Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A little holiday cheer for y'all

Santa Claus, like all pilots, gets regular visits from the Federal Aviation Administration, and the FAA examiner arrived last week for the pre-Christmas flight check. In preparation, Santa had the elves wash the sled and bathe all the reindeer. Santa got his logbook out and made sure all his paperwork was in order.

He knew they would examine all his equipment and truly put Santa's flying skills to the test. The examiner walked slowly around the sled. He checked the reindeer harnesses, the landing gear, and even Rudolph's nose. He painstakingly reviewed Santa's weight and balance calculations for sled's enormous payload.

Finally, they were ready for the check ride. Santa got in and fastened his seat belt and shoulder harness and checked the compass. Then the examiner hopped in carrying, to Santa's surprise, a shotgun.

"What's that for!?" asked Santa incredulously. The examiner winked and said, "I'm not supposed to tell you this ahead of time," as he leaned over to whisper in Santa's ear, "but you're gonna lose an engine on takeoff."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Learn to survive — and thrive — no matter what comes your way

I've seen people do all kinds of things to relieve anxiety. Some have a glass of wine at dinner. Others shop or eat. But these are troubling times — with hurricanes, tsunamis, war, and acts of terrorism — and if drinking, eating, or hitting the mall is your way offending off anxiety over the state of the world, you should know that the bill will eventually come due. And I don't mean just the credit card statement. Such coping methods do nothing to build your inner strength and resiliency. Fortunately, there are ways to nurture true inner peace when outer peace isn't an option.

A few months ago, a woman I'll call Nancy attended one of my seminars. Nancy had been through hard times: Three years earlier her house had burned down; then her husband's National Guard unit shipped out to Iraq, and when he returned he was angry, depressed, and traumatized. The couple got therapy yet grew further apart until, finally, her husband asked for a divorce. Nancy realized she had a choice: She could drown in self-pity or move forward. After seeing how the trauma of war had torn up her husband, she wanted to make a difference with her life. So, at 35, she enrolled in nursing school.

I think even Nancy was surprised by her resilience. But her leap into a life of greater meaning came from a simple change in outlook. She shifted her focus from her own problems to the difficulties of others. And that one change brought her clarity and peace.

Cats and Alcohol

Cats and Alcohol (Photo)
Cats and Alcohol (Photo)
Cats and Alcohol (Photo)

8 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Last Competition

If competitions are what you make of them--and if your Last big national competition is right around the corner, make sure that you don't let any moments, big or small, flip right past you. Chances are that you're feeling a million mixed emotions right now. After all, your teammates probably haven't just become your closest friends, they've also become like a second family. Whether you plan to cheer in college, become a staff instructor, coach at an all-star gym or hang up your poms for good after this year, vow to make your last big competition unforgettable.

Here are eight surefire ways to make the most out of the season's last competition, plus 10 extra ideas for your teammates and coaches.

1. Get Connected
Remember the Girl Scout song that goes, "Make new friends but keep the old?" One of the best ways to make your last competition count is by mingling with other teams and getting to know their cheerleaders on your own. Bring a notebook to jot down the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of your competitors. Talk to competition staffers if you want to become a camp instructor, and spend time with your coach one-on-one while you're away. After all, who better to get that much-needed college cheer advice from than someone who cheered herself?.

2. Pass It Along
Give the returning cheerleaders something to remember you by next season: Create a spirited poem, inspirational quote page or make a decorative framed picture and give it to your teammates at the Last practice before Nationals. It'll inspire them next year and may even become a squad tradition.

3. Scrapbook It
Take lots of pictures throughout your trip and scrapbook them afterwards. Make sure you collect the little things along the way too, such as plane tickets, restaurant business cards, confetti, hair bows, etc.

4. Be a Savvy Traveler
Make the bus, plane or car as fun as possible by bringing along games, quizzes, magazines and music. While you're at it, why not show off your senior style, too? "We make special bag tags for the seniors' luggage," says Ashley Parish and Alora Price of Oak Harbor HS in Oak Harbor, WA.

Also, consider wearing the same cheer shirts on the plane or sporting cute cheer bows in your hair.

5. Fun in the Sun
Headed to Disney? Competing right near the beach? If there's time and your coach gives you the OK, hit up local attractions like amusement parks, the hotel pool, cool restaurants or beachy spots to get the most out of your trip. Quick tip: You might be able to score discount passes through the competition company or get a cheaper rate because you're a student, so don't be afraid to ask!

6. Pump Up the Jams
You probably sing the songs in your competition routine every day, so why not take them with you as a memento? "Make a CD with all of the songs your squad has used in competition routines," says Katie LeBlanc of the Sparks All-Stars in Stoughton, MA. For a funny bonus CD, speed up or slow down the tempo, or write cute quotes from your teammates on the inside case cover.

7. Host a Sleepover or Nationals Party
If your parents give you the thumbs up and you've got enough space, consider hosting a Nationals sleepover, pizza party or ice cream social at your home. "Throw a slumber party for everyone close to Nationals," says Chelsea Nosworthy of Paul Laurence Dunbar HS in Lexinginton, KY. If space is limited, find out if your coach can rent out a hotel room on behalf of the seniors. "Sometimes we go to hotels, rent out a room and have a swimming party [instead]."

8. Toughen Up
If this is your last Nationals, then you've got even more cause for motivation--how about finally landing that standing tuck or full? "I'm taking private [lessons] to get my round-off back handspring for competition this year," says Heather Maher of the Spirit Celebration All-Stars in Piano, TX. "I want to set a good example for the rest of my team and gain a sense of accomplishment and pride for everything I achieved this year."

Competition Blowout!
If you're not a senior, give your graduating seniors an ultra-special send-off. A cheerleader's last competition is a super big deal, so here are just a few ways your teammates and coaches can show the seniors how much they'll be missed.

