Like sexual hypocrisy, lousy televised awards ceremonies, and big fat asses, the trash tabloid is a great American tradition. This week, Last Days plunges headlong into that inky swamp of specious stories, stalking shutterbugs, and shameless sensationalism to bring you the hottest news the checkout aisles have to offer. Join us as Last Days Goes Tabloid!

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 At first glance, the Tarrytown, NY-based newsweekly Star appears to be your run-of-the-mill celebrity rag, featuring exposés of all-star couplings (Jennifer Lopez 'n Puff Daddy) celebrity facelifts (Hillary Clinton!), and an Emmy fashion roundup (cheers to Lisa Kudrow, jeers to Sela Ward). But Star quickly distinguishes itself with its blockbuster story, "Yes, Folks, Even Hollywood Goes Grocery Shopping!" Fearlessly puncturing the myth that film and television stars sustain themselves through photosynthesis, Star offers incontestable photographic and anecdotal proof that even the most glamorous celebs sometimes shop for food. Among the revelations: Roseanne's favorite combo of Beluga caviar and Cheez Whiz; ex-alcoholic Kelsey Grammer's love of non-alcoholic beer; and former Jeffersons star Isabel Sanford's perpetual hankering for pork chops. Things get really juicy in the non-food aisles, where we learn of Martin Sheen's lottery ticket addiction, Raquel Welch's relentless use of coupons, and Tori Spelling's naughty late-night stops for boxes of condoms and lube. But all ends well with news of Bob Barker's preferred purchase: saw palmetto berries and zinc, "to keep prostate problems at bay."

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 As its name suggests, the Boca Raton, Florida-based rag The Globe features the splashiest news from around the world. But this week's hottest story comes from Washington state's very own Gig Harbor, where "sex-crazed schoolteacher" Mary Kay LeTourneau is serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence for statutory rape -- and killing time by indulging in some hot lezzie love! In an exclusive tell-all interview, former LeTourneau jailmate Christina Dress spills the beans on Mary Kay's rampant jailhouse lust, which the ex-con claims was directed at an 18-year-old female prisoner bearing an alarming resemblance to LeTourneau's teenage lover Vili Fualaau! "She has big brown eyes, full pouty lips, and a dark exotic complexion," says Dress, who also claims the sex-starved LeTourneau made the moves on her. But although Dress is "an admitted lesbian," she declined the offer. "Mary Kay is a fatal attraction waiting to happen," says the selective Dress, who recently completed a four-year sentence for forgery.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 As any tabloid reader can tell you, celebrity facelifts are the bread and butter of the gossip world. Still, even we were shocked by the vehemence with which the National Examiner (another Boca Raton journal) screeched the news of Melanie Griffith's "Face Lift Shocker!" Heralded by a page-hogging headline, the would-be slaughter piece turned out to be a routine rundown of the relatively basic cosmetic surgery procedures undertaken by the 42-year-old actress. Smelling a sizzling tale of tabloid-actress acrimony, Last Days contacted the editor of the Examiner, to find out just what the seemingly harmless Ms. Griffith had done to earn the vitriolic wrath of his paper. We were informed that the National Examiner strives to avoid writing stories based on emotion, and claimed the attack on Melanie's manipulated mug was nothing personal; in the story's closing paragraph, the Examiner concedes that Melanie "looks much better now than she did a few years ago, when wrinkles around her eyes, a saggy chin, and a crepe-paper neck made her look much older than her 39-year-old hubby, Antonio Banderas."

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 Like Baywatch and the music of Abba, the appeal of celebrity gossip is universal. Today Last Days checked in with the hot Spanish-language tabloid, ¡Hola!, where we learned that Jennifer Aniston, la novia de Brad Pitt, le ha planteado, al parecer, un ultimátum al actor: "O nos casamos o rampemos." Sucedió esto tras una discusión que la pareja mantuvo, y que Brad zanjó con un portazo cuando Jennifer le puso ante el dilema de boda o ruptura. "Me lo pensaré unos días," dijo, al parecer, el actor. No es ésta, según parece, la primavera vez que Brad Pitt se ve ante un aprieto así, ya que algo de lo mismo le sucedió, dicen, con su anterior novia, Gwyneth Paltrow, con la que en su día llegó incluso a celebrar una especie de fiesta de compromiso, a la que siguió la ruptura antes de la boda. Todo parece indicar que Jennifer Aniston, la "Rachel" de la popular serie Friends, va muy en serio. Entre otras cosas, dicen que la actriz no quiere seguir siendo la única protagonista de la citada serie que permanece soltera, después de que Courtney Cox ("Mónica" en Friends) se casara recientemente con David Arquette.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 Tabloids are not only valuable sources of titillating news -- they're also suppliers of fascinating employment opportunities, such as this unconditionally guaranteed money-making endeavor from PMG Associates, offering upstart entrepreneurs the chance to earn up to $2,500 weekly stapling booklets from home. The company's full-page call for eager booklet staplers in the tabloid The Sun is nothing but encouraging and helpful: "Since you'll be working from home, we suggest you select a table to be used for stapling the booklets. (Your kitchen table will be perfect for this kind of work when you're not using it for dining.) The booklets you'll be stapling are booklets containing valuable information that our customers need on a regular basis. So, there'll be plenty of booklets to be stapled -- and lots of money to be made!" Readers who are confident that they can do a good job stapling booklets from home are urged to contact PMG Associates at 6757 Arapaho Road, Dallas, TX 75248. (They provide the stapler.)

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 For sheer name recognition alone, the National Enquirer is the king of the tabloid heap, and this week, the "World's Best-Selling Newspaper" dished the dirt on Who Hates Who in Hollywood. Unfortunately, most of the "revelations" were crusty old news (who doesn't know gun control freak Rosie O'Donnell and NRA spokesman Tom Selleck wish each other were dead?). But happily, the Enquirer's art directors wrangled together a thrilling collection of photos showing an array of celebrities scowling and grimacing like constipated toddlers. Anoth-er highlight: Burt Reynolds' inspired dissing of would-be rival Joan Rivers. "I never argue with female impersonators."

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 Tabloid week wraps up with a visit to "America's Most Exciting Newspaper" (and the most important media document on Last Days' formative years): The Weekly World News. For those not in the know, the Lantana, Florida-based WWN is a rarity in the tabloid world, eschewing tawdry celebrity happenings for the most hilarious news items this side of the Seattle Gay News. This week's stellar edition was no exception, featuring a photo essay on Turnip, an Atlanta, Georgia cat who can paw her way to any Bible passage upon request, as well as a list of business management secrets from Satan: "If you can get your sales force motivated the way Satan gets his demons fired up about corrupting souls, your business will really take off!" But the pièce de resistance chronicled the doomed love between a circus dwarf and a homosexual chimpanzee. "Every place I went, that fruity monkey was all over me like a lovesick schoolgirl," gripes dwarf Pablo Lima. "But he's no schoolgirl, he's a hairy old monkey and when he gets turned on, it's extremely revolting!" Lima has filed a $100,000 harassment lawsuit against the "hairy fairy."

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