her publicist. Allegedly.
What’s Next: With the OC cancelled, she’ll have to fall back on her previous career as a model, where mixing pills and alcohol and spending nights with a stomach pump are called “weeknights.”
Probable Quote: “Coming up on Bravo, we’ll look at the celebrities who wore burgundy to the Golden Globes last year, but this year chose lime green! Please kill me.”
Expectations of Future Success: She’ll soon be a leading lady in a successful romantic comedy before too long, given her exceptional acting abilities. Allegedly.

Courtney Love
Known For: Collapsing onstage, copulating with pretty much anything including abstract forms of speech and the music of The Divinyls
Charges: ingesting massive amounts of raw cocaine, potty mouth, murdering her husband
Sentence: Court-ordered drug rehabilitation. She was placed under house arrest and has been granted several probationary periods, something she has gotten very adept at receiving.
What’s Next: She came back to the stage on June 1st, 2007, celebrating her rehabilitation and preparing for another show on June 1st, 2009, which will be the next time she will celebrate her rehabilitation, assuming good behavior.
Probable Quote: “I will have sex for cocaine now. Oh, sorry, ‘forgive me father for I have sinned.’ OK, I will have sex for cocaine now.”
Expectations of Future Success: Depends on the world Dramamine supply.

Road to the Winehouse

May 6, 2007

We don’t do too many personal endorsements here at American Lament. I have a rather personal belief that there is a certain level of subjectivity that affronts all forms of media entertainment, and making such judgments often will elicit equal parts praise and condemnation, and my self-esteem just can’t handle that 50/50 split. But there’s one thing that I’m rather certain about, and that’s the fact that if listening to Amy Winehouse doesn’t cause you to wet your pants with any of the three eligible methods, you are clinically a jackass.

It’s not that Amy Winehouse is a household name in the states. And it’s a bit surprising that I’ve fallen madly and deeply in love with her, since her demographics and genre normally don’t fit into my tastes. As a general rule, anything written, recorded, or produced after approximately 1975 has to meet the increasingly demanding threshold of a J-curve of rockability. And unless a female artist 1) makes me cry, 2) is unafraid of massive displays of cleavage, or, preferably, 3) both, it’s highly doubtful I’m all that interested. And once instruments that require you blow into them to make the appropriate noise required in the song are introduced, there’d better be a color guard unit or a Mexican chain restaurant commercial handy, else I’m gonna be pissed.

And yet Amy Winehouse stands tall and firm atop the crushed skulls of those she has defeated for my heart. Winehouse would hardly fit into my CD collection, which a gay observer once described as “really gay.” I got my first exhilarating taste of Winehouse whilst riding in the car with one of my friends, when the intimately replayable “Rehab” came on. I was transfixed by the throaty vocals, the almost deceptively childish lyrics, and the aggressively forceful meter (or, perhaps, metre).

It was a rather odd thing for me to perk my ears up at. I mean, the songs I usually enjoy listening to involve the inability to receive satisfaction in a sufficient manner or how you cannot change those birds that have had that glorious opportunity to be free. And here it is, emitting through the airwaves, a rather blatant harkening to the days of Phil-Spector-produced manufactured oldies, before he started killing B-movie actresses and using microwaved crude oil as hair gel.

It wasn’t long until I learned a little bit more about her biography. As is the wont for pretty much every rock star ever in the entire course of all of history, she has had repeated issues with drugs and alcohol, often showing up at awards shows and bat mitzvahs for rich professionals either lit up or thumbing rides on passing kites. While she claims that she’s lost weight by hitting the gym more frequently as an alternative to smoking pot (if only!), many assume that repeated offhand comments by catty columnists about her weight tapped into some sort of long-suppressed anorexic and/or bulimic impulse. And she has occasionally reacted violently in embarrassingly public forums, such as heckling Bono and suckerpunching grateful fans. In one fell swoop, then, she has tapped into the angst of elderly African-American blues artists, young blonde starlets, and Madonna ex-husbands all at once.

The most important thing to remember is that Winehouse is attempting to infuse a little bit of originality into the modern music scene. Granted, she’s just kind of ripping off every single girl band from the years 1962-1965, but what form of music isn’t an unashamed plagiarism of style of a form of music that became popular when whites performed it about ten years after blacks perfected it? And the music today, it’s probably yet another boy band or sluttily dressed preteens belting out studio-corrected vaguely defined prevarications about “being together forever” or “living life to the fullest” and spelling words in their song titles like they’re sending a telegram that costs by the syllable. The jazz-inspired songs of Winehouse are a fusion of many of these things, but with the attitude of not wanting to sound like everybody else. While this hasn’t necessarily translated into commercial success, of course—and, let’s face it, it never does—it’s caught the critics’ eyes and has made her a remarkably prescient music entity in the Commonwealth.

