MONDAY, AUGUST 26 Just when you thought President Bush has wised up to the fact that everybody in the world thinks that launching a pre-emptive attack on Iraq is a really stupid idea, White House lawyers have figured out a way he can get away with it. Today in Crawford, Texas--where Bush is on vacation AGAIN--reporters were told that White House counsel Al Gonzales has advised the Prez that he doesn't need Congressional approval to blow Iraq back to the stone age. In response, Congress crapped their pants. "If the President is going to commit this nation to war," huffed the extremely miffed Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), "he'd better have the support of the Congress and the American people with him." You know, it's funny, but our hubby Kip lost a very similar argument when we informed him of our recent purchase of a lovely pair of Steve Madden boots. But we digress. Now if that wasn't enough to chew on, Vice President Dick Cheney came out from behind the curtain today to do a little saber rattling of his own. In a speech to the Nashville unit of the V.F.W. (the only group incapable of mustering enough energy to disagree with him), he completely ignored the concerns of allies, Muslim states, and worldwide public opinion and made his case for bombing Iraq. "The entire world must know that we will take whatever action is necessary to defend our freedom and security," said the Veep. He also noted that any country that develops advanced weaponry, refuses to welcome U.N. inspectors, and exhibits "general hostility" would be asking for "pre-emptive action." At this point during the speech, President Bush was seen running around screaming, "Oh no! We do all those things, too! We're gonna get attacked!"

TUESDAY, AUGUST 27 Besides, if we're going to launch a pre-emptive attack on anyone, it should probably be actor Russell Crowe. And we're not talking about a sexy attack, either. While we would certainly trade twenty years of our children's lives just to see him parade around our living room without his shirt on, Russell Crowe has been a VERY BAD BOY. Not only has he been in the papers for attacking a British TV executive, and even the utterly defenseless Moby, Crowe has been spotted mixing it up once again in a bar in Rosario, Mexico--but this time it seems he bit off more than he could chew. According to the London Sun, Crowe was south of the border filming Peter Weir's The Far Side of the World, when he got impatient while waiting for a drink. For reasons unknown, he flipped his wig, grabbed a fellow actor and tossed him across the bar. However, before Crowe could continue the beating, a muscular FEMALE friend of the downed actor put the Gladiator star in a headlock--and wouldn't let go until he calmed down and cried uncle. While we're happy it was one of our own who finally subdued this hunky hothead why couldn't she have at least held him until we got there?

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 28 Today signaled another great step forward for womankind--the first eyebrow and lip waxing to go off without a hitch. It was 3 pm when my best friend in the world, Tricia Verlaine-Davenport--a graduate of Brown who is married to a very successful mortgage broker--called me on her cell from outside her esthetician's office. "Ann! Stop the presses!" she cried. "I've just met the girl of my dreams." As we ladies know, it's practically impossible to find a decent wax job in this town that doesn't mutilate the upper lip or brow. Therefore, we have to settle for what we get which, in most cases, means looking like we are wearing a pock-marked strip of bologna across our foreheads. So when Trish called us with this glorious news, it was like being freed from the shackles of epidermal oppression. We quickly agreed to rush down to Oba! and meet for tapas, and when Tricia arrived, it was like a beautiful dream had come true. Trish's eyebrows perfect! Her upper lip no longer resembling a state trooper's! And best of all, she didn't look like she had fallen asleep face down on a curling iron. And it's all thanks to our savior, and for our money, the best esthetician in the world, Megan from Venus Envy. Thank you sweetie, from the bottom of our lips. You make us feel like a natural woman.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 29 Okay, so we don't like him either, but people should just leave Moby alone! Tonight at the MTV Video Music Awards (hosted by the increasingly unfunny Jimmy Fallon), honky rapper Eminem turned art into reality when he threatened to kick the ass of the bald techno dweeb. In his song "Without Me," the former Slim Shady coos these words of love to the aging DJ: "And Moby, you can get stomped by Obie/You 36-year-old bald headed fag, blow me/You don't know me, you're too old/Let go, it's over, nobody listens to techno." We have no idea who this "Obie" person is either. Nevertheless, the feud came to a head at the VMAs when Moby began booing while Em was receiving an award (from another enemy, a barely clothed Christina Aguilera). "Keep booing, little girl," Em yelled out at Moby. "I will hit a man with glasses." Now excuse us for interrupting, but C'MON. Beating up Moby is like us beating up Todd Oldham--which we'd like to do because his new Target line is dreadful.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 29 In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups. AND soon to be former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson. Thompson, a Republican, but not an Evil Republican, will play a conservative Manhattan district attorney on the original Law & Order. He will probably go head to head with charismatic and tough Executive Assistant D.A., Jack McCoy. Jack thrives on figuring out the legal nuances of a complicated case, and has had affairs with three of his assistants. He and Senator Fred Thompson will probably deliver small bits of wisdom to the brilliant and aggressively ambitious Assistant District Attorney Serena Southerlyn. This will most likely take place in elevators.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 30 And now back to the unfolding drama of the MTV Video Music Awards The Oregonian reported today that the statuette presented to Michael Jackson on the MTV awards show was NOT, contrary to Mr. Jackson's assumption, an Artist of the Millennium Award. Here's how it all happened. MTV had very nicely prepared a cake for Michael Jackson's birthday. They asked Britney Spears to present the cake as well as a statuette in the shape of a treble clef which, frankly to us, did look somewhat award-like, but which MTV insists was merely a "token of appreciation." Britney, who is not as smart as Avril Lavigne, and not as articulate as Christina Aguilera, gushed that she considered Mr. Jackson to be "the artist of the millennium." She then presented him with the "token of appreciation." Mr. Jackson, though confused, seemed genuinely pleased with the honor, stating that he'd never dreamed he'd win the Artist of the Millennium award. He then went on to thank several friends and family members. MTV later clarified that it did not have an "Artist of the Millennium" award category. And if they did, they wouldn't give it to an alleged pedophile.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 Today was the first day of September--a day when millions of kids all across the country are forced to come down from their tree houses and face the fact that their freedom is over, soon to be replaced by stuffy rooms, bossy grown-ups, and book reading. President Bush is no exception. He returned to The White House from his eon-long vacation today, just in time for the Labor Day holiday. (And you think he isn't smart.) Like anyone gearing up for back-to-school, the president has a big to-do list to get to in the next few weeks, including a new Pentagon budget, an energy bill, legislation guaranteeing pension security and terrorism insurance, a new Homeland Security Department, a v-neck green sweater, a red Trapper Keeper and a pen with a really rad eraser. He is also hoping to be able to attack Iraq before he gets too busy with T-ball practice.

Putting Russell Crowe in a headlock every week. ann@portlandmercury.com