Rather than the usual "News in Brief," maybe I'll make things a little more interesting this week. No, I won't be putting any extra effort into my jokes. Instead, I propose to tickle your brain with a stimulating news quiz, much like the hilarious yuksters on NPR's Wait, Wait . . . Don't Tell Me
. Please read the following ridiculous news items, then judge whether they're real or completely made up by me. Answers will be provided at the end, but don't cheat (you'll only be hurting yourself, and my feelings).
1. PHIL COLLINS recently hit #1 in the UK with his latest album, but his next project will be a little more esoteric. True or false: he's planning to write a book about his extensive collection of historical memorabilia from the Alamo. "It's basically the history of all the things I've collected, and putting them in the context of the revolution. It's in progress, and it's entertaining."
2. True or false: JUSTIN BIEBER will soon appear in a commercial for Heinz ketchup. In the 30-second spot, Bieber dips a comb in ketchup and runs it through his hair; he's then crowded by hysterical teenage fans, who dip fries in his mane as he flashes a winning smile.
3. CEE LO GREEN's hit track "Fuck You" is catchy as heck, but it's not exactly suitable for broadcast. True or false: in a recent appearance on Later with Jools Holland, the offending words in the chorus were changed to "Up You."
4. True or false: effete balladeer JAMES BLUNT told the UK's Daily Mirror that he plans to put an end to the Afghanistan conflict by performing for the troops there. "I'm tired of the Afghanistan war, and I'm going to go out and fix it. I'm going out there at Christmas time and will sing the Taliban into surrender. If I can't do it, then who can?"
5. True or false: rapper GUCCI MANE just finished up his third jail term, but he's facing more bad news — he may have violated the terms of his probation by riding his new gold-adorned, wood-grain-trimmed Segway across the Georgia-Florida state line without informing authorities.
6. To judge from his recent output, RIVERS CUOMO of Weezer seems to be stuck in a bizarre permanent adolescence. True or false: he recently tweeted, "Anyone else suck at pushing straws through juice boxes?"
7. Belle & Sebastian's STUART MURDOCH plans to open a taqueria in Glasgow, citing a lack of decent Mexican food there. "I'm about to get serious about this," he told NPR, "because this could be the thing that allows me to carry on doing music."
8. RYAN SEACREST has been in talks to start his own cable network. True or false: in a document leaked on the Smoking Gun, a proposed line-up of shows included a deep-sea sci-fi program starring Seacrest himself, tentatively titled Seacrest DSV.
9. True or false: the new MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE single, "Na Na Na," includes the lyrics "Let me tell you 'bout the sad man/Shut up and let me see your jazz hands/Remember when you were a madman/Thought you was Batman" and is empirically godawful beyond any subjective measure of taste.
10. Actor/singer RICK SPRINGFIELD recently released his memoir, Late, Late at Night. True or false: among other shocking revelations, Springfield confesses that he killed a man in Vietnam — while not enlisted in the Army.
DAVID THORPE | firstname.lastname@example.org
Answers: 1. true. 2. false. 3. false; the song remained uncensored. 4. true, but he was joking. 5. false, but he really should get a gold-adorned Segway. 6. true. 7. true. 8. false. 9. true. 10. true — yes.