Still, one can only hope that this errant strain of creativity will continue to produce ever-increasing results. Listening to one of Amy Winehouse’s full albums, alas, makes one wonder if her drum machine is rented by the bridge, and the smooth, tender vocals make you eventually believe that significantly more depressants might actually make her sound much brighter. One suspects that if things don’t become a bit more diverse by the third album, she’ll be relegated to coffee shop muzak and a coaching slot on American Idol 14. Still, rumor has it she’s one of the select few to be chosen to compose a James Bond title track, so she’ll always have that. At least in the context of a second-rate moderately successful artist with more exposure on British late-night tabloid shows than on the actual live radio or album sales, if you’re a Jewish British faux-little-l-lesbian jazz artist, you can make it big in this world.

A Blonde Descent

February 18, 2007

Sometimes, I lie awake at night and hope that things, when taken in the full context of our times, used to be a lot, lot worse. There is some unended chapter in the 1960’s or ’70’s, where, if we were to invent some form of time machine and take a virtual snapshot on some camera, no doubt developed by Apple (presumably called the iTime iCamera or something) and find that things were much, much crazier and more hedonistic than they are now. I do, I lie awake at night and I hope.

Not that it’s going to do any good, of course.

I’m not one to usually follow the various self-inflicted trials of celebrities. Sure, I’ll listen with amusement at the latest television star to be caught in an affair, and I’ll laugh heartily as another movie star gets caught with a DUI, and I’ll scratch my forehead in puzzlement at yet another nightclub shooting. Actually, I like hearing about how people who make more undeserved money than me screw up, because then when I put the coffee filter in wrong or forget to mail the mortgage payment I can smile mildly to myself in a self-congratulatory sense of entitlement. At least I didn’t pass out drunk at a truss boutique on Rodeo Drive.

But lately the absolute frequency and intensity of misbehaving young starlets seems to point more towards the supply end of the graph than the demand. Sure, it’s great to see some young blonde get her (ahem) comeuppance, but when everyone’s doing it, no one is shamed. And there’s much more by way of surprises than I’m comfortable with.

Anna Nicole Smith’s behavior has been reliably unfavorable, a remarkable feat for a woman who has been dead for at least week. She has an ambiguous, incoherent will that is going to tie up the probate courts for (no doubt) decades, though one has to concede that it’s still more lucid than anything she’s verbalized in the last ten years or so.

The newest problem child is Britney Spears, whose increasingly erratic behavior has raised more than a few eyebrows in…well, pretty much the studio of Access Hollywood and maybe per parents’ house. But even her latest adventures are close to slapping the “crazy” tab on her. After a few days of rehab rumors swirling about the tabloids, she shows up at a modest tattoo parlor and demanded to have some body art added to her already remarkably tousled appearance, specifically on her wrists. Now, I’ve never been very fascinated by tattoos—not on myself or others—and it’s not from some fear of needles or, more logically, hepatitis, it’s just that I have an inherent aversion to activities with little positive contribution to someone’s well-being and an extremely expensive opt-out cost, in this case presumably successive skin grafts or some Star Trek laser they developed at the Robert Schuller Deprogramming Clinic and Health Food Laboratory, Inc. But if there was one place I would not want to have a tattoo—besides, you know, there—is the wrist. There’s just too much in the over/under in that transaction to make me think a permanent body art representation of a Chinese proverb that unbeknownst to me really means “I Crave It From Behind” is best displayed on one of the weakest areas of your blood flow continuum.

Of course, you would think that the story would stop there, but if you did, you not only haven’t been watching a television in the past fourteen centuries or, hopefully and more likely, you have successfully blocked out all reports containing information about Spears as a colossal waste of time and effort for everyone involved in society. (Which, by the way, means you shouldn’t be reading this right now.) Previous to receiving her tattoo, Spears took a razor from a conveniently nearby salon and shaved off all of her hair. This, of course, being somewhat of a shame, since Spears’s hair seems to be the last part of her body that hasn’t been sold out to the highest bidder.

If there is one look that is pretty much confirmed as not being particularly unbecoming, the female bald look is it. It didn’t particularly work for Sinead O’Conner, the only other pop star who deliberately shaved her head to make up for her talent of not having any talent. It’s not hard to believe that she’s doing it in a moment of guilt and weakness to desexualize herself after effectively whoreing out her wholesome image at the expense of her dignity, and wants to bring back even a small modicum of self-respect to her new role as a mother. Either that or she has lice.

