Why waste an opportunity?

"We don't give away a lot of free things in our stores," said Ben Packard, an executive of Starbucks Corp. Ah, but that's not strictly true. In fact, the coffee giant gives away tons of stuff; in Seattle, the company's base, you can smell it in flower gardens all over the city. If you haven't guessed, the freebies are spent grounds, available for the asking as nitrogen-rich mulch. The program has the blessing of environmentalists, since the grounds are chemical-free. It also happens to put a big dent in Starbucks' trash-removal bill.

'What am I bid for ...?' the world's priciest paintings

Last week, at auction, Pablo Picasso's "Boy with Pipe" sold for a world record $104 million at Sotheby's in New York. The identity of the winning bidder was not divulged, a secret Sotheby's had no trouble keeping, given its $11 million commission, which was included in the final price. "Boy with Pipe" was from the artist's early period, painted in 1905 when he lived in Paris's famous Montmartre neighborhood. It was put up for auction by a charitable foundation created by philanthropist Betsey Whitney. The most expensive paintings in the history of art auctions, by artist, with the year each was sold, and the price (in millions):

1. "Boy with Pipe," by Pablo Picasso (2004) $104.0
2. "Portrait of Dr. Gachet," by Vincent Van Gogh (1990)82.5
3. "Au Moulin de la Galette," by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1990) 78.0
4. "Massacre of the Innocents," by Peter Paul Rubens (2002) 76.7
5. "Portrait de l'artiste sans barbe," by Vincent Van Gogh (1998) 65.0
6. "Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier," by Paul Cézanne (1999) 55.0
7. "Femme aux Bras Croises," by Pablo Picasso(2000) 50.0
8."Les Noces de Pierrette," by Pablo Picasso (1989)(tie) "Irises," by Vincent Van Gogh (1987) 49.0

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