But the big news in February is the death and subsequent wacky adventures of Anna Nicole Smith, whose body remains in a refrigerator in the Broward County medical examiner's office while her infant child is embroiled in a paternity dispute that eventually comes to involve pretty much every adult male resident of the United States except Richard Simmons. The news media cover this story with their usual taste and restraint, keeping the public informed of important developments via such journalistic innovations as the Refrigerator Cam; Greta Van Susteren jets to Aruba in case there is a Natalee Holloway link. The dramatic finale takes place in a Florida courtroom presided over by Judge Weeping Twit, who, in a display of Solomonic wisdom, rules that everyone involved will get a TV show.
Another important February story getting huge media coverage is Revenge of the Scary Astronaut Diaper Woman, which concerns astronaut Lisa Nowak, who, after allegedly driving nonstop from Houston to the Orlando airport, is arrested and charged with the attempted murder of a woman whom she viewed as a rival for a male astronaut who no doubt wishes he had just stayed up there in space. According to police, Nowak's car contained latex gloves, a black wig, a BB pistol, a knife, pepper spray and -- most disturbing of all -- a 55-gallon drum filled with Tang.
In other aviation news, JetBlue has a public-relations disaster when 10 of its flights are stranded on runways for so long that they are enveloped by glaciers. Fortunately, all the passengers manage to survive, in some cases by eating their carry-on luggage. This fiasco prompts the FAA to fine JetBlue for violating strict federal regulations against allowing passengers to have anything edible in coach class.
In the Academy Awards, Martin Scorsese finally breaks his long drought, winning a best-picture Oscar for his film Give Me an Oscar or This Time I Swear I Will Kill Myself.
Speaking of drama, in . . .
. . . the riveting trial of Scooter ''Scooter'' Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, concludes with Scooter being convicted on federal charges of being guilty of something having to do with Nigeria and somebody named Valerie, but we are darned if we can remember what, although we certainly hope Scooter has learned his lesson.
In other scandal news, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales gets into hot water when congressional Democrats allege that his name can be rearranged to spell ''Re-Label Zoo Gnats'' and ''Gala Lobster Zone.'' President Bush calls Gonzales ''a person in which I have the utmost whaddyacallit'' and pledges to ``stand behind him 100 percent for the time being.''
Speaking of time: Americans attempt to adjust to a new Daylight Saving Time law, which Congress passed because it apparently felt that the old law was not annoying and confusing enough. The new law produces immediate economic benefits in the form of an estimated $175 billion paid by corporations and individuals to fix the computers, PDAs, phone systems, etc., that were screwed up by the time change. Of course none of this affects Congress, which has exempted itself from the new law and continues to operate by sundial.
On a somber note, Anna Nicole Smith is finally laid to rest in the Bahamas in an intimate funeral service attended only by family, close friends, acquaintances, total strangers, tourists and an estimated 750 cable-TV legal analysts, several of whom have to be forcibly removed from the casket as they attempt to commit one final act of legal analysis.