By Colleen Leonard

Night Train to Frankfurt

By Marisa Silver

They were going to boil Dorothy’s blood. Take it out, heat it, put it back in. The cancer would be gone. Well, that wasn’t exactly it. The treatment had a more formal-sounding name, thermosomethingorother, a word that was both trustworthy (because you recognized the prefix) and lofty, so that you didn’t really question it, knew you were too thick to really understand whatever explanation might be given you. “They’re going to boil my blood” is what it came down to, and this was what Dorothy had told her daughter, Helen, when she called her from New York. There were statistics, affidavits. There was a four-color brochure from the clinic in Frankfurt, Germany, printed in three languages. As they waited for the train in the Munich station, Helen studied the pamphlet’s fonts and graphics. A frequent dupe of advertising herself–how many depilatories and night creams had she bought over the years, and at what expense?–Helen understood the significance behind the choice of peaceful, healing blue over charged, emotional red, the softening elegance of the italicized quotes from Adèle de Chavigny, a woman from Strasbourg who had not only survived having her blood boiled but had gone on to live a life of graceful transcendence. There were no concrete images of the clinic itself, no pictures of whatever this boiling machine might look like. Helen imagined huge vats like those in a brewery–wide, clear tubes with viscous, viral blood moving sluggishly in one direction, while bright, animated, healthy blood rushed eagerly back toward the patient. On the roof of the brewery, she imagined enormous chimneys expelling the sweet-sour-smelling residue of defeated disease into the air. Poof, poof, the smokestacks would go, and all the German townsfolk (yes, in her fantasy they were wearing lederhosen and small peaked caps) would look up, proud to know that, in their town, death had been conquered.

Read full story

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Best "Bubba" Joke

Bubba liked to frequent the old swimming hole but was never able to attract the girls.

He decided to ask his friend Billy-Bob for advice. It's those big baggy swimming trunks that make you look like an old fool.. They're years outta style.

Your best bet is to grab yourself a pair of Speedos-about two sizes too little and drop a fist-sized tater down inside them.

I'm telling ya man...ya'll have all the babes you want!

The following weekend, Bubba hits the swimming hole with his spanking new tight Speedos, and his fist-sized potato.

Everybody at the swimming hole was disgusted as he walked by, covering their faces, turning way, laughing, looking sick!

Bubba went back to his buddy Billy-Bob and asked him, "What's wrong now?"

"Lard-Almighty!" said Billy-Bob, "the tater goes in the front!"

Monday, October 30, 2006

Saturday, October 28, 2006

50 Sex Tricks No Guy Can Resist

Rounded up from our loyal and lusty readers, the touch, tease, and please techniques that'll make your man want to tattoo your name on his chest. 1-9

• "Sometimes I take my boyfriend browsing in lingerie stores. Being surrounded by that silky stuff turns us both on. When we get home, I show him my own lacy undies."

--Finula(*), 27

• "I bend over my man and lightly drag my long hair over his back, butt, and legs. He loves the way the strands feel grazing his body."

--Rebecca, 24

• "I'm normally pretty shy in the sack, but one day I watched this steamy sex movie and got inspired. When my guy came home, I pulled him into the bedroom and pretended I was acting in the flick. He was totally turned on by my role reversal."

--Rosa, 21

• "My man and I play this game: We ask each other trivia questions, and if the person gets it fight, whoever asked has to take off a piece of clothing. The emphasis on slowly undressing really puts us in the mood."

--Melanie, 20

• "I wake my husband up in the morning with oral sex. I start slowly and softly, and when he opens his eyes, I give him the full deal."

--Kendra, 27

• "Sometimes I'll indulge my guy on his terms. I put on music, slip into his old football jersey, and do it on the couch while the game's on."

--Chris, 25

• "I interlace my fingers and move them up and down my man's penis. He loves the added friction from the inside of my knuckles."

--Samantha, 28

• "I take a warm bath, shave my legs, and lather on lotion. Then I put on one of my man's white tee shirts with nothing under it, and I cook us dinner. When he gets a peek at my naked buns as I bend over to grab a dish, he says he can hardly wait to have me."

--Nicole, 28

• "Guys flip when I kiss, lick, and suck their nipples."

--Amy, 27

• "My guy digs it when I kiss his earlobes. It sounds simple, but he says it makes his knees weak."

--Deirdre, 23

• "Three things: Enigma, Barry White, and Sade. Listen to their music and it'll all happen naturally."

--Holly, 29

• "I have a lacy white teddy that my boyfriend loves. Sometimes he'll call me at work and ask if I'll wear it that night. He says just thinking about it keeps him excited all day."

--Maria, 26

• "I caress my guy's perineum (the area between his anus and testicles) with my fingers. When I lightly massage that spot, he starts moaning."

--Elena, 29

• "At the movies, my guy and I hold hands, and as I massage his palms and fingers, the sexual tension builds. By the time we get to the car, we're all over each other."

--Amanda, 26

• "I let my man brush my hair and put lotion on me after I shower. It's really sensual, and all that touching pumps up our passion."

--Yvonne, 27

• "When I kiss my man, I take his tongue in my mouth and gently suck on it. It sends him into orbit!"

--Jamie, 21

• "To get totally turned on, I just think of the intense way he looks at me when I'm climaxing."

--Laura, 26

• "I drive my guy wild by pressing my breasts into his back when we're out at a crowded bar. Then I whisper in his ear, `I want you so badly.' No surprise, we're home in minutes."

--Lizzie, 26

• "I have long nails and I use them to tickle my guy's entire body--his back, legs, and chest."

--Jacqui, 27

• "My boyfriend and I videotape ourselves having sex, then we wait a few months before watching it. It's like seeing Titanic again--you know what happens, but you can't remember the exact sequence or any of the details. It's always exciting!"

--Tamara, 28

• "I smear scented oil all over my man's penis and let him slip inside me. The friction warms up the oil and makes for the hottest sex."

--Heather, 23

• "My man and I have a code phrase for sex. It started out as `Want to make some bacon?' Now when we're in public, he'll say, `I could go for a hot dog right now,' and I know just what he means. It makes us laugh, and no one knows it means we're horny!"

--Abby, 25

• "My guy gets off when I dress my sexiest and then go out in public and flaunt it. After turning a lot of heads, we go home and he tells me how lucky he is while we're making love."

--Deb, 27

• "Sometimes when my guy gets out of the shower, I'll blow his body dry. The coolness of my breath on his warm, wet skin sets him into gotta-have-it motion. When we're through, he needs another shower!"

