The riveting soap opera playing out between the lines in the columns of the Star Tribune’s Nick Coleman and that of his second wife, Laura Billings of the Pioneer Press.

[Note: The humorously challenged out there should note that this is intended as satire.] 


10/04/04: To the Mattresses

Today makes the three month anniversary of the last time Fraters published a Newspaper Newlyweds update. Sure, St. Paul and the Elder have taken Nick and Laura to task, but since Laura discovered our intrepid reporting they have been a little more guarded in revealing their personal lives in their columns. Which is not to be confused with taking a more professional approach to their jobs. Instead Laura has replaced columns about the foibles of her husband with commentary on the weather and made up conversations between barn animals. The Pulitzer committee awaits.

That's not to say that the Newlyweds haven't done anything worth reporting on over the last quarter. Nick admitted that his evenings were spent fighting off bill collectors, blaming Laura. He also admitted his striking resemblance to the fishing hat bandit, specifically citing their nearly identical sartorial choices. The only difference in their appearance seems to be Nick's paunchiness. Laura picked up on that theme with a follow up column titled "The Fishing Hat Bandit Should Take More Fashion Chances," where she basically asked Nick to ditch the omnipresent caps and put on a clean shirt once in a while. Who can blame her? With his seemingly daily trips to the homeless shelters, sex shops, and White Castles of St. Paul, he must smell quite foul.

No, Newspaper Newlyweds hiatus was not from a lack of material, but from Nick Coleman Fatigue. One wonders if Laura is suffering too as her 9/28 column was titled, "Ensuring Wedded Bliss May Take Some Doing." In this column she suggests a five point plan for the Healthy Marriage Resource Center, a new piece of federal pork that Minnesota just got a $900,000 slice of:

Extreme Premarital counseling
Emergency intervention
Raise the bar on marriage licensing
Clean up toxic bachelors
Help us with our bottom line

Seems like a gal who's just thrilled with her marriage! Federal enforcement of points 1-4 would have legally prevented her from marrying Nick. Point 5 would prevent him from blaming her for collections calls in the middle of the night.

Nick took Laura's slam with his usual good sense and grace, by blaming the entire blogosophere. And after all of the stuff we've written about him and his wife, the thing that offended him most was that we said he was rich! I would have laid odds it would have been the fun we had with Laura's comments on male impotence in a Super Bowl column.

No, Nick responded with a diatribe against your humble correspondents at Fraters Libertas (and Powerline too; I guess it never hurts to carry a little water for the Deputy Editor). Although about 50 different blogs have picked the piece over, I'll briefly touch on my very favorite section. He expresses displeasure that his spot in the mainstream media is being marginalized and responds with the following desperate plea:

"I can handle things I'm smart -- not like everyone says -- not dumb, smart and I want respect!"

Actually, that's Fredo from The Godfather Part II. Please forgive me, I always seem to confuse the two. How could I not, the similarities are numerous. Fredo had as a father a powerful man who claimed to be involved in legitimate business. Fredo wasn't strong enough to fill his fathers shoes. He couldn't handle discovering the fact that he wasn't a big man, that the world had passed him by. He became a dishonorable stooge, acting out of envy and vengeance. The powers that were only kept him alive because of respect for his (step)mother. His young, ditzy wife publicly embarrassed him. And if Fredo would have lived another 20 years, the physical resemblance between he and Nick would have been striking.

Remember Nick's true quote of self affirmation was: "I know stuff."

He would have been better off using Fredo's words. They're not quite as pathetic.



Installment #1 The Real Liberal World

Installment #2 Tell Laura I love Her

Installment #3 A Woman Scorned?

Installment #4 Where Ever He Lays His Jug Is Home

Installment #5 No jury would convict him

Installment #6 He knows it when he sees it

Installment #7 Jackpot

Installment #8 Readers Respond To Billings