OK, pal, whatever you say ...

Over his career, he has starred in "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "Pretty Woman" and once was voted the world's sexiest man. But last week, film star Richard Gere earned a far different distinction: 2002's Worst Celebrity Waffler. From whom? From the Plain English Campaign, a British pressure group for "crystal-clear language." So what did Gere do? He told a newspaper interviewer: "I know who I am. No one else knows who I am. If I was a giraffe and someone said I was a snake, I'd think, 'No, actually I'm a giraffe.' "

Hey, we'd like a turn, too

If a 4-0 score in soccer is considered a rout, what do you call 149-0? That happened last month when, to protest the officiating in Madagascar's national playoffs, the coach of the defending champion ordered his team to put the ball into its own net in a game against the new titlist after every kickoff. Not surprisingly, the latter's players stood by and watched.

E-mail at work now 'essential' for most

To hear many American office workers talk, you might think that the time they spend deleting "spam" e-mails now eats up hours each day.

But a survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project has found that the vast majority of job-holders call their e-mail experience "very manageable," and more than half call e-mail essential to the execution of their jobs.

In a survey of more than 1,000 workers who said they use e-mail at work, Pew found they spent, on average, about 30 minutes a day handling e-mail. Remarkably, the majority of work e-mailers said they receive 10 or fewer e-mails per day, and send five or fewer.

Asked to rate e-mail's importance to their work, 52 percent ranked it as essential and another 34 percent viewed it as valuable.

Respondents also offered this assessment of the role of e-mail at work:

• 72 percent said it helps them communicate with more people;

• 71 percent said it saves them time;

• 62 percent said it makes them more available to co-workers (but about a third said it made them "too accessible");

• 59 percent said it improves teamwork.


WHAT: A tangible way to introduce stock ownership to your children or anyone else. This website sells single-share stock certificates that are framed and ready for mounting.

THE BEST PARTS: Stock certificates from more than 80 companies are available. The most popular choices: Apple, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Disney, and Ford.

For kids, OneShare has a "My First Stock Program," which includes the book, "Growing Money, A Complete Investing Guide for Kids." The site also has games that help kids track their stocks and (maybe) watch them grow.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The San Francisco company has been in business since 1996. Prices vary depending on the stock and frame you purchase. Every buyer faces an initial fee of $39 to cover fees and commissions needed to buy the stock, register the shareholder, and obtain an unfolded certificate. Ten different frames for the stock range in price from $34 to $74. Finally, you'll pay for the price of the stock itself, which of course, depends on the market value. So to buy a share in Martha Stewart's empire, for example, add another $11.

Today's quote

'Saddam Hussein ... has made a number of disclosures in the past about what he has or hasn't got. Normally, they have been a pack of lies.'

- British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, in a BBC interview as Iraq's weapons report was en route to the UN in New York.

Most of Hollywood's 'power women' work offscreen

While the entertainment industry remains largely male-dominated, women have made significant inroads over the past decade, notes Hollywood Reporter in its 11th annual list of the 100 most powerful women in Hollywood. The list includes executives in film, TV, and music, and even "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling (No. 64.) The top 10:

1. Sherry Lansing, chair, Paramount Pictures
2. Stacey Snider, chair, Universal Pictures
3. Amy Pascal, vice chair, Sony Pictures
4. Nancy Tellem, president, CBS Entertainment
5. Michele Anthony, vice president, Sony Music Entertainment
6. Gail Berman, president of Entertainment, Fox
7. Susan Lyne, president, ABC Entertainment
8. Oprah Winfrey, chair, Harpo Entertainment
9. Judy McGrath, president, MTV music group
10. Carole Black, president, Lifetime Entertainment
- Associated Press

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