Regular readers will know that on July 4, 1776, four of the declaration signatories repaired to a quiet room to play a game remarkably similar to present-day bridge. After two rubbers, Thomas Jefferson was well ahead. On the first board of the third rubber, John Adams made seven hearts with 150 honors. On the second, Adams went down in a four-spade contract he could have made with the aid of a scissors coup. On the third deal, Jefferson made four hearts with a dentist's coup. This was the fourth deal.
In the year ahead, you are likely to be attracted to progressive individuals who are in tune with the times. Any new association you make will fit this bill, and one or two could become close friends.
DEAR DR. GOTT: I have a lot of health problems. One is polymyalgia, which makes me stiff and in a lot of pain. I've taken prednisone, but the side effects were terrible, so I stopped that drug.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a high school student in the top 2 percent of my class. I'm heavily involved in extracurricular activities. I don't give my mom much to worry about, but she is always "concerned."
WASHINGTON - Rates on 30-year mortgages, which had been rising for five straight weeks, posted a decline this week as signals from the Federal Reserve eased worries about imminent rate increases.
ROME - Italian authorities have started fingerprinting tens of thousands of Gypsies living in nomad camps across the country - adults and children alike - brushing aside accusations of racism by human rights advocates and international organizations.
BERLIN - Bettina Schardt knew that the combination of drugs she drank in the living room of her home in Wuerzburg last week would kill her, and she died alone.
STAUNTON, Va. - Three West African bushmen recruited to build a mud-hut village at the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia have been denied visas because officials say the men were poor, didn't speak English and failed to convince them that their visit only would be temporary.
BEIJING - China wants the Dalai Lama to prove he does not support Tibetan independence and disruption of the Beijing Olympics, and told the spiritual leader's two visiting envoys that ''positive actions'' could lead to more talks this year, a state news agency reported Thursday.
Summer Sports Show for Thursday, July 3 - Presented by Farmers and Merchants Bank.
NEW YORK - The hedge fund cheat who tried to fake his own death before going on the lam told a judge Thursday that he really did try to kill himself with a drug overdose the day before he surrendered in Massachusetts.
GLOUCESTER, Mass. - The high school where the principal claimed girls formed a pact to get pregnant is one of the few in Massachusetts with a day care center, leading some to wonder whether that sent a message that teen motherhood is OK.
MONROE, Ga. - Investigators have spent two days digging at a property in northeast Georgia in search of clues advocates hope could lead to finding living suspects in the unsolved lynchings of four people in 1946.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A former death row inmate was freed from a Nashville prison on Wednesday for the first time in nearly 23 years after an anonymous donor paid his bail.
NEW YORK - Iran's foreign minister on Wednesday dismissed talk of a U.S. or Israeli attack against his country, calling the prospect of another war in the Middle East ''craziness.''
Man of the Decade