The Week in Review

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Few of this week's stories were what they seemed at first blush. Assumptions made one day could rarely be relied upon the next. Take Microsoft, for example. On Monday, Bill Gates could barely double-click on a beta version of Windows 98 without crashing his computer -- in front of the assembled hordes at Comdex, no less. In Washington, an anti-Microsoft alliance was gathering, and the firm's antitrust appeal looked like a lost cause. Well, guess what -- it all turned around Tuesday. Department of Justice lawyers felt the judicial heat for once, while the now-legendary Dozen Geek March protested outside the courtroom. "Keep Janet Reno out of my computer!" they cried, bunching up as close as possible for the benefit of the cameras.

Then there was the tragic, and often mysterious case of Linda McCartney. When it was announced Sunday that the ex-Beatle's wife had passed away in Santa Barbara, hundreds of Californians gathered to pay their respects. Imagine their ire when it turned out that they had been lied to about her final resting place -- which was, in fact, some eight hours away in Tuscon, Arizona. For want of a little privacy, the McCartney family ended up fielding a police investigation, hordes of media inquires and dark rumors of assisted suicide. One of the more grisly examples of the law of unintended consequences.

On a lighter note, intended consequences were cropping up all over the nation this week as Viagra became the second fastest-selling prescription drug of all time, trumped only by Prozac. It's suspected that the miracle erection pill is being snapped up by gentlemen who may not actually have a burning medical need for it. Sometimes, a little deception can be forgiven.