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Recent cover stories on Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan have helped establish Vanity Fair as the go-to publication for reading 8,000-word pieces on celebrities whose publicists can only squeeze out 500 or so words at a time from the weeklies. Fully committed to the responsibilites of this hard-won, exalted position, VF's website is already touting the next installment of their "Let Me Explain Why I Am So Distressingly Skinny" series, in which Nicole Richie holds forth on the mystery of her extravagant boniness. The release even quotes her therapist, who furrows a brow as he offers his thoughts on the measures they're taking to correct the problem:

"Our evaluation is an ongoing one. We're working on a systematic plan to get more calories in, and we're going to watch it and see if it succeeds. We're all concerned, and she's concerned, but it's either going to improve or it won't. If it's not anorexia, she should be able to gain the weight. If it ends up being anorexia, we'll help her with that. I think she's willing to look this in the eye."

According to the excerpts, the weight loss continues to be a riddle that could make the Sphinx swallow a fistful of sleeping pills in frustration. Richie eats and eats—burritos, "salty cheese-and-grease kind of stuff," entire tubs of lard, whatever—and still her ribs persist in their attempt to escape from their fleshy jail and make a mad break for daylight. Perhaps the full article will provide some satisfying answers.

And if you're worried that Richie won't show off any more of her famous figure than is revealed in the above, tasteful bikini photo, take heart—Vanity Fair's really outdone themselves with a five-page spread of the (physically, emotionally) exposed Simple Life star barely covering her unclothed form with a variety of medical skeletons.