Keeping Tabs

Enquiring Minds in Slovakia

This month, tabloids are helping create better citizens of the world. And covering Sly Stallone’s chicken rage.

With the end of summer upon us, Keeping Tabs’ thoughts have turned to a high school in Slovakia, where American teacher Monica Fenton has been using the National Enquirer as a “teaching tool” in her English classes. “The kids in Slovakia read a lot–and they see the Enquirer as a big scoop of American culture,” the West Palm Beach native tells the Enquirer. “Their vocabulary is growing rapidly … and they are learning a lot about life in the States.”

No doubt. How else would those poor Slovakian kids have been able to “Meet the Dentist to the Stars”? In fact, we shudder to think of all that our young Slovakian friends might have missed without the Enquirer this month, from the detailed story of the wedding of a woman missing the entire lower half of her body (she walked up the aisle on her hands, with the garter concealed under her sleeve) to the assertion that Al Gore may be more electable than George W. Bush because of his strong jaw and cheekbones.

Perhaps most important, it’s reassuring to know that all those Slovakian teens, far away though they may be, will learn that Sylvester Stallone’s mother, Jackie, who’s previously dabbled in astrology, has moved on to what she calls “Rumpology,” the supposedly ancient art of reading prints made from inking a person’s posterior. “[It] goes right back to the time of Nostradamus,” asserts Jackie Stallone. “It’s all written on your behind who you’re going to marry, love affairs, health–and most important of all in Hollywood, whether you’re going to have a successful career.” “It may sound crazy,” notes “top astrologer and palmist” Anthony Carr, “but I think she’s on to something with this.”

It’s unclear whether it could have been predicted by a good rump-reading from Mom, but Sly Stallone leads the pack of celebrities having meltdowns over seemingly innocuous slights this month. The Enquirer reports that while shooting a movie in Vancouver, British Columbia, the actor “went Rambo” and threw a meal of hot chicken, French fries, and coleslaw out the door of his trailer, splattering a “shocked crew member.” Stallone apparently flipped out because, like everyone else in Hollywood, he’s on a no carbohydrate diet. “When I say I want a f—–g chicken, I want a f—–g chicken!” Stallone reportedly screamed. “I want ONE chicken!” (Stallone apparently missed the Enquirer’s story claiming that the no-carb, high-protein diet that slimmed Jennifer Aniston down is dangerously unhealthy and “could even be fatal.”)

Jennifer Lopez, meanwhile, stormed off the set of her latest film because she was unhappy with the wig she was supposed to wear, says the Globe, which also reports that Ben Affleck was “rude, difficult and furious” when he was required to have a skull X-ray after an on-set mishap. The most bizarre celebrity snit might be that of Jesse star Christina Applegate, who the Enquirer says is feuding with her show’s producers because she refuses to conceal the “unsightly” bags under her eyes, claiming they give her working-class character authenticity. “They think she’s acting like a spoiled brat and an ingrate,” says a set insider.

In fact, the tabs have been uncommonly fixated on under-eye maladies of late. The Enquirer complains that the new Caribbean stamp honoring 60 Minutes stalwart Mike Wallace makes him look like an “old geezer … with eye bags big enough to pack for an overnight trip.” And the Globe felt compelled to point out that when her husband suffered a heart attack, Sharon Stone rushed to the hospital from Vancouver, British Columbia, “without stopping to put on makeup.” A source confirmed to the Star that Stone’s eyes were “puffy from lack of sleep. She was pale and wore no makeup.” Ditto for Dana Scurry, the girlfriend of hospitalized actor Martin Lawrence, who according to the Star waited by his bedside with “bloodshot” eyes and makeup “smeared from crying.” The Globe, however, reports that it was Lawrence’s fiancee, Shamicka Gibbs, who has been “sitting at [his] bedside clutching Martin’s limp hand and praying to God to spare his troubled life.” Perhaps not surprisingly, Gibbs is said to have got into a “vicious catfight” at the hospital with an unnamed woman who claimed to be Martin’s girlfriend. We certainly hope, for Lawrence’s sake, that it was Scurry.

It appears that the only person in a California hospital without bags under her eyes is Elizabeth Taylor, who’s suffering from a vertebrae fracture that the tabs fear may leave her unable to walk. But at least she’ll look good. According to the Enquirer, famed hairstylist Jose Eber has visited Cedars-Sinai Hospital several times to do Taylor’s hair and makeup. The Star reports that she has been greeting hospital visitors in a “glamorous pink chiffon negligee” and is being pampered “with her favorite soaps and oils” by “three specially trained nurses.”

With no celebrity ailment too inconsequential to mine for dramatic potential, Friends star Courteney Cox’s routine LASIK surgery to correct her nearsightedness is treated with the kind of life-and-death anguish usually reserved for quadruple bypass operations and liver transplants. Far be it from Keeping Tabs–who’s no stranger to Coke-bottle lenses–to appear unsympathetic to the visually impaired, but we raised our eyebrows just a tad at the Star’s assessment that this “miracle eye surgery saved [Cox’s] vision” when the story explains that it was simple vanity about wearing thick glasses that put Cox under the knife. The Globe weighed in with a story titled “How Courteney beat blindness,” which included the touching detail that Cox awoke from the operation sobbing, “Oh my God, I can see!” while her husband, David Arquette, was “so moved by [her] joy” that he began to cry as well. The Enquirer claims that Cox’s surgery “saved her career,” given that the ever-squinting actress couldn’t read cue cards well enough to host Saturday Night Live. Things got so bad, says the Star, that Cox “often couldn’t tell Lisa Kudrow and Jennifer Aniston apart” and occasionally knocked coffee over. Thank God for modern medicine.

I f she weren’t so spectacle-averse, Cox might have turned for help to former PTL televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker, who the Globe reports has amassed an impressive collection of eyeglasses belonging to dead people. “I believe the eyes are the soul,” Bakker says by way of explanation. Her favorites, the story says, are the glasses belonging to her late mother, apparently because of their almost meditative powers. “I like to put them on and think, ‘You know, Momma looked through these,’ ” she tells the Globe. Apparently Bakker shares this maudlin optical fascination with Judge Judy Sheindlin, who (according to the Enquirer) almost “burst into tears” and stopped production of her TV show when she misplaced her reading glasses, which once belonged to her beloved late father.

Finally, as he prepares to launch his own daily TV show, we thought we’d highlight National Enquirer columnist Mike Walker’s confident prediction that “there’ll never, ever be a post-Lewinsky photo showing Bill [Clinton] with a cigar.” Memo to Walker: Check out Page 12 of this week’s Star. Where did you get that tip–from a rump reading?