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On Sunday, I spend an hour and a half with the newspaper. During the week, it's more apt to be 45 minutes.

The big medical story this week was the report that a low-fat, high-fiber diet doesn't help prevent colon cancer.

I swear, it won't surprise me the day the New England Journal of Medicine publishes a report saying that a pack of cigarettes and a pound of butter a day are good for you.

In the sports section, I couldn't help noticing that quite a few baseball teams beat quite a few other teams, but I wasn't much interested in which.

Baseball fans are more interested in the statistics of their game than I am. The big baseball story in Monday's sports section was that for the first time in history, two players each hit two home runs batting from both sides of the plate in the same game.

A story in the business section says the bicycle industry is disappearing in the United States because people aren't riding bicycles as much as they used to and if they do ride, they're more apt to buy a bike made in China than an American Huffy or Roadmaster, because it's cheaper.

One reason people don't ride bikes much is that it's hard to find a safe place to ride. It's usually illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk, and it's too dangerous to ride in the street. They're illegal on highways.

My office is two miles from Grand Central Terminal, where my train comes in from Connecticut. It would save me time and money if I could leave a bicycle there and pedal to the office and back every day, but I don't dare. Last year, 34 bicyclists were killed on the streets of New York and 4,695 bicyclists were injured in motor vehicle accidents.

It's embarrassing that the Russian parliament passed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and Congress will not. I hate it when my country does the wrong thing.

There is an ongoing argument among teachers about the best way to teach mathematics.

I have an opinion about this. Every child should be taught arithmetic first. When did "arithmetic" become "mathematics"?

Most people read the obituary pages in their newspaper. An obituary should always include what it was the person died of; the reason for death. Everyone is interested in that. They always wonder if it might be the reason for their own eventual demise.

Some papers that give the cause of death don't give one if the person is over 90. That makes sense.

It was a surprise to read that Brazil grows more oranges than any other country. I didn't know that. There's nothing nicer than an orange . . . nothing nicer than a tall glass of orange juice. Apparently Brazilians don't think so, though. Even though they grow so many, they eat or drink only 1 percent of all the oranges they grow. Most are shipped to the United States. That's another surprise. I always think of the oranges I eat as having been grown either in Florida or California.

The teenage hacker who shut down a lot of e-mail businesses all over the world with his computer in Montreal was known as Mafiaboy.

It's becoming apparent that if a nation's public works facilities, like power plants and water systems, can be disrupted by computer experts from another country, weapons like guns, bombs and battleships may get to be obsolete. Instead of bombing a power plant, an enemy will hire a hacker to disable everything run by computer, and the country will come to a halt.

People complain about there being too much bad news in the newspaper -- but it's what they read first.

Tribune Media Services

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