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Monica Beemer has come up with the ideal way to win a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records: develop a completely new category, then find witnesses to certify that you actually did what you claim to have done. That's why she recruited 520-odd guitarists - serious as well as novices - to gather in Portland, Ore., and play the folk classic "This Land Is Your Land" in the key of G for one hour. To help the less accomplished, each wore a shirt with the chord progressions on the back. Next year, assuming Guinness allows the entry, "We'll try to break this record," Beemer said.

Come on home, Martha

It seems fair to suggest that lifestyle guru Martha Stewart has slipped a bit in the nation's esteem because of her alleged link to the ImClone insider trading scandal. Ah, but not in the esteem of Nutley, N.J., where a committee of community leaders last month voted her into the local hall of fame. She and eight other Nutley notables will be inducted in a late-September ceremony. Stewart grew up there before leaving to seek her forture as an arbiter of taste and fashion.

US cars chasing, but can't catch Lexus for durability

Toyota's luxury Lexus brand took the top honors for a ninth straight year as Japanese auto-makers continued to dominate the latest durability rankings by market-research firm J.D. Power & Associates. Still, four US brands also rated highly in the report, based on a survey of 55,000 original US owners of model-year 2000 cars and trucks. J.D. Power's 10 most dependable brands, by number of problems per 100 vehicles (the industry average is 273):

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1. Lexus (Toyota) 163
2. Infiniti (Nissan) 174
3. Buick (General Motors) 179
4. Porsche AG 193
5. Acura (Honda) 196
6. Toyota 201
7. Cadillac (General Motors) 209
8. Lincoln (Ford) 212
9. Honda 218
10. Mercury (Ford) 240 - Associated Press

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