TIME's Weekend Review

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Coffee Break

UNLESS you’ve been seriously caffeine-deprived this week, you won’t have failed to notice the latest liquid-based scandal to engulf the Presidency. Yes, there was something really sinister about those Coffee Tapes, and I don’t mean their grainy, out-of-focus, shot-by-Chelsea-on-a-handycam appearance.

It was, rather, the speed at which this — let’s be honest — utterly innocuous collection of quaffing clips became another “-gate.” If history repeating itself is tragedy followed by farce, no prizes for guessing which category houses Water- and Iran-, and in which the Travel- and Coffee-gates lie.

But America loves its presidential impropriety, and when Harold Ickes stuck his hand up in a Senate hearing to point out that it’s actually stilllegal to sip joe with George Steinbrenner, he came across like the really nerdy guy in your class at school — everyone knew he was right, but they still wanted to beat him up.

For Whom the Nobel Tolls

If Harold wasn’t going to win any popularity contests, he had nothing on the wacky folks at the Nobel Academy — who spent their week sticking it to every establishment group going. Monday’s medicine prize offended many in the medical profession, Thursday’s literature prize upset the Vatican, and Friday’s Peace Prize to anti-land mine campaigners was one in the eye for the U.S. military. What could the Scandinavian eggheads do for an encore? How about a cup of latte in the Lincoln Bedroom with Dean Smith — caught, of course, on candid campaign finance camera.