Most shocking true crimes of 2015 and other holiday delights in the tabloids

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! – Mark]

Countless wannabes are dying to be stars, so perhaps it makes perverse sense that so many stars are sick or dying – at least to judge by this week's tabloids and celebrity magazines.

"Tumor-stricken 'Top Gun' hero" Val Kilmer has "three months to live" according to the Globe, which has photos of the 55-year-old actor wearing what appears to be a medical throat tube in his neck.

Burt Reynolds suffered a "heart attack drama" according to the National Enquirer, with photos of the Deliverance star sprawled on the floor – though it turns out that he merely stumbled, went straight on with a TV appearance, and it's merely an unnamed "friend" suggesting that "Burt is a heart attack waiting to happen!"

Not to be outdone in the pursuit of medical scoops, the Examiner runs a spread on "Stars Battling Hepatitis," which is as tasteful and sensitive as you'd imagine.

Add singer-actress Cher "dying" in the Globe, Kim Kardashian sharing details of her placenta accreta in People magazine, the Enquirer exposing Ben Affleck allegedly undergoing cosmetic surgery and an eyelid lift, and the Enquirer also recounting how Pope Francis cured a baby girl's brain tumor with a kiss, and this week's celebrity magazines are just like reading the American Journal of Medicine (though without the peer review, control testing, or facts.)

Speaking of facts, the Enquirer's cover reveals that there are "93 Secret ISIS Cells Here" in America. Not 92 cells. Not 94. Because the Enquirer has counted them. And they are all "ready to kill Americans," the Enquirer adds helpfully. Consider yourself warned.

Fortunately, we have hard-hitting investigative reporters to tell us that Jessica Alba wore it best, prima ballerina Misty Copeland eats Cheez-Its "almost every day," and that Betsy Brandt carries keys, mascara, Band-Aids and Kleenex in her purse. Why don't celebrities ever admit to carrying condoms and tampons in their bags? I suspect some selective editing here.

And the stars are still like us! Us magazine informs us they mug for selfies, walk their dogs, pick up new appliances, go for rides and cheer for the team. Good to know.
Kim Kardashian and her placenta obsess Us and People mags this week. "You can tell that Kim's very close with her family," a "Kardashian insider" tells People magazine – the sort of insight you won't find anywhere else.

It's early December in the real world, but in celebrity magazine world it's already December 21 – check the dates on every cover – so that explains the end-of-year round-ups. People offers its "25 most intriguing people," while the Globe gives us its "Most Shocking True Crimes of 2015," a horror-drenched ten-page extravaganza filled with what passes in the tabloids for seasonal cheer.

Onwards and downwards . . .