--Leanne, 28

• "My boyfriend loves to feel in control, so sometimes I'll let him dominate me a little, and it drives him wild. He ties me up, whispers naughty things in my ear, and has his way with me. Then we trade positions and I take charge."

--Sara, 25

• "When it comes to oral sex, I'll tease my boyfriend and refrain from giving him too much stimulation all at once. I start by slowly moving my tongue up and down his penis, making sure I'm really gentle. Then when he starts begging for more, I'll get my lips involved, alternating the pressure. The changes in pace anti rhythm practically make him scream."

--Christianne, 25

• "My fiance and I like having sex in really small places--like in a car, on a chair, or even in a closet. He loves that he can position me against a wall or the back of the chair without having to hold me up. It's our guaranteed-to-both-come-quick trick."

--April, 25

• "I pamper my guy with an allover body massage, but not just arty massage! First, I let him watch while I rub off on myself (he usually asks to help, but I don't let him!). Then I have him lie down on his stomach, and I rub the oil 'all over him by lying on top and moving my naked body up and down his. He's ready to get down to business before I even start to use my hands."

--Simone, 28

• "I give my man what I like to call the hot and cold treatment. I get a cup of ice and a cup of hot tea. First, I put the ice in my mouth, and when my tongue gets really cold, I give him intense oral sex. Then after a sip or two of hot tea, I take him in my mouth all over again and do my thing. The changes in temperature against his skin absolutely kill him!"

--Diane, 28

• "I don't worry about my body during sex. If I feel icky one day, I'll just put on his work shirt and leave it on, or I'll dim the lights and use candles to enhance the mood. That way I can let loose and enjoy myself."

--Ashley, 28

• "My fiance loves when I lubricate his penis with lotion and then run my hand up and down it while twisting my wrist in a corkscrew motion. The key is to rub over and then back down the head of his penis every time. He says I'm very talented."

--Hillary, 20

• "I rub an ice cube up and down my guy's back. He squirms when the water drips down his body--and when I lick it off, he's in ecstasy."

--Kate, 23

• "Sometimes my guy and I speak with foreign accents while we're having sex. It always, gets us giggling. I think it's sexy when you can laugh while you're doing the deed."

--Sybil, 24

• "When we're in the missionary position, I don't just lie there. I move with my man. And I don't force myself to try to have an orgasm--I prolong it and wait for that uncontrollable feeling to just take over my world."

--Evelyn, 23

• "I have my man enter me from behind as I squeeze my vaginal muscles around his penis. He says it gives him an incredible orgasm."

--Dana, 28

• "I'm a conservative dresser, so sometimes to shock the pants off my guy, I'll wear a short skirt, heels, and bright red lipstick. When he gets home, he just grins mischievously."

--Giselle, 26

• "My boyfriend and I use at least three different positions each and every time we have sex--and we never get bored!"

--Michele, 24

• "Instead of going straight for his penis, I tease my man by kissing and licking his inner thighs and stomach. It gives him time to anticipate the thrill he's about to get."

--Maya, 23

• "When I tell my guy I'm not wearing any underwear when we're out in public, he's all over me."

--Karen, 28

• "I add a risk factor to make sex exciting. If my guy and I are having friends over, we'll do it in the kitchen right before they arrive. It's the ultimate quickie experience."

--Gina, 27

• "When my guy and I perform oral sex on one another, we always have something minty in our mouths. It creates an exciting hot-cold sensation. Now we buy Altoids in bulk."

--Pamela, 27

• "When I'm on top, I like to pull one leg up along the side of his chest and leave the other straight out behind me. Then I'll slowly alternate legs. The muscle contractions drive my man crazy."

--Adrienne, 26

• "All have to do to send my guy over the edge is tell him I'm leaving the light on. He knows that's my way of telling him, `I'm ready to give you oral sex--and you can watch.'"

--Tracy, 24

• "I'd heard that people get super turned-on after exercise. So we jump in the shower after a run, lather each other up so we smell great, then go have wild sex. It's exhilarating."

--Emily, 27

• "There's a mirror on my closet door that I angle right at my bed. When my man and I get busy, we have the perfect way to watch, which is a total turn-on for us both."

--Jen, 25

• "I e-mail my man short erotic stories that I write myself. Then when we're together, I ask him to act out everything that I sent to him. It's a great way to communicate my sex fantasies, and he loves it because he knows I'm more open about what turns me on than I ever could be when we're lying in bed together face-to-face."

--Jill, 27

• "When I'm alone, I dream about all the exquisite sexual things my partner and I are going to do later on that night. Like if I'm doing the dishes, I imagine him coming up behind me and running his strong hands over my hips, pulling me closer to him. Or I dose my eyes when I'm in the shower and think about what his lips will feel like when he kisses my naked body. By the time we see each other, I'm totally aroused and ready for mind-blowing sex! And anticipating the thrill makes me hotter than normal--which excites him beyond belief."

--Carolyn, 22

• "Since my fiance and I are both so busy, we have what we call Naked Night every Wednesday. We take off all our clothes when we get home after work, keep the TV turned off, and concentrate all of our energies on each other. It gives us something to look forward to and gets us through the workweek with a smile."

--Julie, 27

• "My boyfriend and I have a mental checklist of all the states that we've had sex in. Our goal is to hit all 50, It's fun and it makes for really hot pull-off-the-highway sex when we're road-tripping. He loves the thrill of doing it in the car, especially if there are people around."

--Shauna, 28

• "My guy and I like to have what he calls stealth sex. We try to do it as quietly and with as little motion as possible, making sure the bed doesn't squeak. We perfected our technique in college when we both had roommates--and it's really hot!"

--Stacy, 24

By: Jena Hofstedt, Cosmo

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Oprah Effect


Lisa Price was at a crossroads. By 2002, Carol's Daughter, the bath and beauty products business she had founded in her Brooklyn kitchen, had hit $2 million in sales. "We were trying to decide whether to scale back to keep control of costs or find investors to keep growing," she recalls, Twenty minutes later, the phone rang. It was a producer from The Oprah Winfrey Show asking Price to come on the program.

The effect of Price's appearance was astounding: the Carol's Daughter Web site nearly crashed from the high volume of orders that came in after Oprah raved about the products. "What it did was give us a stamp of approval," Price says. The company easily attracted new investors such as Jada Pinkett Smith, celebrity endorsements from Mary J. Blige and mass market distribution in stores like Sephora.

