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A Web's-eye view of readers

July 12, 2010

o If you like reading Tim Rowland, you'll love watching him. See what else Tim has to say

I think you can tell a lot about a city by looking at the "most viewed" stories on its newspaper website.

For example, the three most popular stories in The Washington Post on Friday were:

o "BP prepares to change well's cap"

o "Deported Russian agents arrive in Vienna"

o "Democrats battle Independents' weakening support of Obama and Congress"

In New York, the three most popular stories in The Times were:

o "Phys ed: Your brain on exercise"

o "Biggest defaulters on mortgages are rich"

o "In Israel, the noble vs. the ugly"

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By contrast, in Hagerstown, the three most-viewed stories in The Herald-Mail on Friday all involved food. They were:

o "Restaurant owner fined, liquor license suspended in connection with fight"

o "Alley named to honor Hagerstown doughnut shop"

o "Mexican restaurant plans to open in Opal Court"

What does it mean? I don't know, you figure it out. My job is only to notice these things and provide you with the raw material to work with.

o It's been almost a decade since it's been gone, but I have yet to hear someone say, "You know, I really miss Plymouth."

o It looks as if Democrat Brien Poffenberger will face off against Republican Neil Parrot in the race for delegate from District 2B, the seat currently held by Del. Chris Shank. So we have a Puffin and a Parrot. All we need is an Independent named Macaw.

o Although not a huge NBA fan, I've always appreciated Tim Duncan. LeBron James makes me appreciate him even more.

o Paul the Octopus (I can't believe I'm even writing this) is said to be a psychic sea creature that has correctly predicted the winner of German soccer games dating back two years. He was on live German television (with two commentators) as he, correctly it turned out, chose Spain over Germany in the semi-finals. And the mollusk picked Spain to win it all.

Not to trivialize soccer, but I wish they'd spend his talents on something useful, like predicting the future of 3M stock.

o I suppose turnabout is fair play, but I'm now hearing from people in the Pacific Northwest whom I "gently chided" over the meteorological unpleasantness that they have suffered through over the past year. One recently bemoaned the fact that she was going to have to get up early to do her gardening "because the temperature is supposed to reach 70 today."

o I'm all about conspiracy theories. For example, I'm pretty sure the soap and hand-cream companies are in cahoots. Soap has some secret ingredient in it that severely dries out your hands and forces you to use hand cream. And of course, both are behind the current "wash your hands every time you touch an object that casts a shadow" craze, for reasons that should be self-evident.

But I heard another good one last week. When a company gives you "rewards points" toward the purchase of a given commodity, watch the price of that item, because it will mysteriously go up the day before the rewards points are scheduled to expire.

o Speaking of conspiracies, what ever happened to cloud seeding?

o And speaking of "what ever happened to, " what ever happened to those little motorized carts that used to bring relief pitchers in from the bullpen?

o Oh, and by the way, as it relates to the first item -- congratulations, Krumpe's, you've earned it.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or by e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com">timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant video under opinion@herald-mail.com">opinion@herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 evenings at 6:30. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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