As we sat here earlier this evening in our dank garret, cultivating our Weltschmerz and staring at the bleak gray wall that seals us off from the enveloping darkness, it occurred to us that the diaper has been wrung dry.
We defer to no citizen in our naked yearning to learn more of the proceedings, yet it’s painfully clear that the Lisa Nowak saga has rounded into a cul-de-sac, for the time being, and there most likely will be nothing new (as in “news”) or titillating (as in “news”) forthcoming until the love-sick space gal inevitably pleads out to avoid residence in the Florida penal system.
Now all we can do is await the arrival of next week’s People magazine with its sprightly written rehash of Nowak’s breakdown, which surely will be followed in a matter of mere weeks by Texas Monthly’s slickly parsed rendering of What It All Means, We Think.
Oh, and we can’t wait for those Bum Steer Awards.
Actually, we had this dim recognition on Wednesday evening, when Channel 11 aired footage of a FedEx man delivering a package---from Dr. Phil, he told the reporter---to Nowak’s empty Clear Lake house, part of the station’s effort to fill up the six or seven opening minutes of its 6 p.m. newscast devoted to the astronaut’s bad trip. We had been following the story with considerable anxiety since the news first broke Monday and anchor lad Greg Hurst told us to “stick with Channel 11 throughout the evening” for all the latest updates, as if Nowak were a Category 5 hurricane and our continued well-being required us to remain attentive to the TV news. Somehow, weatherman Neil Frank stayed calm even as he set his satellite in motion and detected no trace of Nowak blowing in from the east.
The premature death of Anna Nicole Smith (and boy, is People going to be torn over next week’s cover) slowed Channel 11 only a step in its pursuit of all things Nowak, as Thursday’s broadcast brought footage of yet another FedEx man ringing the doorbell but this time apparently being successful in the delivery of the package said to be from Dr. Phil, as well as a close-up of a license plate of a car parked in Nowak’s driveway by a fellow astronaut or somebody like that---a car that the station determined to be rented!
We cite Channel 11 simply because it’s the station we watch, and it’s the station we watch because it has the best reporters and the smartest newscasts, despite the losses of Jerome Gray and Lisa Foronda and the continued presence of Hurst and his strangely wooden sidekick, Len Cannon. We’re sure the other stations were much less adept at filling their Nowak quota.
Yet even after all the overkill it appears that no one has conclusively established that there was an actual “love triangle,” since the alleged sides of the triangle wisely are not talking to the media, and even the key element of sex has not been corroborated, although a 900-mile drive in plastic underbritches would suggest that sex---and damn good sex!---was definitely a factor. (And if true it looks as if this guy Oefelein had a thing for redheads--—be sure to put that on Friday’s story budget.)
Speaking of sex, both the Chronicle’s SciGuy blogger and Slate endeavored to answer the Nowak-inspired question of whether sex in outer space is possible and, if so, has such actually occurred. SciGuy reaches no firm conclusion but, based on a perhaps too-close reading of a book by Apollo 11's Michael Collins, strongly suggests that one astronaut or another has spilled some of his Right Stuff in a bout of earth-orbital jerking-off (not his term).
That’s all well and good, but we’re afraid SciGuy had taken a decidedly heterocentric approach to the question of zero-gravity canoodling, with his references to conception and married astronauts and so forth. Perhaps a sensitivity sit-down with the Cultural Coach is in order.
What of the possibilities of two guys firing their re-entry rockets while wafting about the capsule, or, even better (at least from our point of view), two (or three!) Very Hot Ladies of NASA locked in a love ball high above our blue planet?
Let us leave no angle unexplored as we square our shoulders and stroll bravely into this post-Nowakian World.
Related: Freakonomics co-author Stephen Dubner wonders why all the fuss over Nowak and receives many explanations. The best is "because we're bored." Even with that war still going on over in Whatchamacallit.