The 15 hottest topics for the week of September 11, 1998

1 MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL It marks the return of America’s biggest sport. Betting.

2 http://www.sad A study finds that people who use the Internet become lonelier. Is there a Web page where I can read more about that?

3 MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS The prize given for finding a new place to pierce.

4 BACK TO SCHOOL Each year everything seems to get more expensive. Books, supplies, clothes, ammo…

5 LABOR DAY Since we get the day off, shouldn’t it be called No Labor Day?

6 THE ROSEANNE SHOW This will be a daytime first. A talk show where the host is weirder than the guests.

7 MICHAEL JACKSON The King of Pop celebrated his 40th birthday. He was hoping to get a squirt gun and a yo-yo.

8 L.A. The town is observing its 217th birthday. Blow out all the brushfires and make a wish.

9 KNOCK OFF Jean-Claude Van Damme’s latest action film takes place entirely in Hong Kong. Unfortunately they didn’t dub over his voice.

10 FAT A new report says extremely low-fat diets may be bad for your health. It was sponsored by Lane Bryant.

11 MONA LISA Some say the historic painting should be cleaned; others are afraid that the process could damage it. The numbers might show through.

12 FLY WILLY The U.S. Air Force will take Keiko the whale from Oregon to Iceland. It’d be inhumane to fly him commercial.

13 U.S. OPEN Bead-happy sisters Venus and Serena Williams are being noticed in Hollywood. There’s talk of putting them in a film called The Braidy Bunch.

14 MONICA LEWINSKY Reports say that she turned down $6 million to write a book. So she can say no.

15 PAXNET The new network will offer shows with no explicit sex, no senseless violence, and no foul language. Like C-SPAN used to be.