Such is the power of Oprah. She arguably holds more sway in making--or breaking--an individual (James Frey, anyone?), a business (Carol's Daughter and hundreds more), a book (too many to mention) or an industry (the beef brouhaha in 1998) than anyone, ever, in this country--and maybe even the world. She's our $1.4 billion woman--and that's just with her sprawling media empire. Factor in her ability to subtly endorse products without ever appearing in a commercial or an ad, and her economic impact magnifies. She has made her mark on the retail landscape, seemingly fueled the exponential growth of online shopping, transformed the book industry, made giving to charity a priority for millions, and exposed new audiences to Broadway. Consider this: If every one of her 49 million viewers and 2.4 million magazine readers bought just one Oprah-sanctioned item a month, for say $10, that would equal a whopping $6.168 billion a year pumped into America's economy. That's about how much Starbucks made last year, worldwide.

On a seismic scale of impact, Ms. Winfrey is a 10, with aftershocks felt at both poles. This is how her influence stacks up:

The Oprah Winfrey Show, now 20 years old, has been No. I for 19 seasons. Before Oprah decided to stop submitting the show for Emmy consideration, it won 35 Emmy Awards. It is her most popular showcase, and it's broadcast to 122 countries.

The show (Harpo Productions) is the platform for her business, Harpo, Inc., which has grown and diversified. Harpo, Inc., now includes Harpo Films (Beloved, Tuesdays With Morrie, Their Eyes Were Watching God), Harpo Radio (a $55 million deal with XM satellite radio for the new Oprah & Friends channel) and Harpo Print (O, The Oprah Magazine and O at Home with Hearst), as well as a deal with Oxygen Media and the Oxygen network.

In a 2004 study, Brigham Young University found that Winfrey's book club recommendations had a greater influence on book sales than anything else in the history of modern publishing. Says Sara Nelson, editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly, "Oprah is getting people who were not particularly reading, to read."

It's her 59-and-counting book club picks that usually get the most press, but Oprah gets thousands of books moving in other ways. From April 2005 to April 2006,162 books got a plug on her show. Kerry McCloskey went on the show in early April 2006 touting her research on sex and passion as the best slim-down plan in her book, The Ultimate Sex Diet (True Courage Press). According to Nielsen Bookscan, the week after her appearance, McCloskey's book sales shot up 1,260 percent. Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., also got a lot of love when he appeared on the show twice in April 2006, pushing sales of his Getting the Love You Want (Owl Books) up 849 percent.

O, The Oprah Magazine was the most successful magazine launch in publishing history: It has a circulation of 2.4 million, it reaches 16.3 million total readers each month, and it's now avail able in a South African edition. Her magazines are also a lush outlet of product love, lining the coffers of thousands of vendors and retailers. Each issue of O features celebrities and experts and books and products that just ache to be purchased. The spring 2006 issue of 0 at Home, for example, showcased 71 products in one story.

She doesn't do traditional endorsements. You'll never see Oprah's name on sneakers or clothes. Instead, her interest is in spreading her passions. Oprah likes to promote what she thinks is important and useful. We follow--and spend in droves. "She influences the purchase of 20 to 25 percent of all goods. I think Oprah is actually underestimated," says Michael Silverstein, coauthor of Treasure Hunt: Inside the Mind of the New Consumer (Portfolio). Oprah's product bacchanal hits its pinnacle with "Oprah's Favorite Things--The Holiday Edition." This list of items has included everything from Burberry coats to computers and chocolate.

For every several thousand of Oprah "blessings," a few turn out not so rosy. Though her 2005 audience giveaway of brand-new Pontiac G6's was trumpeted as the epitome of successful product placement, the automotive press was not all convinced. "It was great for Oprah, but I didn't see much on Pontiac. I didn't hear her say, 'This is a Pontiac kind of day,'" said Lincoln Merrihew, managing director of automotive practice at Compete Inc., in

Still, for most vendors, there is nothing like an Oprah blessing, says Rob Walker, the consumer columnist for The New York Times Magazine. "If you have a product, there's no better environment to be in than on Oprah. You're being treated as almost a religious artifact," he says. Large retailers, such as Sony, see a nice jump in sales, but Oprah also picks small vendors like Pamela Fitzpatrick. Her $39.99 tub of oatmeal raisin cookie dough from Chicago's gourmet grocery fox & Obel was Chosen as a Favorite Thing for holiday 2005. "It was really like winning the Academy Award," Fitzpatrick says, adding that the first 220 sales came 45 minutes into the show. They then sold around 600 tubs in the first two weeks after the show aired, and over the holidays they sold three times that many.

Oprah's desire to help those in need has been a lifeline to many charities and nonprofits. The Reverend Gloria White-Hammond, chairperson of the Million Voices for Darfur campaign, was certainly pleased. "Oprah's impact on the Save Darfur Coalition's effort was nothing short of tremendous," she says. According to the Coalition, donations went up 1,200 percent in the three days after Oprah highlighted their efforts on her show, and 1,600 percent more donors signed up in the same time. Translation: Many lives were saved in Darfur.

What seems to bolster her featured charities and retailers most is the limitless resource that is "When Oprah does something, there is an immediate 'click' impact," says Heather Dougherty, senior analyst at Nielsen//Net Ratings. For example, take the month that the Save the Darfur Coalition was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show. According to Dougherty, had 2.2 million unique visitors. "She has a very deep site. The deeper the site, the better the engagement," Dougherty says. "Other comparable sites are so small [number of visitors], we don't measure them."

Oprah's protégés serve both as brand extensions and as a fire under her seat. Dr. Phil's success has been its own phenomenon--he now has the second-highest-rated talk show and eight best-selling books, is the new spokesperson for, and has prime-time TV specials and the Dr. Phil Foundation. Others who've benefited include her crowned boy wonder, interior designer Nate Berkus, with his own home line at Linens 'N Things; Bob Greene, Oprah's personal trainer and fitness guru; Suze Orman money diva; Mehmet Oz, M.D., health guru; and her two newest additions, Robin Smith, love and relationship psychologist, and Rachael Ray, the smiley TV chef (whose new show is produced by Harpo Productions) and magazine powerhouse in her own right. And, of course, there's Gayle King--Oprah's BFF and editor-at-large of O, The Oprah Magazine, who, at press time, was still churning in the rumor mill as a possible cohost to join ABC talkfest The View.