This stands in stark contrast to her perceived arch-rival in the total skankification competition, Christina Aguilera. Spending the last few years in kind of a low-key, whore detox schedule, Aguilera managed to redeem herself with a presentation at the James Brown tribute at the 2007 Grammys. In what has generally been a well-received performance, she belted out “It’s A Man’s World” with such force and enthusiasm it can only be assumed that she either had to pass a kidney stone or trying to sweat out the gin, either of which could be perfectly amenable to be a fitting emulation to the Godfather of Soul.

It’s hard to bring up that much moral outrage about all these young girls. Since Hollywood cracked open its doors almost a century ago, young actors and actresses have misbehaved publicly and brutally ever since Clara Bow’s amazing display of muscular conditioning and gastronomical tolerance in terms of volume astounded the world, or at least the collegiate football system. It’s no wonder than they succumb to the pressures of stardom, but it does add a little bit of perspective as to how things work in our society. When Russell Crowe goes on a four-day bender and leers at the teenagers down at the mall after suckerpunching the waitress at Appleby’s, it’s on the news for the next three weeks and adds a few million dollars to his asking price. When our Uncle Jim does it, we call it Tuesday.

Anna Nicole Smith, RIP

February 10, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith, actress, model, and control group for intelligence, has died. Parts of her were 39.

Smith, a former Playmate of the Year, has had a reasonably seasoned and controversial career as a model. Her unique mix of outrageous behavior and girl-next-door innocence made her a celebrity. But her dramatic home life, which she made no effort whatsoever to keep from the public eye, enhanced her popularity beyond Brangelinic proportions.

The death of Smith by a probable drug overdose has surprised many people, the same people who were surprised at the fact that Hillary Clinton is running for president. It’s an unfortunate fact that Smith has had a long, public battle with substance abuse, one of the many, many hurdles she has had to work to overcome in her life, along with obesity, grammar construction, and being Texan.

Smith’s goal in life was to emulate Marilyn Monroe. In many ways, she succeeded by becoming a blonde sex bombshell, causing controversy with her sexual openness, and having a cyanide capsule anally inserted into her body by the mafia to cover up an affair with Bobby and Jack Kennedy.

Granted, their career paths differed in many ways as well. For instance, Marilyn Monroe has been on record as being able to successfully tie her shoes without there being a step involving inserting ground up coca leaves in her nose. And when Marilyn had sexual relations with Hugh Hefner in order to get on the cover of his magazine, it didn’t require significant pharmaceuticals to be injected directly into both of their bloodstreams in order for them to finish to completion, though for completely different reasons altogether.

Smith has somehow managed to become a legitimate figure not for her occasionally coherent outbursts or her limited acting roles, but through the behavior of her quixotic marriage to an oil tycoon, the WASPishly named J. Howard Marshall. Despite there being a 60-plus year difference in their ages, Smith professed that she loved him with the same amount of conviction in her voice that she uses when proclaiming that TrimSpa isn’t just a placebo that tastes like cough syrup and sawdust.

A golddigger marriage isn’t enough, in and of itself, to legitimize Smith—if it was, half the women in the world would be on the front page of the New York Post. However, when Marshall did something entirely unexpected—die at the age of 90—then it became a newsworthy item. Smith and Marshall’s family have fought a decade-long battle for his estate, which totaled in the billions. The escalating legal battle went all the way up to the Supreme Court, and much was made in the media of the admittedly lightweight Smith walking into one of the most austere institutions in America’s government. Many pundits were concerned that Smith may not feel comfortable in such a serious, grandiose setting. Thankfully, despite the Supreme Court’s honorable tradition, there was, indeed, plenty to make her feel at home; Clarence Thomas kept a stripper pole in his chambers, William Rehnquist kept a full stock of amphetamines hidden in his top drawer, and her and Ruth Bader Ginsburg discussed their favorite lap dancing techniques.

Alas, the court case is only a small part of the drama. She recently gave birth to a daughter while in the Bahamas, and only a few days later her son, Daniel, died of a drug overdose while visiting his newborn sister in the hospital. Then, the paternity of the daughter came into question. Smith declared her lawyer, Howard K. Stern (he insists on using his middle initial so as not to damage his, uh, reputation) to be the father, but a few others seem to have a valid claim for parentage, notably Larry Birkhead, Frederic von Anhalt, and, at least statistically likely, Kevin Federline.

Smith’s descent, unlike most people, was televised, and usually with her encouragement. She appeared on many of the entertainment magazines and awards shows with slurred speech and ambiguous statements. Her reality TV program, The Anna Nicole Show, was a surreal look into her private life, which seemed to chiefly revolve around her dog Sugar Pie having amorous feelings towards unfortunate inanimate objects. While it introduced many characters in this unfolding real-life drama, such as Stern and Daniel, it also opened up an entirely new view into the weirdness that was her life. In ways, it was funny, but it was mostly sad. (In case you’re wondering, both funny and sad make plenty of money.)

