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The Cheat Sheet

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A Memphis Light, Gas and Water official testifies for a Senate subcommittee that a major earthquake here could cause $15 billion in damage to the utility alone and MLGW customers would be "seriously inconvenienced." Those who are still alive, he means.

Holiday shopping is upon us, and that brings with it all the traditions we hold so dear: Christmas carols playing over the stores' loudspeakers. Tinsel and garland draped everywhere. Santa Claus making appearances in all the malls. And police in security towers keeping a sharp eye on the parking lots. We've gotten used to cameras spying on us at banks and Germantown intersections; now we've got "big brother" watching us when we shop.

A local furniture store offers an unusual promotion. The cost of any chairs, sofas, dining tables — you name it — will be fully refunded if the University of Memphis men's basketball team wins the national championship. Earlier this year, a New England furniture store made a similar bet on the Red Sox winning the 2007 World Series. Let's hope this one plays out the same way.

Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines has declared the "West Memphis Three" — three men convicted of the 1993 murders of three boys in Crittenden County — innocent. No word yet on when Toby Keith will announce they are still very guilty.

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