Dear Do-It Man: I received a post card telling me I have been selected as a guaranteed winner of up to $10,000 in a sweepstakes sponsored by National Directory Service. The card says that if I don't contact the company within the next 14 days I won't be eligible for the prize and it will be awarded to someone else.

The card instructed me to sign it and mail it to National Directory Service, 341 West Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101, along with a $10 processing fee. If I wanted "rush handling," I should include an additional $5.The card listed a Los Angeles phone number to call for more information.

At first I thought I might have actually won something because I have been getting sweepstakes notices in the mail and have occasionally ordered one or two magazines from them.

Then I noticed that they used the address from the telephone book on the card rather than my correct mailing address, which is a post office box.

That and asking for a $10 handling fee plus the extra $5 tells me this must be a phony manipulation.

- C.O.B., Farmington.

Dear C.O.B.: Several other readers sent us similar post cards, so you are not alone.

According to a report by the Better Business Bureau of San Diego, National Directory Service does not have an office in San Diego. The San Diego address is a post office box at Mail Boxes, Etc., which has now closed the box.

Also, according to the BBB, when you call the Los Angeles phone number you are instructed to call a 900 number for more information. The cost of the 900 call is $9.90.

There are no people at either phone number to take customer calls, according to the BBB.

According to the recorded information, only one $10,000 prize will be awarded.

The Postal Inspector's office says the company's owner resides in Vancouver, B.C.

We're in your camp. This isn't the kind of offer we'd spend money on. In fact, any time we receive a notice saying we're guaranteed prize winners, we throw it in the garbage.

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Baking brings back memories

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. (AP) - Baking, says a recent Gallup study of 1,000 Americans, is not only a relaxing hobby and a creative outlet, but it recalls happy childhood memories.

Do most bakers follow recipes exactly or just wing it?

The survey, conducted for M&M's Mini Chocolate Baking Bits, shows 59 percent measure ingredients precisely while about one-third improvise. Those 65 and over mostly follow recipes closely.

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