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DO ME A FAVOR: STOP AT 69

Have you ever paid a substantial sum for an investment, only to watch helplessly as its value erodes before your very eyes? Imagine, then, what emotions Todd McFarlane must be experiencing. In 1999, the Mesa, Ariz., entrepreneur bought the baseball that Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals hit for his historic 70th home run of the season. Price: $2.7 million. But by this October, the trophy could be worth little more than the cost of the materials in it. That's because Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants already has 39 homers this year and is on pace for an incredible 87, which would obliterate McGwire's record. Still, McFarlane professes not to be worried, telling a local newspaper: "Let him get to ... 60, then we'll talk about it."

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MADE IN TAIWAN

Factoid: If you'll be flying a new American flag on Independence Day next week, it may well have been sewed overseas. Census Bureau data indicate the US spent $747,800 last year on imported flags.

Dig deep if you're ready to buy a house in San Francisco

The same four-bedroom, 2,200-square-foot house that you'd pay just under three quarters of a million dollars for in San Francisco likely would cost you less than $175,000 in Dallas, a new survey by management consultant Runzheimer International finds. The Rochester, Wisc., company studied comparable data for 300 US and Canadian cities where middle-income families typically seek housing. Selected cities from the survey and the current value of a home of the above description in each:

San Francisco $746,500

Los Angeles 454,900

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Honolulu 405,300

Boston 357,400

Chicago 333,800

Washington 332,200

Seattle 324,900

Phoenix 232,500

Atlanta 207,900

Miami 200,600

Kansas City 185,600

Dallas 173,700

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor


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