Forget the headlines above the stories about Cowboy George and his scary sidekick John Ashcroft ripping away at basic civil rights covered in the Constitution, all in the name of secrecy because of the war. A war being overseen, by the way, by a United States general who calls himself Tommy Bubba. Forget the headlines about the economy falling into an abyss. Forget the headlines about American troops closing in on Osama bin Laden, even though no one knows where he is and he hasn t been seen since September 11th, which should lead someone, but certainly not the media, to question whether he, being the chickenshit he is, just may have shaved his beard, changed his looks, bought some new clothes, and took off months ago with all his billions of dollars to a place that likely wouldn t be annihilated. Forget all this, because there is much more relevant news to be had. Where are the details about Winona Ryder???!!! Poor thing. Caught on video taking the anti-theft devices off of thousands of dollars worth of clothing at Saks in Los Angeles and stuffing them into bags in a whirlwind shoplifting caper. What on earth is up with that? She also allegedly had some painkillers on her for which she allegedly didn t have a prescription. Are we beginning to see a pattern here with the recent, similar circumstances surrounding city councilwoman Pat VanderSchaaf? What is this correlation between pain pills and shoplifting? Having had severe back problems most of my adult life, I have taken my share of painkillers and let me tell you that never once did I think, Hmm, this feels so good I d better go shoplift something. I think poor Winona must be reaching out. But why shoplift? Especially when you re that rich. And it s not like everyone else in L.A. isn t on Vicodin too. It s like aspirin out there. And you don t see many other megastars stealing clothing from department stores (the most disturbing thing here is the discovery that she shops off the rack). I think poor Winona -- whom I met once and can assure you is a lovely person -- just needs a good dose of (drumroll, please) Reverend Wayne Webb of the smash local television show Let s Talk About Jesus. Wayne is my absolute favorite person on television and I am often late for things because I become absorbed in his show on Sunday mornings. Wayne, who appears to be wearing a toupee inexplicably designed in the fashion of a comb-over, has the most interesting speech pattern of anyone on television. It has a bizarre tone in which he places lilting emphasis on the wrong syllables. Just this morning he was talking about the Second Coming of Christ. Only he referred to it throughout the show as the com-ING, with the ING much louder and more powerful than the com. And he refers to God as the fa-THER. You have to hear it to believe it. And before his talk, there is always a song. Today s was sung by a man with hair and a voice not altogether unlike Conway Twitty s. It was a holiday song of sorts, and there was a set design of the Nativity. The figures they chose for the scene, unfortunately, looked like a cross between troll dolls, yard jockeys, and those mechanical mountain gnomes at Rock City I mentioned a few weeks back. But it was a sweet song, despite the Garden Ridge-esque backdrop, and the guy s voice was pretty good. The only thing stranger than the Nativity scene was the fact that it was in what appeared to be a gift shop. Is this in the church? I have to know. Of the Second Coming, Wayne said it would not be much like the First Coming, which was really nice and in a manger and all that. No, he said, this one would be pretty ugly, with Jesus charging in judging those who haven t followed Him and casting eternal damnation upon them. I guess this leaves all you Buddhists and Muslims and Hindus and children of tribes in Africa who ve never heard of the Bible just a wee bit out in the cold, eh? Hope you all have a different take on all this. I, personally, am not sure about the end of time. Except for wondering how that decision is going to be made. I mean, really, think about it. That is a big step. How does God or whoever decide when enough is enough? At least there is some promise of some kind about not doing it again with a flood, which should be comforting to those of us here in Memphis. The best thing about Wayne s show is that, at least on this one about the Second Coming, he moved from the pulpit to a desk with a large newsroom-like map of the world behind him, so if you just walked by the television without paying much attention, you might think it s a news show and he is the anchor and his message is the Sunday-morning news. Fabulous. In the meantime, I suppose it s time again to stop all this nonsense and get around to the point of all this -- what s going on around town this week, should we survive another one. Tonight, there s a broadcast on WKNO-TV Channel 10 at 7 p.m. of In Their Own Voice, an informal jam session taped at the Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center, featuring Nancy Apple, Teenie Hodges, Keith Sykes, Delta Joe Sanders, Duane Jarvis, and Sandy Carroll. Preston Shannon is at Isaac Hayes club in Peabody Place. And T-Model Ford and Robert Wolfman Belfour are at the Lounge.