MONDAY, JUNE 17 Previously on As the Booty Turns Jennifer Lopez threatens to divorce choreographer hubby Cris Judd, but keeps him around the house as a kept boy. Meanwhile, she's gallivanting around town canoodling with the likes of Ben Affleck and Ralph Fiennes a fact that has not gone unnoticed by former beau Sean "H.R. Puff 'N' Diddy" Combs. Now let's join this week's As the Booty Turns, already in progress. Today J. Lo took another great stride towards world domination by signing a multi-million dollar deal with Signatures Networks to merchandise her name and likeness on perfume, calendars, tighty t-shirts, and many other products that Winona Ryder will possibly sneak into her handbag. Meanwhile, knowing that nothing impresses like success, P. Diddy has been doing some wheeling and dealing of his own, wresting control of his Bad Boy record label away from parent company Arista, and waggling it around like a bling-bling bracelet to impress we wonder who? But then how can Ms. Lo be wooed when she's been holed up in her L.A. home with Jersey Girl co-star Ben Affleck all weekend long? And if former lover Ralph Fiennes is feeling like last season's Steve Maddens, then we can only imagine the sorrow of cuckolded hubby Cris Judd. According to the New York Post, the former teetotaler has hit the bottle, chugging down drinks at Usher's end-of-tour party, and desperately checking his two-way pager for any communiqué from the missing Lo. He's also been seen taking solace at his parent's home in Florida, helping out at mama's Chinese restaurant, Eggrolls R Us (we are not kidding and it gets worse). Cris was also born with a clubfoot and must bear the daily sight of his childhood corrective footwear, which adorns the wall of the family business. Oh, how the mighty continue to fall, as we shall see in next week's episode of As the Booty Turns.

TUESDAY, JUNE 18 Is Portland turning into a city of thieves? First, one of the "Kows for Kids" was "kow-napped" (Haaa-haaa-haaaa! Ehhhhhh) and now, a more blatant example of thievery has transpired--and from the Cirque du Soliel! The frenchy traveling circus known for their sexy outfits and significant lack of monkeys on roller-skates, was burgled on late Saturday evening, according to a report from today's Oregonian. Among the missing items stolen from the prop tent underneath Portland's Marquam Bridge: "colorful fans, a headdress combining the faces of a dragon and a lion," and "an elaborate cloak made of hundreds of white feathers." Unsurprisingly, this crime has stumped local police. "What in the world would someone use something like that for?" asked befuddled Officer Henry Groepper, a spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau. Well, Officer Groepper, though we grow tired of solving all of your cases for you, we'll be happy once again to suggest a helpful hint in the right direction. First of all, look at the list of stolen articles: fancy fans, a headdress, and a cloak of feathers. Next, when was it stolen? Saturday night or the day before the Gay Pride Parade. Now, we're not pointing any fingers, but if it walks like a duck, and it talks like a duck, then it's probably a big gay duck.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19 If you have no interest in the new summer TV sensation American Idol (the national talent show for masochists) then for your own good, please leave the room. Tonight, three finalists were chosen from a pack of ten contestants, who have somehow managed to withstand the moral degradation inflicted upon them by judge and possible death camp commandant Simon Cowell. And while we have no problem with the first two finalists chosen by viewers at home (the absolutely lovely Tamyra, and the fashion-challenged Ryan "Sheena of the Jungle" Starr) what is up with America's choice for the third finalist, Jim "Have I mentioned lately I have deaf parents?" Verraros? Sure, his parents have auditory disabilities and sure, he used to be fat--but to elect this boo-hoo crybaby into the third chair over the hotsy-totsy Chris (aka "Mr. Cool") is an unforgivable crime against all humanity! Yes, America, there are people who we should show some sympathy toward--the homeless, cancer victims, perhaps even Michael J. Fox--but Jim Verraros?? We might as well sign over the deed to our country to Osama bin Laden because the terrorists have won.

THURSDAY, JUNE 20 More trouble for alleged arsonist and park ranger Terry Barton, who stands accused of starting the worst wildfire in Colorado history. Today Barton was in court pleading innocent to charges of "setting fire to a national forest, damaging federal property, injuring a fire fighter, and using fire to commit a felony." And why? As usual, it's all because of a MAN. Originally Barton said she discovered the blaze while on patrol, but fell apart under questioning and confessed she was burning a letter from her estranged husband A MAN accidentally started the blaze that has so far destroyed 136,000 acres and forced the evacuation of 8,900 people. Whoopsy. If convicted, Barton could receive a $1 million fine and up to 65 years in prison, and why? Because of a no-good, triflin' MAN. If only she had remembered what Smokey the Bear always says: "Girls, only YOU can prevent bad relationships."

FRIDAY, JUNE 21 Today, with little fanfare, the Oregonian reported that Pepsi Bottling Group will stop distributing 7UP at the end of the year. Why was this not front-page news, you ask? Because corporate America is conspiring to keep you in the dark while they pull the old switcharoo. (You remember Tab, don't you?) With little respect to our tried and true 7UP maven, Pepsi is edging in its new lemon-lime soda Sierra Mist like a young tart with more ambition than substance. What is this Sierra Mist? It just appeared one day--7UP in a low-cut dress. In fact, it is just Slice with a fancy new moniker. We're all for promoting the hot new thing (cashmere underwear, Mini-Coopers, Raquel Welch hair extensions), but phase out 7UP? What will kids play in school? Heads Up Sierra Mist? That makes no sense at all.

SATURDAY, JUNE 22 Dear Ann Landers: We heard you died today. Was your real name really Eppie Lederer? What is multiple myeloma anyway? Does it hurt? Does your twin sister really write "Dear Abby"? Do you hate her? Anyway, our sister-in-law is coming to visit. She always complains about our paper napkins. She says that paper napkins represent Satan and that we will burn in hell for all eternity. Is this true? Do you think she was molested as a child? Is there an afterlife? Can you see me right now? Please write back.

Signed,

Ann

Portland OR

SUNDAY, JUNE 23 According to today's New York Times, the Bush administration is promoting a new song based on Bush's campaign slogan, "No Child Left Behind." Christopher Cerf and Sarah Bruce Durkee, who have a children's show called "Between the Lions," penned the song, written to drum up support for the President's education plan. It goes like this (sung in the mood of an upbeat gospel tune):

We're here to thank our President/For signing this great bill/That's right! Yeah/ Research shows we know the way/It's time we showed the will!

As you can see, it's insipid. The Education Department is considering having the song piped into their lobby, having students perform it when the Secretary of Education visits, or playing it for callers when the department puts them on hold. We can think of LOTS better songs about the President's education package. Can you? Write down your best lyrics and send them to

ann@portlandmercury.com.