MONDAY, AUGUST 3 If you haven't already noticed, there are signs that America's economy may finally be emerging from the sludge of recession. How do we know this? Unemployment claims are slowing, the housing market is recovering, the auto industry is beginning to show a small profit, and Paula Abdul is turning down $10 million dollars to return as a judge on American Idol. Paula's staunch refusal of such a towering pile of money is what many economists are referring to as a "key economic indicator" of ballooning consumer confidence. In this case, the consumer was Paula, and she felt she deserved to consume $20 million dollars for a multi-year deal with AI, rather than the paltry $10 million the producers offered. And when negotiations eventually ground to a halt, Paula announced her retirement on the only social platform worthy of her stature: TWATTER. "With sadness in my heart, I've decided not to return to #IDOL," she twatted. "I'll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all... being a part of a show that I helped from day 1 become an international phenomenon." Translation: "Look assholes, I'm being passive-aggressive, and you pricks need to remember one thing: I created this goddamn show, and without ME it's going straight into the shitter. Now, where's my Robitussin and Vicodin smoothie?? I'm feeling a bit too conscious."

TUESDAY, AUGUST 4 Another "key indicator" that stuff is beginning to go right? Former President Bill Clinton made an unannounced visit to our sworn enemies North Korea today in order to secure the release of two imprisoned American journalists—and he was actually successful! The journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, admitted they had strayed across North Korean borders while reporting on the trafficking of women, but were wildly surprised after being arrested and sentenced to (gulp) 12 years of hard labor. Upon meeting with the highly cantankerous and nuke-happy leader Kim Jong-il, former President Clinton "apologized on behalf of the women, and relayed President Barack Obama's gratitude" according to the Korean Central News Agency, who also said that the release of the journalists was a sign of the country's "humanitarian and peace-loving policy." Hmmm... are the women back in America yet? They are? Okay. BULLSHIT, NORTH KOREA! THAT'S BULLSHIT! However, the release of the journalists is proof positive that good old-fashioned diplomacy is not dead, and is just as relevant as it was before George W. Bush and his idiot cronies decided to defecate all over it. Chalk up one for the good guys.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 5 In a related story, former pop princess Britney Spears and former teen screen queen Lindsay Lohan met for drinks and dancing at LA's Grand Star Jazz Club—and nothing bad happened! No one was slapped in the face, no cocaine was snorted off a toilet top, and no shaved vaheenas were on display. Just two ladies talking and having a drink. First North Korea and now this? Truly, the times they are a-changin'. MEANWHILE...More nudie photos of High School Musical's Vanessa Hudgens were ejaculated onto the internet today, Jon Gosselin (of Jon & Kate Plus Eight) was caught in an overnight sleepover with the babysitter while ex-wifey Kate was camping with the kids, and the following drugs were found in celebrity pitchman Billy Mays' body after his autopsy: Vicodin, oxycodone, Valium, cocaine, Xanax, anti-anxiety medication, and booze. So maybe things aren't as a-changin' as we thought.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 6 This week's heartbreaking celebrity death: writer/director John Hughes passed away at age 59 of a heart attack. Best known for his comedic essays in National Lampoon and directing some of the most memorable teen flicks of the '80s (The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles), Hughes imbued his post-pubescent characters with a truthfulness and respect rarely seen in cinema. Plus he also taught us how to apply our lipstick with our breasts (à la Claire in Breakfast Club), and introduced us to the ultimate teenage dreamboat, Jake Ryan, whose perfect hair, gorgeous face, and heartbreaking sensitivity still haunts our adult fantasies... ahem. When Hubby Kip is not around of course. John Hughes, you will be missed. MEANWHILE... The social networking group Twatter came under a "denial of service" attack today, according to chief Twatter in charge, Biz Stone. What does this mean for you? That no one was able to Twat for a while, and therefore you were no smarter or dumber than you were when the day started. Kind of like if al-Qaida were to attack us with pillows, but they forgot the pillows, and decided to throw air all over us. That kind of attack.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 7 In keeping with this week's deluge of American Idol drama, here's the most hilarious bit of fallout from Abdulgate 2009! Perhaps you remember Constantine Maroulis, the ridiculously named, ridiculously coiffed Idol wannabe from a couple seasons back? (He's the one who looks like he mistook a filthy mop for a toupee.) Well, on Wednesday, he got beat up. In a fight. Over Paula Abdul. According to the Daily News, "fisticuffs erupted because Maroulis professed his desire for Abdul's return to Idol. His attacker was more than happy to see her gone." "It was hilarious! Constantine got into it with this guy who was probably six inches shorter and 60 pounds lighter," a witness told the News. "The guy body-slammed him and punched him in the face and then just stood up, straightened his tie, and said, 'Bitch, don't you ever," before walking away." And with that, we've found ourselves a new catchphrase.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 8 Will Smith still insists he's not a Scientologist. No, really! He promises! Even if evidence implies that he totally, totally is! After the Fresh Prince and the Fresh Princess (Jada Pinkett Smith), started hanging around Tom Cruise, people started talking. But then the Princes opened a secretive private school, the New Village Leadership Academy—which they swear isn't a Scientology training camp, but which does teach a curriculum designed by Scientology's nutcase-in-chief, L. Ron Hubbard. And then this weekend, the Princes fired the head of the Academy after she raised concerns about the curriculum! ( reports her replacement is someone "more 'in-line'" with Hubbard's teachings.) "Ah, excellent news!" bellowed Emperor Klaktu of Rigel VII when reached for comment. "With L. Ron's truths being taught to younger and younger Earthlings, soon your pathetic planet will hail L. Ron as its leader! THE TIME OF RECKONING IS AT HAND. Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to announce my new position as head PE coach at the New Village Leadership Academy! I look forward to introducing Dengarian Plasma-Ball Four Square to my students, and I preemptively offer my sincere and heartfelt apologies to those parents whose weak, uncoordinated, carbon-based offspring will painfully die as a result."

SUNDAY, AUGUST 9 Ready for some depressing news? FIRST! "Iran's police chief admitted yesterday that protesters who were arrested after June's disputed presidential election had been tortured while in custody in a prison in southwest Tehran," the Guardian depressingly reports. SECOND! "US banks stand to collect a record $38.5 billion in fees for customer overdrafts this year, with the bulk of the revenue coming from the most financially stretched consumers amid the deepest recession since the 1930s," says the Financial Times (depressingly). THIRD! Über-depressing comedienne Kathy Griffin's date to the Teen Choice Awards? Bristol Palin's former beau, Levi Johnston! Griffin dragged the largely silent Levi along the red carpet, mugging for cameras and cracking "jokes" to anyone who'd listen. "Long-distance relationships are not easy—especially when he's in his igloo and I'm in my Hollywood tower!" screeched the famously unfunny Griffin, who—WAIT. HOLD ON A MINUTE. What're you up to, Griffin? Capitalizing on the Palin family's misfortunes? Making fun of Levi Johnston's desperate need for fame? That's our territory, you two-bit never-been! Go back to not being hired for things and not making people laugh. Or, more succinctly: Bitch, don't you ever.