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It seems to us . . . OLV mourns, NHL tightens up and robostar is on the line

A LEADER LOST: The death of Monsignor Robert C. Wurtz this week at 74 adds a note of sorrow to the Christmas season for his friends and for his parishioners at Our Lady of Victory, Lackawanna's gorgeous landmark basilica. But the monsignor, who championed the cause of sainthood for the Rev. Nelson Baker and was the first of Father Baker's successors to juggle as many causes, human service efforts and spiritual initiatives, would be the first to say he had completed just one stage of his own journey.

The next stage, we hope, will include a meeting with Father Baker. Maybe they can compare notes on the sainthood campaign. Maybe they won't have to.

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STRETCHING THE TRUTH: It hasn't caused much of a stir yet on this side of the border, but hockey purists in Canada are more than a little upset that Reebok and the National Hockey League will be discarding traditional hockey jerseys for sleeker form-fitting ones that tuck into the pants. Scheduled to debut at the All-Star game, the new look -- and new apparel revenue stream -- could be sported by all teams as early as next season.

We're dismayed, too. Because it occurs to us that the real problem with the form-fitting look won't involve the athletic guys on the ice, it'll involve the jersey-wearing fans in the stands. Truth hurts. It hurts worse in stretchy fabrics. Ban the Fan Cam.

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NO CELEBRITY CALL-INS?: If some spoil-sport quality-of-life advocates get their way, a great new election season conversation starter -- "hey, you'll never guess who called me last night . . ." -- could become a thing of the past.

At least six states are considering bills to stop political "robocalls," the computer-placed barrage of phone calls pre-recorded by Hollywood and political celebrities to solicit candidate support. Some would ban the practice, others would just add automated political campaign calls to state do-not-call registries, according to Congressional Quarterly.

Don't worry, New York is not one of them. Hollywood could still call -- but probably not until the 2008 elections.

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