What's left? Ah yes, Broadway. Ms. Winfrey's producer credit for Alice Walker's The Color Purple on Broadway surely had something to do with its outrageous opening ticket sales--S16 million in two months--and possibly its 11 Tony nominations. But, more than the bursting moneybags and accolades for the show (this in a business with a 75 percent failure rate), what's significant is, as with her book club, Ms. Winfrey has brought new audiences to Broadway.

With every venture, Oprah somehow finds more to do, more needs to fill, and more ways to make and use her money--and her power. The Live Your Best Life speaking tour and on line multimedia workshop is a standing-room-only event every year. She's released a six-disc DVD set of her Twentieth Anniversary Celebration with all proceeds going to the Angel Network, her charitable foundation that has raised $50 million in five years and $10 million for Hurricane Katrina victims. And in October 2005 she launched a Child Predator Watch List that has captured four sexual predators and has rewarded those who located them with $100,000. It is undeniable. Oprah has the Midas touch.

So what will Her Highness turn into gold next? We're all watching.

*Based on our $6.168 billion estimate.


IF OPRAH WERE… A NATION her 51.4 million weekly viewers and magazine readers would equal more than the population of Canada (33 million), Spain (40.3 million) or Argentina (39.9 million).

IF OPRAH WERE… A PILE OF GOLD she'd be equal to 24,000 14-karat gold bars.

IF OPRAH WERE… BLING she'd be eight times the equivalent of 373 100-karat pear-shaped, flawless diamonds (the most expensive ever sold). reported in January that Oprah ranked second only to Google as the biggest brand newsmaker of 2006. Behind Ms. Winfrey were Amazon, eBay and iPod.

IF OPRAH WERE… A NATIONAL ECONOMY what she'd pump into the U.S. economy would be slightly more than the GDP of the Bahamas.*

By: Ulrich, Carmen Wong, Essence, Oct2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Deporter

By Dinesh Vora

The mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska in USA was under tremendous pressure to get rid of huge pigeon population corrupting the city with pigeon drops. All the efforts failed and mayor was fighting for his political life.

Suddenly a man shows up with a Red Pigeon on his head and says, "Mayor I will charge you one million dollars to get rid of them all with my magical Red Pigeon but absolutely no questions asked. If you ask any question I will punish you with a bill of ten million dollars."

The mayor agreed. The guy climbed up the tallest building in town, made romantic pigeon sounds, chanted a Mantra and set his Red Pigeon free. The red pigeon started whirling around the city and what do you know, thousands and thousands of pigeons followed this Amitabh Bachchan of Pigeons. The Red pigeon flew towards Pacific Ocean and came back without any followers. The pigeons tired of flying that far fell in stormy waters, disappeared in this ultimate romantic experience of their life.

Hurrah, the city was without the dirty pigeons. The mayor, smiling ear to ear, could not resist the temptation of knowledge, saving and promoting his career further. He fell on his knees to this stranger and pleaded, "Here keep ten million dollars instead of one for deporting all pigeons to the ocean. but, please, please tell me do you have any RED Mexican."

A Master Traveler Tells All

Insurance salesman Dean Burri is on the road 300 days a year, and relishes every liftoff and layover. Why? We tagged along to find out

EXACTLY 24 HOURS and four cities after we awoke, Dean Burri volunteered his assessment of my traveling skills. "I'd call you a travel enthusiast," he said, taking a puff of a Cuban cigar at a bar inside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. "You understand the fundamentals of being a road warrior, but you still make too many amateur mistakes." It was a harsh critique, but that was exactly why I had spent the last two days trailing Burri. Last year the 41-year-old insurance salesman (he peddles policies to Catholic institutions like parishes and convents) spent almost 300 days on the road--that's six weeks in the air. He logged more than 400,000 miles, and this year he will probably beat that. Burri doesn't even own a car--he rents one when he lands at home in Clearwater, Fla., where he lives with his wife and six kids. "I would just as soon fly to Hong Kong for Chinese food than order delivery from the place around the corner," Burri says. This was somebody I could learn from.


Several hours before our flight from Newark to Pittsburgh is to depart, Burri sends me an e-mail. It details the FAA ground-delay program for that day, the weather report in New Jersey, and--based on some detective work on Continental's website--the route our incoming plane is taking. And having identified a few trouble spots, Burri had checked availability on two backup flights. He swears that this type of worst-case scenario planning is vital--and countless times has saved him from getting stuck. Burri prefers morning flights, since they're more likely to be on time. He also avoids the last flight of the day (if it's canceled, you're out of luck).


Call it Burri's law: If a first-class ticket isn't much more than double coach, he'll buy it. Otherwise, the hunt for underbooked planes (where he has a better chance of an upgrade) begins. Seat maps on airline websites can tell you that flights through Cleveland, for example, are often less crowded up-front. Sometimes he'll even book two one-way tickets on different carriers to see which one will upgrade him (he pays a change fee to use the second ticket later).


"Laundry!" Burri proclaims loudly in the mezzanine at Newark. And hotel laundry is what allows Burri to carry only one piece of luggage: a medium-sized Tumi shoulder bag. Inside is one extra suit, four dress shirts, underwear, socks, a laptop, work documents, and a wireless router. His suits are custom-made by Alfred Dunhill in London with a military-grade lining to handle the stress of a heavy shoulder bag. Inside the jacket are five custom pockets for gear, including cellphone, passport, and two travel humidors.


Shadowing Burri in an airport is like following a Porsche around in a Toyota Corolla. Though he's 6-foot-5 and 340 pounds, he has the agility of a left tackle. When I ask how he always manages to be first in line for everything, he looks at me quizzically. Clearly this is not a skill that can be explained to mere travel "enthusiasts" like myself.


