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Heymatt:

One of my loopier friends, Brian Kitlinger, claims that Kentucky Fried Chicken uses genetically engineered "tube chickens" instead of real chickens for their tasty meals. Since Brian puts such faith in your wisdom, could you please set him straight concering this insanity?

-- Rob Collier, Escondido

How did Brian miss the story about KFC engineering six-legged chickens so they could produce more of those way-popular drumsticks per bird? Urban-legendheads have to keep up, Brian. KFC's boneless, beakless, featherless "tube chickens" have been rumored since the mid-'90s, at least. The basic story says the Colonel dropped his old franchise name because the government wouldn't let him call the gene-tweaked blob of protein a "chicken." Nonsense, of course. I'd never send anyone to the Internet for facts, but in this case you can find many denials of the rumor there, and it will save you the cost of a phone call to the chicken researchers at the University of New Hampshire.

And because we've had an alarming influx of urban-legend questions lately, our Committee to Educate an Ungrateful Public offers these tips for spotting them before they get to me: 1. Does the story involve a famous name, especially one recently in the news? 2. Is it shocking, grisly, disgusting, titillating, or subversive? 3. Did you read it on a website called "Justin's Shredding Home Page"? 4. Does Justin include his own movie reviews and links to hundreds of Star Trek pages? 4. Are more than 30% of Justin's words misspelled? 5. Do more than 50% of his sentences end with at least three exclamation points? This is just the beginner's list. Let me know if you or Brian need more.

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