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IT SEEMS TO US . . .

I DON'T WANNA BE ME: So here's what it takes to be thin -- a pizza with everything and an injected drug for dessert. According to an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, mice slimmed when injected with a drug that caused them to lose weight despite a high-calorie, high-fat diet. Weight loss with no effort. The question now is whether it'll work on humans.

If it does, what's next? An entire menu of effortless self-improvement projects? We can see the ads: Get a shot and learn how to play the piano, run a marathon or hit a drive 300 yards straight down the fairway. With no work, you can be the person you never were.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES: Get ready, Orchard Park, here comes democracy. The town, for a generation, has had an unconstitutional law banning political yard signs. It's going up in flames, though, thanks to a high school student who objected to the town's efforts to block his show of support for presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Christopher Sasiadek went to the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU set the Town Board straight and the law is headed for the dust bin.

To be sure, there is something to be said for a tidy, clutter-free town, but there is something more -- much more -- to be said for the glorious visual cacophony of democracy in action. Just one thing: When the election is over, everyone take down the signs. After the big day, they're just litter.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: So, what do you get when a former vice president and Democratic presidential nominee takes a job teaching journalism and promptly tells his students the session is off the record? You get a headline in the New York Times, if the students happen to attend Columbia University. What was Al Gore thinking?

It wasn't just him, either. Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, of all institutions, also tried to stifle the students. It didn't work. What Gore and the university failed to understand is 1) Gore is interesting and 2) he won't be for long. All they had to do was let the reporters ask a few questions and before long, they'd have gone away. The former vice president is yesterday's man. Of course, maybe that's what he's afraid of.

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