One reason Burri finds traveling such a snap is that he's a member of Continental's "Chairman's Circle." It's a top-secret, invite-only frequent-flier program usually reserved for VIPs and CEOs, and members get a special reservations number and priority upgrades, and can request an airport escort whenever they fly. Being a top customer, and a rather opinionated fellow, Burri has also become a sounding board for Continental execs (they recently asked him to try their new phone voice prompting system). But even if you don't have Continental CEO Larry Kellner's private e-mail, as Burri does, he insists the fastest route to first-class service is to make airline employees laugh. When he first boards and the flight attendant asks him if he wants a drink, he invariably responds, "Can I have a seat-belt extender on the rocks?" He always gets a smile.


Arriving in Vegas from Houston, I finally realize Burri loves to travel because he sees it as a game. Later this month, he tells me, he's flying from L.A. to Honolulu to Guam to Manila to Taiwan to Macao to Hong Kong to Seoul to Tokyo to Newark and back to Tampa, all in seven days. What's more, he's doing it for fun: The idea is to hit airports he hasn't been to before. How will he spend all that air time? Apparently the endless strategizing doesn't just apply to travel, which explains Burri's new obsession with Bollywood DVDs. "They give you the most bang for your buck," he says gleefully. "I bought 800 movies for $4 each!"

Avoid Bad Weather Pick the right hubs to change planes. In general, the farther south the airport is, the better. Never book the last flight of the day.
Be Funny If you make airline employees laugh, you'll get far better service.
Skip Full Flights If you want to upgrade, check seat maps on airline websites and choose flights that have the most open seats in first class. Midday and night flights often have more availability.
Don't Fight the Law Avoid booking the aisles in first class, since that's where air marshals often sit. You could get bumped.
Carry On Only amateurs check bags when they're traveling for business. Burri uses hotel laundry to keep going for weeks at a time.
Charge It Buy one adapter that can charge everything. (Burri likes Igo Juice,

Modern Flight

Most business travelers wouldn't dream of checking their bags. But now, thanks to stringent regulations about what liquids and creams can be carried on, more travelers have resigned themselves to bad breath and messy hair. That just wasn't an option for Jodi Nass. A recently retired 25-year Wall Street vet, she heard about the initial TSA ban and "a light bulb went off in my head." The solution? A line of travel products called Fly Dry that could pass security. "I knew in the old days there wasn't liquid toothpaste or soaps," says Nass. That led her to an old-time soapmaker in Texas. "These things have been around forever, but no one had really wanted them," she says. At first, the shampoo and conditioning bars look scary, but a recent test showed they work nicely (men and women's kits are $49 at And for men, Smart Fixx H20 Styling Strips turn into gel with a splash of warm water--perfect for hairstyling on the run ($9 at most drugstores). — B.G.

By: Gimbel, Barney, Fortune, 10/16/2006


Net neutrality's double standard I have to disagree strongly with Bill Machrone's opinion piece ("Demand Net Neutrality!," August 22, page 58). I shouldn't be surprised that you, as a tech industry magazine, have a self-serving, knee-jerk reaction in support of the online giants on Net neutrality, Your parochial interests aside, Net neutrality is hugely hypocritical for an industry that has long opposed government regulation of tech and the Internet as unnecessary and contrary to market forces. Now when the entrenched online giants fear the emergence of broadband competition, they change their tune and run to hide behind the government's regulatory skirt for protection from competition.

In its rawest sense, the effect of Net neutrality is a blatant competitive double standard. eBay with Skype, Microsoft with its collaboration software. Yahoo! with its voice product, and Google with click-to-call all want the business freedom to compete, converge, and integrate into communications, but want to make it illegal for communications companies to compete, converge, and integrate into tech and the Internet. How does one-way competition serve consumers or innovation? How is it good for the government to choose market winners and losers instead of consumers choosing them through the marketplace?

The tech industry's naïveté and shortsightedness on Net neutrality is staggering. They think they can invite the government into their sector to hyper-regulate an emerging adjacent industry-competitor, and that the same regulatory appetite won't threaten tech and the Internet. It's playing with fire. I guess regulatory ignorance is bliss.

Be careful what you wish for….

— Scott Cleland

Scott Cleland is the chairman of Netcom, which he describes as a Net neutrality e-forum funded by broadband companies.

Regarding Lance Ulanoff's "Top Tips for Energy Saving" (, my dad worked for 44 years for the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) starting in 1934. I was born in 1936 and heard the "turn out the lights" song all my life. I sing it to my wife, sang it to my kids, and still sing it when they visit. (Kids who once knew enough to turn out lights develop bad habits in college where no one seems to care; they also believe that dad will support the college-learned 20- to 30-minute shower habit for them, their spouses, and their kids. He won't.)

I have also replaced my incandescent bulbs with fluorescent screw-ins. But in doing so, I encountered one problem. One 20+-watt fluorescent is in our timer-controlled lamp. One day we smelled a terrible odor, like something that was burning. We looked through the house and discovered that the innards of the 20+-watt fluorescent bulb were boiling up around the bulb's tubes. Unlike an incandescent bulb, this fluorescent did not burn out. It burned! Just what might have happened had we been away from home, I don't know. But people should be aware that such a thing can happen.

— Lowell D. Taylor

Wow, Lowell, that's a scary story. I think I'll go double-check all my fluorescent bulbs. — LU

Regarding Lance Ulanoff's column, "Technology for Idiots" (, I don't think technology creates an epidemic of stupidity, nor do I believe that it is ruining anyone's life by stripping them of their privacy or their security. The problem is human nature. There are a small number of basic human flaws that apply whether you use technology or not:

People tend to be intellectually lazy. They don't want to have to learn anything new, they don't want to study or read, and in fact, they don't even want to have to think about anything. I'm not talking about technologists here — we're a different breed. We like to learn. But most people actively resist anything new or different.
People tend to enjoy being bad. If a scammer can get away with something, it's likely that he'll at least try. There's an inbuilt tendency toward mischief in a large number of people.
People like new, interesting, shiny things. They want them for the status these things are perceived to supply. Of course (see #1), people can't be bothered to learn how to use their shiny toys properly. Most people are using equipment that is way outside their skill level.
I believe that technology isn't causing stupidity; it's acting as a "canary in a coal mine" and drawing our attention to the stupidity that already surrounds us. "Hey!" we ask, "where did all this stupidity come from all of a sudden???" It was here all along, we just didn't notice it until the complexity of modern life made it impossible to ignore.