Still, many people are legitimately saddened by her passing, while others are irritated that this is more than a one-day story. The seemingly disproportionate interest in the tawdry is hardly a new development, yet Anna Nicole Smith walked that fine line between Cracker Jack prize and cultural icon, never quite slumping drunkenly one way or the other. Unlike other notorious deaths, however, it’s the sad fact that for most people her real legacy will probably be bounced around the 9th circuit court of appeals for the next decade or so. For the rest, her legacy will live on as long as that May 1992 issue is floating around.

…One Giant Leap For Moonbat Crazy Women

February 6, 2007

Money. Sex. Love Betrayed. Extramarital affairs. Astronautical engineering.

The story of US Navy Captain Lisa Nowak is somewhat sad, though that certainly does not preclude us from laughing at her. A successful astronaut, Nowak has rapidly descended from well-respected scientist to accused attempted murderer, a public disgrace unmatched since every comment about every quarterback on every losing team for every Super Bowl game ever played.

Society expects those people who have attained a rather remarkable amount of specialized talent, such as physics, calculus, or TiVo, to also have a certain level of common sense. Occasional classroom massacres aside, those kids who broke the curve on that bear of a trig test in tenth grade tended to be quiet and not prone to second degree assault against imaginary rivals for their love interest, at least outside of the context of the latest EverQuest campaign. Yet when something like what happened to Nowak occurs, we begin to doubt our own selves…if a NASA scientist can go crazy on someone when she’s on the rag, what does that mean for the rest of us?

Nowak was charged a few days ago with attempted murder. She found out that a fellow trainee was pursuing a relationship with a NASA engineer, and, being the jealous type, decided to drive from Houston to Orlando to confront the other woman. Apparently, however, the logistics of love triangles aren’t in the NASA entrance exam, since by her own admission she had no type of relationship beyond professional with the man involved. This made the triangle a bit more like a straight line with an unwanted and uninvited dot somewhere on I-10. Though, really, I think it would be hard to tell. One can only imagine how NASA scientists hit on each other.

Engineer: Station, we seem to have some kind of interference. I can’t seem to get a clear signal from you.
Lab Assistant: Responding. What are your chances of success?
Engineer: There appears to be a 79% chance of me getting to first base with you tonight if I can grab a case of Kendall-Jackson. What’s your status?
Lab Assistant: Affirmative.

After assaulting the Kind Of But Not Really Other Woman, Nowak was found with an alarmingly varied set of tools. The police found a trench coat and black wig (the refuge of those whose only exposure to espionage is by watching old Pink Panther cartoons), a BB gun (apparently in case she needed to really, really cause a sharp, irritating pain to someone at the point of attack), a 4-inch buck knife she no doubt borrowed off of any 9-year-old boy from anywhere in the world, a brand new steel mallet, black gloves, rubber tubing, pepper spray, and (of course) a bag of diapers. Most people seem to have been puzzled by the diapers (when I find out that a woman has procured any item from the personal hygiene aisle, I immediately stop asking questions) but I, personally, am more puzzled by the steel mallet and rubber tubing. Was this some half-remembered dream from her glory days as a gold medal winner at the Olympics of the Mind? Is this some third-rate Apprentice task with no known goal? Is there some NASA fraternity we’re all better off not knowing about?

Physicist: OK, if you want to join, you have to find a way to assault your imaginary friend’s imaginary lover with nothing more than a steel mallet, rubber tubing, and one hunting accessory of your choice.
Nowak: Can I bring diapers?
Physicist: That’s it. You’re out.

Before this unfortunate incident, Nowak was a reasonably experienced astronaut. She has been in orbit, making one trip to the International Space Station in 2006. In retrospect, it should have been obvious then as it is now how foolishly insane she was when she demanded to make interstratospherical phone calls to her husband every three hours to “see who picks up”. (Several profiles seem to make a point that Nowak is the “first Italian-American to be in space,” apparently there being a heretofore untold story of discrimination against Italians in the space program. Otherwise, it seems a designation that is about as remarkable as, say, being the first Irish-American to do his taxes, or the first WASP to wear sneakers.)

Alas, for Nowak, the vagaries of the criminal justice system are not looking kindly towards her. She was originally charged simply with kidnapping, intended assault with random hardware store appliances apparently not a crime in the state of Florida (though, with the track record in Dade County and Palm Beach, there apparently aren’t many things that are classified as a crime in Florida). After finding the gun and establishing that she paid everything with cash, though, it was determined to be attempted murder, a much worse crime than kidnapping by any standards outside of Singapore.

Still if there is any redeeming value out of the entire sorry episode, it’s a small parable that we can find somewhat comforting: it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to be a crazy bitch.