What the country is talking about this week...

By Jim Mullen
Updated September 24, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

1. Ricky Martin: The singer will be featured in upcoming Ford ads. Who knew they made a car for 13-year-old girls?

2. The West Wing: Each week brings another crisis for President Martin Sheen. By the end of the first season, he has to pardon Charlie three times.

3. Sylvester Stallone: The action star says he’s not getting the respect he deserves in Hollywood. Oh, but he is.

4. Dr. Joy Browne: A psychologist tries to help troubled people on her talk show. Her first guests will be Sally Jessy Raphael and Jerry Springer.

5. Killer insects: New York is spraying to kill disease-spreading mosquitoes. The theory: Bugs won’t bite already-dead humans.

6. ‘Tis: The follow-up to Angela’s Ashes has Frank McCourt teaching high school in New York City. Doesn’t anything good ever happen to this guy?

7. Work With Me: A new TV series about husband-and-wife lawyers who share an office. The title Just Shoot Me was taken.

8. Hurricanes: They always show people buying plywood. What did they do with all the plywood they bought last week?

9. Eddie Fisher: What’s the biggest revelation in the ’50s singer’s sleazy tell-all about his ex-wives and ex-lovers? That he’s still alive.

10. Harry Potter: The young wizard-in-training character has kids wanting to read books. Undoing years of work by grade schools everywhere.

11. Country Music Association Awards: The big surprise is that no one’s ever written a song about not winning this.

12. Third Watch: The new show that features accidents, mishaps, and disasters. If it’s a hit, it’ll replace the local news.

13. Silver Sewer Award: Two politicos have honored Rupert Murdoch as the leading purveyor of smut this year. And who would know better?

14. Binge beer: Colleges have banded together to warn parents about student drinking. It’s said that some bars want to cut out the middleman and just charge tuition.

15. For Love of the Game: Toward the end of his career, Kevin Costner pitches a perfect game. For the Durham Bulls. On the Field of Dreams.