As to what we can do, I'm not sure that there's anything we can do. We might just have to wait until a younger generation gets old enough to take over the reins. Having been raised in our complex society, they're more adaptable. Until then, I suspect that things will be a little bit hairy.

— Philip Perry

You make some very good points, Philip, although I'd tend to disagree with you on #2. I believe that people would rather be good.

— LU

The caption under the whale photo in Connected Traveler (September 5, page 24) claims that the San Diego zoo is the home to the only giant pandas in the U.S. I already knew that Atlanta has two, and a quick Google search reveals that there are nine giant pandas in four zoos in the U.S. — Frank Eskridge

Thank you for pointing this out, Frank, We have also received letters on the subject from irate pandas in Atlanta, Memphis, and Washington.

The picture on page 68 of our August 22 issue identified as the Sennheiser PX 100 (which are supraural headphones, not earbuds as the text calls them) actually shows Shure E4c earbuds.

By: Clelend, Scott, Taylor, Lowell D., L. U., Perry, Philip, Eskridge, Frank, PC Magazine, 10/3/2006

The Must-See Photos Of The Month Sun Burn

Solar storms can knock out power on Earth. New satellites will help us predict where and when

Spewing billions of tons of plasma millions of miles into space, the sun's eruptions, like this explosion captured by NASA's SOHO probe, can be strikingly beautiful. But when they result in what scientists call coronal mass ejections-think seething bubbles of flung-off plasma-they can short-circuit satellites and trigger powerful magnetic shock waves that result in electrical power failures on Earth. NASA's $540-million STEREO mission, whose two satellites were scheduled to launch in late August, is designed to capture 3-D images that identify Earth-bound solar storms days before their effects reach us. Positioned at points ahead of and behind the Earth in its orbit, the satellites will work like a pair of eyes to more precisely measure a storm's size and location-and let us identify it in time to take action and prevent damage.

--Rachel Horn


One day. One bullet-shaped bike. One crazy world record

In late July, Canadian triathlete Greg Kolodziejzyk pedaled his recumbent bicycle 650 miles around a California track to break the human-powered 24-hour distance record. Equipped with food, water and waste bags, the 70-pound carbon-fiber machine is capable of hitting 60 mph on a flat straightaway. "Once you get over 12 or 15 mph, 90 percent of your pedaling effort goes to pushing air," Kolodziejzyk says. "The key to going fast under human power is to minimize the hole you punch" in the atmosphere. To build a bike that did just that, Kolodziejzyk teamed up with fairing designer Ben Eadie, who used flow-dynamics software to test dozens of designs in a virtual wind tunnel. See more details at

--Tom Clynes


In a disastrous year, the mining industry looks more closely at its survival gear

This picture was taken outside Pennsylvania's Twin Rocks coal mine last spring. But it could easily have been taken 25 years ago, mining technology has evolved so little since then. Miner Joe Tenerowicz is demonstrating a self-rescuer, a chemical-based oxygen-production system that provides an hour of backup air. The device, which has been the standard emergency breather for a quarter century, was the only technology available to coal workers in West Virginia's Sago Mine tragedy, which left 13 dead last January. This year has proved particularly fatal for U.S. miners; to date, 37 have died in 21 incidents, a 30 percent higher rate than in recent years. For the industry, it's been a wake-up call. Under the federal Miner Act, which went into effect in June, better devices-including replacement cartridges that increase the breathing time of existing self-rescuers and new "hybrid" units that rely on filters to deal with poor air quality-will be developed in the next two years.

--Nicole Price Fasig

By: Horn, Rachel, Clynes, Tom, Fasig, Nicole Price, Popular Science, Oct2006

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Travel Tips

Security Precautions Worth Remembering

“Effective security precautions require a conscious awareness of one’s environment, as well as the need to exercise prudence, judgment, and common sense,” stresses Michael McCann, former Chief of Security for the United Nations. “This is especially true where the traveler must acclimate to different cultures, customs, and laws. Personal security cannot be delegated to others; it is a responsibility of each one of us.

“People traveling abroad on business should be aware that they may be targeted by terrorists, criminals, intelligence agencies, or even just a business competitor if they’re in possession or knowledgeable about proprietary information.”

According to McCann, the top 10 mistakes traveling business executives make are:

Broadcasting the “bling-bling.” Americans appear committed to showing off their affluence with flashy jewelry and actions. When traveling, it is best to maintain a low key, nonattention -getting demeanor so that you blend into the crowd. Leave the expensive gold watch at home along with the designer luggage.

Being distracted by technology. Chatting on a cell phone while traveling through unfamiliar international terrain means that person is not focused on the here and now. An individual cannot be alert to his or her surroundings and assess potential danger when answering text messages, working on a notebook computer, or talking on the phone.

Wallet overload. Many executives fail to clean out their wallet before journeying overseas. When traveling, take only a few credit cards and leave all nonessentials at home, including gym membership identification and personal photos. Carry a minimum of cash and use Credit Cards and traveler’s checks along with a money belt that can be worn under your clothes.

Enraptured by the lure of the penthouse suite. Corporate executives often like the expensive suites on the top floors. However, hotels in other countries do not meet the same safety standards as in the U.S. and the highest floor can be the most dangerous place to be.

Broadcasting country of origin. Leave the Yankee cap at home, and do not wear overtly American brand labels on your clothing. Corporate logos are to be avoided and do not put your name and address on the exposed portion of your luggage tag. Place a copy of this information inside your luggage and be sure it includes your office address and phone number rather than your home information. Instead of renting a big American car, use a vehicle that is local to the country you are visiting.

Indulging in overpacking. Travel with carry-on luggage only. Waiting around in a foreign airport for lug gage signals you as a mark and, if it does not arrive, you are the last person standing at the airport. Carry a laptop bag that does not look like a traditional computer bag.

Failing to remain continually vigilant. Before traveling, find out about the local surroundings, customs, and conditions. Learn what crime problems exist–e.g., pickpocketing or terrorism–where you are visiting. Know the car model and name of your chauffeur before you get into the vehicle. Provide a different name than your own–such as your mother’s or wife’s maiden name –to put up on the sign at the airport exit so that you cannot be followed or tracked. Travel in pairs, and only take direct flights.

