The tabloids are routinely filled with news you can’t use, but it’s intriguing to find that their pages are also filled with ads for products nobody needs.
A beer stein shaped like a rocket-ship to commemorate Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary? It’s yours, “an impressive 10 inches high,” for only four installments of $29.99 each, plus $16.99 shipping.
Want an illuminated Christmas wreath decorated with bas-relief kittens that light up on a 24-hour timer? Yours for only four installments of $32.50 each, plus $17.99 shipping - the perfect gift for those long hot summer nights.
Who could resist a 1937 Studebaker Woody Wagon sculpture in “high quality artist’s resin” that “measures a BIG 10 3/4” long” decorated with pictures of John Wayne, and signed with “Duke’s replica signature”? Only three payments of $33.33 each, plus $13.00 shipping.
Love Ghostbusters? Then you’ll be rushing to buy the $39.99 four-inch high figurines of the original cast being pursued by a 7 1/4” high Pillsbury doughboy.
Or maybe you want to honor those who serve? Buy the “Firefighter Commitment to Courage Wall Clock” for $199.99, or the sculpture of an American eagle holding in its talons a Stars and Stripes flag in black and white with one ribbon of blue - “The Thin Blue Line” to celebrate police: only $79.99.
And who wouldn’t want a Coca-Cola bottle cap hammered out of a “real silver dollar,” for only $29.95?
These all fit in perfectly with this week's tabloid ads for Viagra, Cialis, Life Alert alarms for when you’ve fallen and you can’t get up, diet supplements, overactive bladder treatments and walk-in bathtubs.
Taken together they paint a picture of aging, ailing readers who fill their homes with useless tchotchkes.
And this week’s tabloid stories don’t offer anything more mentally stimulating than the 6” high reproduction Thomas Kinkade canvas exhorting you to “Start each day with a grateful heart,” a steal at only $34.99.
The Duchess of Sussex dominates the ‘National Enquirer’ cover under the headline: “Fight To End All Fights! Meghan Walks Out & Takes Archie! Shocking Ultimatum Brings Harry to Tears.”
Alleged “Palace insiders spill the beans” on a row at Frogmore Cottage after Prince Harry supposedly told Meghan to “obey royal rules.” You know: the ones printed on the inside lid of the box before you play the game. Meghan reportedly fled with Archie to “an exclusive London hideaway hotel” without her security detail, and gave Harry “a shocking ultimatum: Get your family off my back or we’re through!”
You have to admire the 'Enquirer’ palace moles, who beat Britain's Fleet Street royal press corps to exclusives every time, thanks to their team of reporters who live in the attic and beneath the floorboards at Frogmore Cottage, presumably secreted there during recent renovations.
Brad Pitt’s "Brush With Scientology Death!” is revealed in the ‘Enquirer,’ and clearly he is lucky to be alive. Apparently the actor took two low-level courses in 1991 and 1993, which may possibly have included a few hours in a steam room, a process which some former Scientologists claim “left them weak and unable to complete everyday tasks, such as housework.” Which is the same as a brush with death, obviously, because if you can’t do housework you might as well be dead.
Julia Roberts and husband Danny Moder are quitting Hollywood, “Ditching Careers to Adopt Child!” claims the ‘Enquirer.’ Evidently this is because the couple couldn’t possibly work and care for a fourth child at the same time. Who could?
TV’s former ‘Friends’ star “Matthew Perry’s a Hotel Hermit!” reports the ‘Enquirer,’ showing us a photo of the “hermit” casually strolling the streets of New York after leaving his hotel suite, for the second time in the past month. If he’s not careful and keeps wandering the city, the authorities will revoke Perry’s Recluse Club membership card.
The ‘Globe’ fills its cover with Elvis Presley’s daughter: “230-lb Lisa Marie Eating Herself to Death! Shocking Reason She Gained 125 lbs. in Two Years.”
The reason? She “binges on food for comfort after being deserted by almost everyone she loves and battling drug issues in rehab in the past two years." Is that really so shocking?
It might be a lot more shocking if she was scarfing down fried peanut butter sandwiches in a bid to outweigh her father, who reportedly tipped the scales at 350.5 pounds at his peak.
Prince Harry and Meghan come in for another bashing in the ‘Globe,’ which gives a big display to the widely discredited story: “Harry & Meghan Are Nightmare Neighbors!”
Harry’s “snooty wife” reportedly issued orders to locals not to ask about Archie or pet their dogs. But this story has been pretty well refuted, after it emerged that the Royal couple had nothing to do with the suggestions to protect their privacy made by some lowly Windsor Castle functionary.
‘Us’ magazine continues its existence as an adjunct of Hollywood’s PR-industrial complex with a sycophantic cover story on Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson: “Fatherhood, Fame & Making Box Office History.”
He’s tough on screen, but kind-hearted at home, the magazine reveals. Shocking. I always assumed he shot up his home with a machine-gun every chance he got. “His favourite role? Dad.” Bet it doesn’t pay as well as his movie roles though.
‘People’ magazine flirts with disaster porn with its cover story on the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, under the headline: “13 Hours, 31 Dead. ENOUGH.” Where’s an exclamation point when you need it?
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at ‘Us’ magazine to tell us that Mandy Moore wore it best, that Real Housewife of Orange County Tamra Judge hates bras and “can’t live without my nipple covers,” that singer-actress-dancer Dove Cameron carries lip liner, a wifi speaker and old coins from her childhood in India in her classic black Prada bag, and that the stars are just like us: they shop for groceries, drink juice, and take showers - though most of us don’t take showers while being monstered by paparazzi.
If only Hugh Jackman had a walk-in bathtub, then maybe he wouldn’t be feeling the need to shower in public on Bondi Beach.
Onwards and downwards . . .