Dear Mr. News Junkie: Will you settle a bet? My wife says that Republican convention is the only thing on the news because there's nothing else happening anywhere in the whole world. I say that's impossible. Who's right? And please hurry. A dinner at Red Lobster is riding on this.

A: Put on those bibs. There are other things going on, but nothing quite as exciting as the political drama unfolding in Philadelphia. If Gerald Ford hadn't had a stroke, they would have booked Bo Derek for two nights.

Dear Mr. News Junkie:
I just can't decide who's right on this Napster thing. Besides that, I thought MP3 was that little robot in Star Wars.

A: Uh, oh, so did I. Well, maybe we'd better let the lawyers sort it out while we focus on more positive recording news, like the fact that Martha Stewart is releasing a new CD, Martha Stewart Living's Spooky Scary Sounds for Halloween. It's due out September 5th and will go for $9.98. You can also terrify trick-or-treaters by leaving a casserole on the porch.

Dear Mr. News Junkie:
The guys in my frat said you couldn't come up with a news story that combines controversy, mystery, religious freedom, and good nutrition. How about it?

A: The keg's on them. Last week General Mills apologized for putting CD-ROM Bibles in boxes of Cheerios and other breakfast cereals, although it's not clear why they included them in the first place, or why they changed their minds later. Better stick with safe, healthy choices, like those packs of M&Ms.

Dear Mr. News Junkie:
How come you don't see much science reporting in the news anymore? I miss Walter Cronkite holding up those toy rockets whenever the astronauts were blasting off.

A: Those were the days. But unfortunately, modern science is more perplexing to the average person than how a zipper works. For example, a beam of light was recently alleged to have arrived at its destination before leaving the starting gate, proving that physicists are now making things up to cadge more money from the Department of Energy. The closest we got to real science in recent days was when the Wall Street Journal reported that Crazy Glue works real good on paper cuts.

Dear Mr. News Junkie:
They say investigative journalism is dead. True?

A: Not all. Newsday broke this one just last week: Charging people to name a star after someone is a scam. The only place the honoree's name appears is the International Star Registry, which goes for another $40 after you cough up the dough for the star. Tough break for Aunt Cille, who bought a galaxy last Christmas for stocking stuffers.

Dear Mr. News Junkie:
I see that Hunter S. Thompson "slightly injured" an assistant with a shotgun while chasing a bear off his property in Colorado. My question is, how do you slightly injure someone with a shotgun?

A: Beats me. And don't ask Charlton Heston, who's normally a good source for info like that, but at the moment is still recovering from the revelation that he checked into alcohol rehab a while back for excessive social drinking. Explained an aide, "You know how it is, you go to these dinners and they give you a rubber chicken and food that's not really edible, and you have a little bit too much wine." Well said. For the time being, Mr. Heston will be replaced as the NRA spokesperson by one of Rosie O'Donnell's bodyguards.

Dear Mr. News Junkie:
I have an idea to make politics more interesting. Yasser Arafat recently asked to be shot if he ever betrays his people. Why not take a page from the Palestinians?

A: Here's the problem: "Do you swear to uphold the Constitution and blah, blah, blah?" / "I do." / "Okay, one more thing. If you betray us, would you mind being shot?" / "Ooooh, I dunno. I'm still working out my position on campaign finance reform."

Good try, though.
Dear Mr. News Junkie: Where do I get that Martha Stewart CD?

A: Try Napster.

Copyright 2000 by Garry Lee Wright. All rights reserved. Questions about the news? Email

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