On May 19, the 57 grads of Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business made what officials believe is the largest-ever donation by Executive MBAs (mainly senior Texas execs taking weekend courses). Together they pledged $1 million. Typically, grad gifts average $20,000 to $50,000. It's not easy eating green. After years of eating French fries from McDonald's without thinking twice, vegetarians were jolted to learn that the chain flavors its potatoes with beef extract. Caveat emptor: Many other seemingly meat-free foods also contain animal products.
Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats, for one. Listed among its ingredients is gelatin, a gummy substance rendered from cattle carcasses. Gelatin is also used to coat gel-cap pills--and is in marshmallows, sour cream, Skittles and other candies--and, of course, Jell-O.
When asked, many restaurants admit that they, too, include animal ingredients where you might not expect them. Church's Chicken and Denny's also flavor their fries with beef fat. The guacamole at Applebee's uses gelatin, and its vegetable roll-up tortilla may contain lard (pork fat). Pizza Hut only recently eliminated chicken broth from its pizza sauce but still uses it in the white sauce in pasta dishes. "You almost need a degree in food science today," laments Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport, who advises on the kosher diet, which forbids meat and dairy in the same meal. For those avoiding meat, that's troubling food for thought. When New York's weekend beachgoers drive out to The Hamptons this year, they're going to have to give up a staple: cell phones to the ear while at the wheel. The two counties linking the city to the beach have enacted cell phone bans. The whole of New York State may be next--and become the first in the nation to do so. Governor George Pataki hopes to have draft laws on his desk by summer. Says Judy Jacobs, a Nassau County legislator: "We want two hands on the wheel and two eyes on the road."
That desire may soon be nationwide. On May 22, legislators in both houses of Congress introduced laws to curb cell phone use while driving. While the feds work out the details, 40 states are also considering bans, up from 27 last year. More than a dozen municipalities across the nation already have them.
Although a recent American Automobile Assn. study showed that cell phones cause only 1.5% of auto accidents, a 1997 New England Journal of Medicine report found that cell-phone distractions quadrupled the risk of collision--a rate equal to intoxication. The wireless industry had long opposed bans, but providers like Verizon are now softening. They back them as long as they're phased in and legalize hands-free accessories--at about $20 apiece. If layoffs can have happy endings, this may be one case: Cisco Systems (CSCO), which dismissed 6,000 full-time workers in April, got creative about its severance package--and decided to help charity. The San Jose (Calif.) company is allowing the pink-slipped who agree to work for a local nonprofit organization for a year to collect one-third of their salaries, plus benefits and stock options--and be first in line for rehire once the economy recovers.
Nonprofits, of course, are delighted. "It's going to allow us to move ahead faster on technology projects," says Dave Sandretto, director of the food bank for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. He's interviewing Cisco candidates for five accounting and computer-related positions.
So far, 150 ex-Ciscoans are participating. The company is also offering workers nine months longer than usual to exercise their (currently underwater) stock options.
Carol Cone, who runs Boston-based strategic marketing firm Cone Inc., says Cisco is wisely maintaining ties to its talent pool while helping tech-challenged nonprofits: "It's really a fascinating and very visionary approach to a layoff." Hear that, Human Resources? Deceased celebrities are now the most sought-after--and controversial--figures in advertising. Digital technology has allowed Fred Astaire to dance with a Dirt Devil. Now it lets you watch Martin Luther King Jr. having "a dream" about communication networks.
TV, print ads feature King's "I Have a Dream" speech (March), Lou Gehrig's 1939 farewell speech (May)
Print ads in Elle and InStyle magazines feature Marilyn Monroe (summer)
L.A. mural to show Wilt Chamberlain as part of its "Think Different" campaign (fall)
Billboards show comedian Marty Feldman's face (February)
Billboard, print ads depict James Dean (March)
Data: Commercial Alert/CMG Worldwide For at least 100 years, it has been done this way: hunched over a scorecard in the bleachers, gripping a stubby pencil, recording the movements of players on the field. But now, just get out your Palm and stylus. The leading PDA maker is introducing a baseball-scorekeeping application this month at San Francisco's Pacific Bell Park. Fans will be able to download an electronic scorecard, team stats, and baseball trivia from two or three beaming stations throughout the park. It requires software that takes about 20 seconds to receive. "This can work for a variety of our fans--from the not-so-serious ones who haven't kept score before to the guy who comes out to the ballpark once a homestand," says Jason Pearl, the Giants' vice-president for corporate sponsorship.
Stats such as batting averages and the earned-run average of the ace relief pitcher can be updated as the game goes on. It also logs such details as the precise length of the game.
But won't people miss the traditional way? "I suspect a large number of people with the most expensive Palms in the world will prefer the old method," says Paul Dickson, author of The Joy of Keeping Score: How Scoring the Game Has Influenced and Enhanced the History of Baseball. Palm hopes to win over skeptics with free software for 60 to 90 days. After that, says Keith Bruce, director of FCB Worldwide Sports Marketing, which is handling the rollout, the software will carry an as-yet-undetermined charge. Palm has no plans for other ballparks yet. But perhaps someday the old song will go, "Take Your Palm to the Ball game..." It's an old story on Wall Street: discrimination against women. Now there's a new way to deal with it. A woman who alleges being targeted herself has started a site, www.womenonwall.com, for women frustrated with careers in a male-dominated industry.
Amy Segal, 34, filed a $150 million gender discrimination suit in April against J.P. Morgan Securities for her inclusion in 800 layoffs in 1998. She claims less qualified men kept their jobs; Morgan "vigorously denies" discrimination. "I had no one to talk to, and I wanted to get a dialogue going," she says. "More women are coming forward, but I still don't think it's a lot."
To encourage them, her site links to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which explains how to file a discrimination charge, and to the National Organization for Women. There's also a resources page and a discussion board. Since its May 9 launch, women have been swapping stories and offering encouragement--sort of a New Age network taking on the Old Boys Network. For Dallas-based gloom-and-doom e-tailer Despair.com, bad news is good. Despair sells T-shirts, posters ("Failure--When Your Best Just Isn't Good Enough") and other paraphernalia as gag gifts or personal pick-me-ups for failed dot-commers or the similarly self-loathing.
Its best-seller is a calendar: The Official Requiem for the Dot-com Dream ($14.95), with monthly "demotivational" topics such as bitterness and delusions, as well as tech anniversaries (Jan. 7, 1980: Space Invaders debuts on Atari). Its Pessimist's Mug ($9.95) indicates when the glass is half empty. The private company logged 1.3 million page views in April, double a year ago, and reported revenue of $1 million in 2000.
Even if the economy recovers soon, says co-founder Justin Sewell, "we plan to stick with our model of profiting from misery, at least until someone solves the problem of human unhappiness." Proving, of course, that it pays to have a sense of humor about it. Expatriate employees who quit jobs upon return to U.S.: 49%; who are critical of transition services: 45%
Data: Cigna Corp.