What the country is talking about this week...

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1 STOCK MARKET I put all my money in government bonds. Then it turned out the whole place was run by crooked businessmen.

2 EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS Spiders eat chemical waste and become giant man-eating mutants. The only thing that can kill them is a giant rolled-up newspaper.

3 K-19: THE WIDOWMAKER Russian captain Harrison Ford must deal with a nuclear accident on his submarine. He has to make sure no spiders eat the waste.

4 ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER He says he still may run for governor of California. As soon as the salary becomes $20 million a year.

5 SIMON COWELL American Idol’s nasty judge. What kind of sick, twisted guy makes a living insulting hardworking entertainers?

6 FRANK THE PUG The talking dog star of Men in Black II is getting lots of press. All those years at the Yale School of Drama finally paid off.

7 BASEBALL STRIKE Many fans say they will never watch the sport again if the players walk out. So every team can feel the way the Tigers do now.

8 BEN CURTIS Dell’s stoner dude PC pitchman was reportedly punished by SAG for making commercials during the actors’ strike. Twice a day he has to milk the Gateway cow.

9 PLAYBOY Now working on ”Women of WorldCom and Arthur Andersen.” Was it worth losing your 401(k) for this?

10 THE MINNELLIS VH1 wants to do an Ozzy-like show with Liza. For that much-coveted 54-to-74 demographic.

11 RICKI LAKE She’s planning more mature topics for her 10th season. Like ”Should transvestites be able to join AARP?”

12 THE E STREET BAND After 30 years everyone in the group is still alive, well, and ready to tour. If the New Jersey air can’t kill them, nothing will.

13 $50.81 The average price of a concert ticket this year. Whiny, fussing tantrums: the average price of not giving your kid $50.81.

14 HEMINGWAY DAYS The Key West festival features a look-alike contest. But last year’s winner can’t attend — he’s suffering from look-alike’s block.

15 AVRIL LAVIGNE The pouty 17-year-old Canadian would be happy to knock Britney Spears off the record charts. Can you get her off the gossip pages too?

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