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LONGING FOR DAYS OF BAT BOY AND ALIEN

Back in the day, a trip through the grocery store checkout line lent itself to plenty of comedy.

The good old Weekly World News - which proclaims itself as America's Only Reliable Newspaper - always delivered the humor.

You had the Alien endorsing a presidential candidate, a lady in Iowa giving birth to a 47-pound baby and the ever-present Bat Boy, whose antics included leading police on a three-state car chase and helping soldiers capture Saddam Hussein.

Oh, yeah, and Elvis is still alive.

On Wednesday, word came out this venerable newspaper would cease production, and I welled up with tears. Weekly World News officials didn't comment, but I'm certain its demise comes from being crowded out of ideal locations by a preponderance of celebrity gossip magazines.

Sadly, Time and Newsweek also have given way to In Touch, US Weekly and all the other glossies.

These days, you can't buy a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk without learning which Hollywood celebs look bad on the beach or which stars have been augmented. Not exactly a sweet treat for kids to see while reaching for that bag of M&Ms.

On one side, you find a row of magazines about all the marital ups and downs of the Hollywood elite. On the other side, a row of magazines explaining how we can be as trim and beautiful as all the celebrities not headed to divorce hell.

Call me crazy, but even on my best day I'm not going to look as good as Hilary Duff, or even Maureen McCormick.

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.

I'm not suggesting censorship. I don't hate celebrity news. Yeah, I bought People's 100 most beautiful people edition. (I was 101, by the way), and I'm as excited as the next guy about Genie Francis coming back to General Hospital.

I'm just asking for a little balance. I'm just asking that next to the cover story about Angelina leaving Brad (allegedly), there would be a respectable magazine talking about sectarian violence in Iraq.

I'm just asking if we can put a magazine about the squandered foreign aid for Hurricane Katrina victims next to the cover story about Brad's mom saying he wants to get back with Jennifer (allegedly).

And it would be nice if we could find a spot for Jet and Ebony that's not buried behind the greeting cards.

Now that Time and Newsweek are as difficult to locate as maraschino cherries, stories about Lindsay's DUI arrest and Britney's underwear (or lack there of) just don't seem as sweet.

Can you blame me for missing Bat Boy and the Alien?

- - -

For years, Denise Moore's song stylings have made her a known quantity in local jazz circles. She regularly performs with her quintet, Then Some, on Wednesdays at Channelside's Grille 29. She also has a new CD, Nothing Standard, that is drawing raves.

Now Moore is teaming with fellow local favorites Rose Bilal and the Don Capone Trio for a benefit at Grille 29 on Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. The concert benefits Jazztorian, a nonprofit founded by Bilal that promotes the preservation of classical jazz.

Admission for this Jazz by the Bay event is $20 for Jazztorian members and $30 for nonmembers. For more information, call (813) 221-3088.

That's all I'm saying.

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