NEWS FLASH: Had enough wire copy and weather coverage to last till hell freezes over? Feel that nagging suspicion that something just isn't right when even the publishers of your daily paper feel the most compelling thing on the front page is a neon flyer advertising "Only 25¢ Today!", rather than the day's headlines? You're not alone.

While our local news puppies seem destined to chase their tales, there's some comfort in hearkening back to the comforting formality of the wry and conservative: There's still The Economist, a truly great source for national and international news, available every week. This glossy mag tempers a healthy dose of the highbrow with that understated British wit that's given Old England its long-standing reputation for producing the world's finest statesmen. God save the Queen.

While a few weeks have come and gone since its publication, you should still be able to pick up the annual issue of wild prognostications, "The World In 1997," ($6) at most bookstores and newsstands. Printed in the good ol' U.S. of A., this special edition draws from a number of commentators--Bill Gates, Tony Blair, Chris Patten, Leon Brittan, Richard Branson and Joseph Nye, to name a few--to write about trends in politics, economics, and societal problems from containing new diseases and the crumbling of communism in China, to too many blacks in America's prisons. Other topics include management and "ideas," a section including Gates on "How to make sense of the Internet," and update on Libertarian America and the future of space travel.

If The Economist doesn't make you want to put on your slippers, sit in an armchair and sip a hot toddy, there isn't an ounce of civility left in ya.

POP ART: We leap out like a Jack-in-the-Box to inform you that your last chance to catch the ninth annual Pop-Up and Moveable Book Exhibit is fast approaching. This delightful private collection of more than 200 recently published books is on display through January 27 in the Main Library on the UA campus, west of Cherry Avenue on the mall. Exhibit is free, and occupies the main floor, third floor and Special Collections lobby. For information and library hours, call 621-6441.

TAKE A WHIFF: Onion ('un-yun), noun. 1) A widely cultivated Asian herb of the lily family with pungent edible bulbs. 2) A wildly funny weekly of the tabloid news family, with poignant, satirical blurbs on made-up news. Sadly, many of us lack the wherewithal to obtain this gem out of Madison, Milwaukee, and Boulder. But if you've got the proper hardware, you can check them out online at for such regular features as "Pathetic Geek Stories," the hilarious headlines of "News In Brief," syndicated columns like "Savage Love," and an archive of greatest hits from the odoriferous alternative's dead letter office. Started in early May 1996, The Onion online immediately became a hot stop on the vastly boring infohighway. You'll even find traces of local champion of the sick and twisted, Max Cannon, whose Red Meat cartoon constitutes one tiny layer of The Onion.

If you can't get it for free and you must have it, subscriptions to the printed issue are $35 annually for 40 issues. For information, call 1-800-695-4376. TW

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