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20 Years of News of the Weird

This week in 1995, in "Games People Play," columnist Richard Cohen confessed to a relatively new addiction: computer solitaire.

At the time, Microsoft included two games — Minesweeper and solitaire — in its Windows computer package. But it was solitaire that sucked Cohen in.

"I warn you not to start [playing solitaire], not to move even a single black queen onto a red king, lest, before you know it, you'll have missed your deadline for a book, imperiled your marriage, and neglected your family. ...

"In a casual way, I would from time to time mention solitaire to others. I found, both to my joy and my horror, that many others were similarly addicted. One of my editors, a person of immense erudition and onetime voluminous reader, has turned over her life to the game. She sits before her computer, playing solitaire over and over when, of course, she should be reading fine books and otherwise improving herself. Worse, she cheats."

Now, almost 15 years later, with the proliferation of e-mail, reader comments, and social networking, one can only wonder how much time Cohen spends on Facebook.

— Mary Cashiola


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