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A thrilling roller-coaster of PHIL COLLINS drama this week. First, a murmur washed over the media as Collins seemed to announce his retirement in an FHM interview. "It feels like a good time to stop for a while," he mused, as the FHM art department gingerly airbrushed out his nipples. "I'm sorry that it was all so successful. I honestly didn't mean it to happen like that. It's hardly surprising that people grew to hate me."

Then, as his piteous diatribe continued, he seemed to imply that he might also off himself: "I don't think anyone's going to miss me. I'm much happier just to write myself out of the script entirely." The statement is an eerie echo of a Rolling Stone interview from last year in which he contemplated suicide at length. "I sometimes think I'm going to write this Phil Collins character out of the story [. . . . ] I wouldn't blow my head off, I'd overdose or do something that didn't hurt." (By the way, whenever you see me write "[. . . . ]," it means I'm taking something totally out of context.)

After the story picked up steam, his representative denied the claims to People magazine: "He is not, has no intention of retiring." That awkward sentence may have been an elaborate double negative, however, because Collins announced his retirement the next day on his official site: "I am stopping so I can be a full-time father to my two young sons on a daily basis." He also complained that the press had made him out to be a "tormented weirdo" who "feels very sorry for himself." I'm not going to print the rest of his statement, which is fairly rational and light-hearted, because I just got finished portraying him as a tormented weirdo who feels very sorry for himself.

Elsewhere, MTV News gives us the headline of the week: "GRAFFITI6 Blend Folk And Hip-Hop For Something 'Quite Funky' " Sounds great, mom.

BIEBERWATCH! Empowered by his masculine new haircut, our hero embraces the trappings of manhood. "im not shaving for a month so you all can see my mustache.. im pumped," he twote last week. Has our lily-white cutlet of twink abandoned the boyish image that made him famous in favor of developing secondary sex characteristics? Or is a month too optimistic a moustache-visibility estimate for a baby-soft creature such as he?

As long as we're on the front lines of Bieber's war with puberty, I should mention that he was photographed flipping off the paparazzi as they attempted to photograph his distressed lady friend, Selena Gomez, who appeared to be trying to conceal a genuine rascal of a cold sore.

I was delighted by deficit-commission chairman ALAN SIMPSON, who had some frank comments for seniors alarmed that their Social Security benefits might be cut: "This is a fakery," he protested to Fox News. "If they care at all about their children or grandchildren, and sometimes I doubt that — I think, you know, grandchildren now don't write a thank-you for the Christmas presents, they're walking on their pants with the cap on backwards listening to the Enema Man and Snoopy Snoopy Poop Dogg, and they don't like them!"

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