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JIM MULLEN'S HOT SHEET

WHAT THE COUNTRY WAS TALKING ABOUT THIS YEAR…

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1 KERRI STRUG Bela Karolyi’s tiny tumbler showed us what she was made of at the Olympics. Helium.

2 PAMELA ANDERSON LEE The talent-deprived Baywatch star has managed to keep a high profile. Maybe she’s had press implants, too.

3 THE RULES The best-seller on surefire ways to snag a man. Inheriting tons of money doesn’t work anymore?

4 MADONNA Now that she’s a mom, we can expect such future hits as ”Because I Said So, That’s Why” and ”Don’t Make Me Come In There.”

5 THE JACKIE O. AUCTION People paid thousands more than what the stuff was worth. It must be the same crowd that sets CEO salaries.

6 THE MACARENA The dance craze of the summer. One small step for man, one giant leap for the hokey-pokey challenged.

7 ELLEN She may make TV history — by being the first female in a leading role to play a blatant asexual.

8 OLESTRA Will a few embarrassing side effects sideline the promising fat substitute? If they did, cabbage would be long gone.

9 MICHAEL JACKSON He’s going to be a father. As soon as the kid’s old enough, he’ll get Daddy’s nose.

10 DENNIS RODMAN The press act like they’ve never seen a parrot-headed, tattoo-covered, body-pierced, cross-dressing basketball star before.

11 CIGARS Popular with people who’ve given up inhaling. Now all we need is a good 5 cent gas mask.

12 ER BP 170 over 90! We’re losing her! What happened? She bumped into George Clooney.

13 JFK JR. He pulled off the wedding of the year without turning it into a media feeding frenzy. Obviously, he’ll never be a politician.

14 MIKE OVITZ Why wasn’t the world’s most successful agent happy at Disney? Because they never let him wear the Michael Eisner costume.

15 STRIPTEASE Demi Moore flopped. So did the film.