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Y ou may be noticing something a little extra in this week's Weekly Wire. That's because we decided to take a look back at '97 and provide lists of some of the magazine's best, weirdest, and most intriguing articles. Check out the contents pages for each section and you'll see what I mean.

Now on to the current year. Even though you're still writing 1997 on your checks, it's 1998 and we'd all better get with the program. "Canned Goods" attempts to help by outlining the trends experts expect to see in the near future. Bean pizzas! Forked tongues! More '70s retro! I can't wait.

If you think that's depressing, it's nothing compared to what the future holds in store for this guy. After 22 years in jail for a couple of murder convictions, he's not exactly a much-sought potential employee. With so few opportunities in the real world for ex-cons, it's no wonder the recidivism rate is so high. Can Bernard Barry stay on the positive side of the statistic? (See "It's Not Easy Being Free" for an added perspective.)

Other articles chronicle the evolution of mall Santas and penis pumps -- two subjects that can be linked in any way your imagination desires. And then there's the reliably kooky Odds & Ends column. One of our staff members wanted to feature it among the best-of-the-year articles, but we decided to point you to its jam-packed archives page instead. You'll find more than a few belly laughs among the entries. Don't hurt yourself.

Staff Picks '97
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What's Your Fate In '98?
There are so many new and interesting ways to die out there. We thought we'd outline a few of the terrifying health threats looming in our future. [12-22-97]
Karen Brandel

You, Robot
In MIT's Media Lab, linguist Justine Cassell is trying to do what techies can't -- make computers more human. [12-15-97]
Tom Scocca

Small Texas Tolerance
How an educated black man and an East Texas redneck became best friends. [12-29-97]
Jon Garrett

Diary Of A Sex Change
The diary of a female-to-male transexual reveals a difficult struggle toward self-discovery. [11-17-97]

It's Not Easy Being Free
A Paroled Prisoner's Struggle to Survive. [09-29-97]

Volume I, Issue 31
January 5 - January 12, 1998

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Canned Goods
Trends for 1998, according to the "experts," include split tongues, the color blue, and even bigger SUVs. [2]
Ellen Barry

Hard Time
Catching up with an ex-con sentenced to life on the streets. [3]
Keith O'Brien

The Santa Claus Professional
Mall Santas aren't born. They're made. [4]
Jacqueline Marino

Silly man -- vacuums are for carpet. [5]
Nurse Ratchett

Odds & Ends
Timed-release news capsules from the flipside. [6]
Devin D. O'Leary

Top Scandals '97
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Department of Ulterior
When wealthy casino tribes sought to derail a would-be competitor, campaign donations were the currency of the day.
Mike Lacey

A Federal Case?
As the Arizona governor was being convicted of bank fraud, the SLC mayor remains untouched by attempts to prosecute her for the Bonneville Pacific fraud. Is she the Teflon woman? [10-20-97]
Lynn Packer

Getting What We Deserve
Want to know who's responsible for the paparazzi? Look in the mirror. [09-15-97]
Ann Mulhearn

Hush Job?
Grave safety concerns are raised by a "hush" device on all DC-9 aircraft. A Scene exclusive. [10-20-97]
Willy Stern

Where There's Smoke, There's Fog
Did he or didn't he? Cohen's alleged marijuana use raises a whole cloud of questions. [09-29-97]
Jackson Baker

Now What?
Can't get enough news? You're in luck -- more news is created every day. Our Now What? page offers a plethora of recommended links to help keep you living in the present. [7]

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