Failure to duplicate. Carry an extra photocopy of your passport in your luggage. Leave a copy of your official ID information in your home and office, including driver’s license and credit cards.

Not being medically prepared. Healthy traveling necessitates carrying an ample supply of prescription medicines along with the original container should a refill be necessary. Learn what medical coverage you have in the country you are visiting and whether it applies to emergency care.

Failure to communicate. Before departing, set up the time you will call your home and office each day. Update your emergency contact list and leave a copy of your schedule at home and the office.

“Be sure to carry a business card from the hotel with you at all times.” McCann concludes. “Many executives travel so much and suffer fatigue; they simply forget where they checked into. If you are traveling in a country and do not know the language, you can show the card to an authorized cab driver or to the police. Keep contact information for vital organizations handy, including the American Consulate and the local police and fire department.”

Monday, July 31, 2006

Children Who Have Sex Advice May be Reported to Police

CHILDREN under 16 would be automatically reported to the police if they seek advice on contraception, pregnancy or abortion, under government proposals.

Family planning and health campaigners said yesterday that the plans, which would do away with a child’s right to confidential sexual health advice, would be disastrous because they would deter many from seeking much-needed help.

Jan Barlow, chief executive of Brook, the sexual health charity, said it could lead to “a massive increase” in unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

“Abusive or coercive relationships would also be more likely to remain hidden if young people felt that there was no one they could trust to listen to them in confidence,” she said.

Department of Health guidance for those providing sexual and reproductive health advice makes clear that people under 16 have the same right to confidentiality as adults. The exception is children not considered mature enough to understand what they are doing or at risk of exploitation.

This principle of confidentiality is a key part of the Government’s teenage pregnancy strategy. Teenage conceptions have fallen by 10 per cent since it was put in place in 1998.

But the current guidance is due to be challenged in the courts next month by Sue Axon, a mother of five from Baguley, Manchester, who is concerned that it enables under-16s to have an abortion without parental consent.

The Department for Education and Skills is now consulting on whether new guidance should be issued requiring information on under-age sexual activity “always” to be referred to the police.

The proposals have been drawn up in response to Sir Michael Bichard’s inquiry into Ian Huntley, the Soham murderer. Sir Michael was particularly concerned that social workers had failed properly to investigate reports that Huntley, who was convicted of murdering Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells in 2003, had had a string of sexual encounters with under-age girls.

Police had looked into a number of these allegations, but taken no formal action.

Brook is concerned that removing confidentiality would deter children from seeking sexual health and contraception advice.

A recent survey of young people found that nearly three quarters (74 per cent) would be less likely to seek advice if they thought that information could be passed to the police or social workers.

The Association of Chief Police Officers backs the proposals, but the British Medical Association, the General Medical Council and the Royal College of Nursing said that they supported Brook’s campaign to defend the principle of confidentiality.

Michael Wilks, chairman of the BMA’s ethics committee, said: “Although confidentiality is not absolute, and can be breached where there is a risk of serious harm, mandatory reporting of non-abusive relationships threatens the trust that underpins the relationship between doctors and patients.”

A DfES spokesman said that nothing had yet been decided. “We are seeking views on what guidance would be helpful in sharing information about under-age sexual activity, to better safeguard young people from harm,” he said.

Signs of a split between the DfES and the Department for Health on the issue emerged. A DfH spokeswoman said that anxiety about confidentiality was a serious deterrent to many young people asking for contraceptive advice.”


* A quarter of girls first have intercourse before the age of 16.

* The number of 13 to 15-year-olds becoming pregnant rose by 2.5 per cent to 8,076 between 2002 and 2003.

* The number of abortions among under-14s rose by 6 per cent in 2004 to 157.

* New cases of the sexually transmitted infection chlamydia increased by 8 per cent in 2004 to reach 103,932. Ten per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds may be carriers.

* Overall cases of all types of STIs have doubled among teenagers in ten years, with new cases among those under 20 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland up from 669,291 in 1991 to 1,332,910 in 2001.

* Three quarters of parents with a child aged 10 to 17 agree that under-16s should have access to confidential contraception advice. Seven out of ten agree that under-16s should be given free contraception.

Sources: ONS, Health Protection Agency, BMRB

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Robotic Giraffe

It walks, it blinks, it seats six, and it blasts Kraftwerk: Meet one man's 17-foot-tall pet project

IT STARTED WITH a seven-inch walking toy giraffe and a desire to see Burning Man from a higher vantage point. A year later, Lindsay Lawlor rode into the desert art festival atop Rave Raffe, a 1,700-pound robotic giraffe sporting 40 strobes, 400 LEDs and bone-shaking speakers.

Lawlor wanted his Burning Man ride to be a true walking vehicle, so with the help of his landlord, Gary Stadler, he copied that toy's locomotion system on a massive scale. The front and back legs opposite each other step ahead at the same time, propelled by an electric motor. When those legs land, hydraulic brakes lock the wheeled feet, and the other two legs take a step. Canting from side to side, Raffe lumbers ahead at about a mile an hour. A propane engine runs only to recharge the batteries, so the beast is quiet and efficient. When Lawlor let Raffe shuffle off alone in the desert, it walked for eight hours.

Now Lawlor, a part-time laser-light-show designer, is busy adding new features for this summer's Burning Man, including computer-controlled flashing giraffe spots, an electroluminescent circulatory system and a gas grill. Follow his progress at


A 12-horsepower, propane-fueled engine drives three generators, which charge three 450-amp batteries, salvaged from an industrial floor scrubber. Many of the other parts, including the shoulder joints and LEDs, came from eBay.
Lawlor pushes the throttle forward to engage the variable-speed analog drive, which turns a 250-pound drive shaft to propel Raffe ahead. A pneumatic pump raises and lowers the eight-foot neck.

By: Haney, Mike, Popular Science

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Women are like apples on trees.

The best ones are at the top of the tree. Most men don't want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they sometimes take the apples from the ground that aren't as good, but easy. The apples at the top think something is wrong with them, when in reality, they're amazing. They just have to wait for the right man to come along, the one who is brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree.

Now Men .... Men are like a fine wine. They begin as grapes, and it's up to women to stomp the crap out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with.