Of all the Morning News hosts I've listened to, I rather like Charles Os-good best. He takes the news, but not himself as a reader of the news, quite seriously.

For those, like me, who hear and watch Osgood but who don't regularly get to read his nationally syndicated column, this collection of his essays ranging from the death of world communism to the wet towels that allegedly litter President Bush's bathroom is just the thing with which to catch up.Organized in sections with titles like "Current Affairs," "This Old House," "Seasons" and "Some People," Osgood's writing explores such commonplace topics as quirks of public/political discourse, car vacations with the family and dumb crooks.

With uncommon intelligence and humor, Osgood makes all these subjects interesting and entertaining because he knows when to quit. Seldom will he belabor a satirical line a word too long.

Not merely diverse, Osgood's infectiously quotable essays are also regularly insightful: "There are plenty of reasons why the United States became less competitive with the rest of the world. But one reason, if you ask me, is that we have become so destructively competitive with each other. Corporate management now thinks of its own employees as the enemy."

Regularly reassuring (to those of us trying to dance gracefully through middle age): "Now that I've been around the block a few times, the things I'm absolutely sure of are fewer, and the things I know nothing about have proliferated. . . . It's quite liberating and exhilarating being relieved of the crushing responsibility of knowing it all."

Regularly thought-provoking: "There is a subtle difference between being lost and not knowing where you are."

But ultimately what makes this collection so fun to read is the certainty that Osgood will not go many lines without displaying his irrepressible wry wit.

In one article he asserts: "Guns don't kill people. Trees kill people. Over a third of deer-hunting accidents are caused by hunters falling out of trees."

Elsewhere, he proposes to help the expanding and increasingly specialized greeting-card industry:In short, "The Osgood Files" contains something for everyone . . . and then some. It is certain to lend more credence than ever to Jim Lehrer's contention that Osgood "is a special mind and voice in a business where his kind are rare - and cherished."