IT'S BEEN A BIG TV NEWS WEEK, WHAT with Felicity star Keri Russell walking off the set and demanding a big, fat raise -- but let's get to the REALLY BIG story first, and that would be... "Scientists Teach Chimpanzees to Speak English."

Of course, they didn't really teach them to speak English, but this story comes from the U.K. Sunday Times, and you know how fruity those limeys can be when it comes to syntax. Regardless! According to this report, researchers in Atlanta have taught two monkeys how to communicate with humans via a computer equipped with symbols on its keypad. See, the chimps type in whatever they want to say, and a synthetic voice pops out, which sounds something like Stephen Hawking or my Uncle Manny (the one with the tracheotomy). Unfortunately, ever since they've been given the power of speech these apes have been gabbing up a storm, and now they're all, "I want this" or "I want that." In fact, some of the first demands the chimps made were (and I swear to Hay-soos I'm not making this up), "Please buy me a hamburger" and "Can I have an iced coffee?"!!

ICED FAWKING COFFEE??? Now, as you know, I'm the chimp's #1 fan... but ICED FAWKING COFFEE??? There ain't no goddam way a monkey's gonna get iced fawking coffee on MY watch! I mean, a burger, maybe -- it's funny to watch a monkey eating a hamburger. But those goddam simians can kiss my ass before they EVER get any iced fawking coffee from me!! Believe what I say: You start giving a chimp iced fawking coffee and next they're gonna be wanting an iced fawking mocha. And after that they'll want an Italian fawking soda. And after that they'll be asking for the goddam wine list. And before you know it, a goddam chimp will be moving into the condo next door, driving around in his SUV and talking on a cell phone -- all while trying to drink a goddam iced fawking coffee!!!

All of which brings me to Felicity. Much like the chimp in today's tale, actress Keri Russell was obviously given the equivalent of an iced fawking coffee when younger, because now she's walked off her show and is demanding a reported $100,000 per episode! (To put this in perspective, 100 Gs per show is what the cast of Friends is making.) As of late, poor destitute Keri was making only about $30,000 a pop, and if allowed to have her way, would be given a 70,000 dollar per week raise.

Now... I don't believe I've ever asked for a $70,000 a week raise, but let's give it a whirl! You pretend you're Keri's boss, and I'll be Keri, okay? It'll be fun! Okay, here we go: "Boss? Like, um, I'd like a raise... and before you blow your top, here are the reasons why. As you know, I'm Felicity, the show is named after my character, so we can assume I'm pretty important to the overall 'thing,' 'kay? Okay. Second, I'm like, really popular, and the critics love me. Third, I won a Golden Globe... hello? That's like a big deal, okay? So I could like really use a $70,000 raise. Oh! And I used to be on the Mickey Mouse Club."

Of course, as Keri's boss, you might be inclined to say, "Well... gee. Seeing as how Felicity is currently ranked 129th out of all shows, and the Golden Globes are presented by the foreign press (who, as we all know, are big fans of Baywatch), then maybe you should get your skinny ass back to work, before you end up like other members of the Mickey Mouse Club, who are selling aluminum cans to get crack and digging through the garbage in order to lick filthy Burger King wrappers... 'KAY?"

Naturally, Keri's real-life boss didn't say this (although I'm sure she thought it), and ended up giving Keri a normal, somewhat-under-$70,000 raise, and everything is once again hunky-dory in Felicity-land. So! What have we learned from Felicity and the chimp? While it's always a good idea to ask for more than you actually want, it's also good to remember not to appear too greedy. For example: "Can someone please get me a $35,000 iced fawking tea?"