The Wrong Stuff - Pt. 2
Monday, September 10, 2007

Continued from:

The Name Game
As with many news stories I’ve noticed of late, the names of the players are almost as much fun, er, almost as interesting as the stories themselves. And of course, this story will never be complete until we have a TV movie made of it, or two (let’s not ignore the obvious parallels to the Amy Fisher case), so I’ve taken the liberty of making some casting suggestions as we go.

Danielle Tavernier , mentioned above, is the spokeswoman for the state attorney’s office. This would be a great straight line to make fun of NASA’s Drunk in Space Astronaut problems.

Dunston Checks In
As an undergraduate she competed on the track team. Greg Dunston , Nowak's high school track coach , said she was a bright, driven honors student -- and always very focused on her dream of being an astronaut. "It seems so out of character," said Dunston, echoing her family's sentiment. "She's such a warm person to be around -- caring, always smiling." And disciplined, too. "If she had a bad day," Dunston said, "she would talk herself out of it." Not always it seems.

Ryan Forkert , the top administrator at Luxmanor Elementary School, said Nowak returned to the area last fall as the featured speaker at various schools.

"I think folks are shocked and concerned," said Robert Cabana , the Johnson Space Center's deputy director and a fellow astronaut. "We are a close-knit group, and we try to support one another.

NASA spokesman John Ira Petty at Johnson Space Center in Houston said he was concerned about the people involved and their families. But, he added, "We try not to concern ourselves with our employees' personal lives."

**Waitaminnit! Double take. Double talk . “We are a close-knit group, and we try to support one another” but “we try not to concern ourselves with our employees' personal lives.”**

Shana Dale, NASA deputy administrator, said the agency will look at Nowak's history closely to see if "we missed anything along the way. This is an unusual situation " Okay the name’s not funny but the quote was.

War of the Roses

"We knew Lisa was under a lot of stress," says Nowak's younger sister Andrea Rose , a lawyer . "But there's no way of knowing how a particular person will react to stress. We love Lisa and we're worried about her well-being."
"We're just trying to figure out how to get her the help she needs," said Jonathan Rose , Nowak's brother-in-law. "She was someone who played by the rules. To say this is out of character would be a gross understatement."

Navy Captain Lisa Nowak—Rosie-Cheeked to Red-Handed (with a Yellow Streak thrown in)

Here are Nowak’s defense attorneys: Cheney Mason and Donald Lykkebak.

Cheney Mason So hard to wrap my mind around this one.

Donald Lykkebak Lickback?

Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman (Shouldn’t a shipman be in the Navy?)
Neighbors affectionately call her "the little general " because she is so petite. Don’t know if I’d like that if it were me…

"It is just so bizarre," said Babette Merchant . "She is one of the sweetest people I have ever known, and she certainly didn't deserve any of this." Babette? Merchant (Marine?)

"She was really proud of it," Bill Bailey said of Shipman's romance with the astronaut. "She always has a smile," Bailey said. "I've never heard her say anything bad about anybody." Bill Bailey?? Byline: Laurin Sellers , Orlando Sentinel Staff Writer (see Sellers below)

"This is not typical of Colleen," said Tracey Turkovich , Shipman's former gymnastics coach . "They're reporting it as a love triangle. If Colleen knew (Oefelein) was seeing this other married woman, there's no way she would have been going out with him. It's not what she's made of." Turkovich. Tracey Turkovich. If I was inventing these names, my credibility as a writer would be out the window.

Hailing from Beaver County, Shipman also participated in volleyball and was a hurdler in track.

“This is out of character” said about Nowak; “This is not typical” said about Shipman. Nowak: “warm to be around, caring, always smiling”; Shipman: “sweet, always has a smile, never heard her say anything bad about anybody” Both are petit, both are captains, both are athletes. Seems Billy likes the same qualities in all his gals.

Shipman hired Funk, Szachacz & Diamond as her attorneys. Kepler Funk , Keith Szachacz & Alan S. Diamond . Kepler was the 17th century astrophysicist (not bad considering the was no such thing back then); Funk has a number of disparate meanings. We’ll go with the Blues. Szachacz (zhashoz, zhachoz, zhakoz, shaka, shocka). And of course, a girl’s best friend.

Judge Marc Lubet is presiding over the trial. He actually belongs to a group called the Ninja 9 , just to add a little credibility to the case…
The object of all the fuss is Nowak’s Fellow Ex-Astronaut, Navy Commander Bill Oefelein.

Oefelein grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. His desire to explore was nurtured by the state's vast, icy wilderness. A test pilot, he often said the lack of roads eventually led him to the skies. Byline: Michael Cabbage , Orlando Sentinel Space Editor.

From his NASA bio: Recreational interests include weight lifting , wake boarding, snow skiing, bicycling, fishing, backcountry hiking, and playing the guitar. So there it is. The Captain from the Track Team and the Captain from the Gymnastics Team got into a cat fight over a Weightlifter. This is all a big high school movie. (Unfortunately, Vanessa Hudgens, the Disney Channel's 18-year-old megastar, is busy having her own scandal right now.)

British Astronaut and Former Colleague Piers Sellers was put on the witness stand, having recently been on a mission with Nowak. Piers Sellers sound like a drunk trying to say the real name of Inspector Clouseau.

Given his news bio, it might be more appropriate than you’d think.
A veteran of one shuttle flight and three spacewalks, Sellers is by far considered the funnyman of the STS-121 mission by his crewmates and will lead the spaceflight's multiple spacewalks. "We all make fun of each other," said Sellers, 51, adding that humor can break tension during training. "You have to think of training as a marathon, it goes on for many months, and then you get a slip and sometimes if can feel like it's getting frustrating. And then you feel like laughing."

Continued at


Monday, September 10, 2007 11:36 AM


Jonny I have now been giggling for about 5 minute straight... I love you


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