Living In a Faster World

Back at the beginning of December, the picture-postcard Eiffel Tower in Paris celebrated its 200 millionth visitor. One of the world's most famous landmarks, the 1000-foot-high tower was built by Gustav Eiffel for the 1889 World's Fair.

Now, here's the fun part: it took 94 years to reach the 100-million visitor mark back in 1983. But it's taken less than 20 years to double that tally to 200 million!

If you build it, they will come--faster now than ever before!


The Best Beaches in the United States

If your vision includes "walking the beaches of the world," you oughtta know which ones are "the best." And before you update your passport picture, how about walking "the best" beaches of the USA?

Here's a list ranked by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, Professor and Director, International Hurricane Center at Florida International University. Oh, this doesn't include river and lake beaches.

1. St Joseph Peninsula State Park, Florida
2. Hanalei Beach, Hawaii
3. Kaanapali, Hawaii
4. Fort Desoto Park, Florida
5. Caladesi Island State Park, Florida
6. Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
7. Hamoa, Hawaii
8. East Hampton Beach, New York
9. Cape Florida SRA, Florida
10. Hanauma Bay, Hawaii

You can learn more, such as:

... all here at:


The "Most Appealing" Cars

First, just what does "appealing" mean--and who says?

J.D. Powers, that's who. Or at least the men and women of that august organization, which has been rating and ranking things we care about for the past 30-plus years. The company was formed in 1968 as a research firm surveying consumers on a variety of topics. Top-line survey results from customer satisfaction studies began to be made publicly available in the early 1980's.

Now, as for a definition of "appealing," J.D. and company measure owner delight with the design, content, layout and performance of their new vehicles. Here are the 2002 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study Awardees. (You'll have to wait until October of 2003 for this year's winners.)

Most Appealing Compact Car:
    MINI Cooper
Most Appealing Compact Pickup:
    Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Most Appealing Compact Van:
    Honda Odyssey
Most Appealing Entry Luxury Car:
    Ford Thunderbird
Most Appealing Entry Midsize Car:
    Hyundai Sonata
Most Appealing Entry Sport Utility Vehicle:
    Honda CR-V
Most Appealing Full-Size Car:
    Ford Crown Victoria
Most Appealing Full-Size Pickup:
    Cadillac Escalade EXT
Most Appealing Full-Size Sport Utility Vehicle:
    Ford Excursion
Most Appealing Full-Size Van:
    GMC Savana
Most Appealing Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle:
     Cadillac Escalade
Most Appealing Mid Luxury Car:
    Lincoln Town Car (2003)
Most Appealing Midsize Sport Utility Vehicle:
    Toyota Highlander
Most Appealing Premium Luxury Car:
    Lexus LS 430
Most Appealing Premium Midsize Car:
    Toyota Avalon
Most Appealing Premium Sports Car:
    Audi TT
Most Appealing Sporty Car:
    Acura RSX

And there's lots more at:


The Top 10 Movie Lines

While we're playing with "best" this and that, how about the Top Ten lines ever spoken in the movies? Cool! According to ( here they are:

10. "My name is Bond, James Bond." -- Dr. No (et al.)
9. "You can't handle the truth." -- A Few Good Men
8. "May the force be with you." -- Star Wars
7. "Say hello to my little friend." -- Scarface
6. "Whatta you mean I'm funny?...Funny how, am I a clown, do I amuse you?" --Goodfellas
5. "I'll be back." -- Terminator
4. "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." -- The Godfather
3. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." -- Gone With The Wind
2. "Go ahead, make my day." -- Sudden Impact

And the Number One movie line of all time:
1. "You talkin' to me?" -- Taxi Driver

Okay, perhaps it's a guy thing.


The End of the Booming Nineties

Every year (since 1973), The Harris Poll(R) asks Americans how much time they spend working and commuting (including being at school and housework), how much time they have for leisure, and what their favorite pastimes are.

This year's survey showed a sharp drop in the average number of hours worked--the only time in the 30 years that Harris has been asking the question that the number of working hours has dropped significantly!

From 1973 to 1980, the number of hours spent working rose from 41 to 47 hours. It then rose to a high of 51 hours in '94 (where it remained for three years), dropped back to 50 in '98 and had remained unchanged through 2001. However, in 2002, the median number of hours worked fell sharply to 47, reflecting the weakening of the economy and the end of the booming 90's.

Interestingly, there's been no change in people's estimates of how many leisure hours they have. The median estimate of 20 hours a week in 2002 was the same as it has been every year since 1999. And it hasn't been higher than 20 or lower than 19 since 1989.

So, what are our Favorite Pastimes?

Reading, watching TV, spending time with the family/kids, fishing, gardening, playing team sports, going to movies, swimming, golf, socializing with friends and neighbors and golf, fill out the top 10.

Reading (at 26 percent) and watching television (at 15 percent) have topped the list every year Harris has asked the question. Bad news: reading is at its lowest level in seven years, a full five percent below 1999. Good news: television watching is also at its lowest level in seven years, 10 percent lower than 1995 and five percent below last year.

Source: Harris Interactive(R)
The Harris Poll Library,