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FishbowlLA, apparently, was wondering about trend stories. Or, really, about the trends in the trend stories. Are they real? Where do they come from? And, especially, how do Times writers find out about them? Fishbowl, it seems, was particularly concerned by Zoe Wolff's piece in last Thursday's Gay Styles section, the front-pager on the allegedly new trend of pre-marriage couples therapy, based on "Erica, 30, a screenwriter in Manhattan," and her fianc . Fishbowl suspected that Wolff was merely writing about what was going on in her friends' lives.

Let's turn to Friendster, the craigslist of our generation. Zoe Wolff's Friendster page is linked to someone named 'Erica'. Now, granted, this Erica claims to be a 28-year-old Angeleno, and the Erica in the article is identified as a 30-year-old New Yorker. But what's a couple years and forty-something flyover states in the scheme of things?

Fishbowl decided to test the hypothesis that these two Ericas are one and the same. The results? Very interesting. Our Friendster trail almost leads to the White House.

It's a torturous trail that includes John Kerry, one of his children and one of his step-children, and hours of Friendster fun. It also doesn't really prove much of anything. But, then again, with a conspiracy so deep — involving a presidential campaign, the Times, ketchup heiresses, and the screenwriting mafia — it'll be years till the whole truth comes out.

The Trends of Our Friends [FishbowlLA]