The World Is (or Will Be Soon) Flat

"With the historic abolition of long-distance charges on 31 December, 2000, every telephone call became a local one, and the human race greeted the new millennium by transforming itself into one huge, gossiping family."

Science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke, wrote that 15 years ago in his novel 2061: Odyssey Three. Seems he was off by only a few years.

As a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, along with declining fortunes, increased competition and advancing technology, more and more telephone companies are turning to flat-rate unlimited local and long distance calling plans.

Ever since Alexander Graham Bell blurted out, "Watson, come here...," telephone companies have billed for calls based on the distance between those talking and the time of the call. But with the explosion of cell phone providers selling plans with unlimited access (and the "flat-rate"
pricing policies of cable
TV and Internet service providers), it was only a question of time before consumers began to demand the same from their land-line telephone companies.

AT&T, BellSouth, MCI, Qwest Communications, SBC Communications, Verizon and a stable of lesser-known phone companies across the US have all rolled out unlimited-use plans at flat-rate prices, commonly costing $50 to $70 monthly. (According to the Federal Communications Commission, the average American household spends $48 per month for local and long distance.)

Flat-rate is great news for networkers, whose "household"-based businesses drive phone bills up into the hundreds of dollars each month.

SOURCE: The New York Times

 

A Reminder: You Are Blessed

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep...you are richer than 75 percent of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, spare change in a dish someplace...
you are among the top eight percent of the wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness...you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation...you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church or temple meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death...you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you can read this, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

As you read this and are reminded of how life is in the rest of the world, remember just how blessed you really are!

--Author unknown

SOURCE: $ Prosperity From
the Inside-Out! $ a free monthly
e-zine written and distributed by Elyse Hope Killoran
(www.spiritualpartnering.com).

 

Stars and Their Cars

Every good vision or "treasure map" simply must include a spiffy set of real hot wheels in the driveway of your dream house. So, what do
the folks who live their dreams drive? Here, from
the fine financial folks at www.bankrate.com, is a sampling of what some Hollywood stars are driving (and some will surprise you).

J. Lo is making more than $9,000,000 per movie, but she didn't have to buy her own car: boyfriend Ben Affleck gave her a blue, Azure Mulliner, Rolls-Royce Bentley two-door convertible. The Azure sells for $370,790 without options. Happy birthday, Jennifer.

At the other end of Rodeo Drive, Cameron Diaz, purchased an environmentally-conscious, fuel-efficient, hybrid sedan, the 2002 Toyota Prius. The Prius has a "Super Ultra Low Emission Rating," 84 percent cleaner than the standard for an Ultra Low Emission vehicle, and gets an amazing 52 city and 45 highway miles per gallon. This ultimate "green machine" sells for $20,480.

Hugh Grant drives an Aston Martin V-12 Vanquish--the car Pierce Brosnan drove as James Bond in "Die Another Day," and Brosnan owns one of the $257,000 Brits, too, as do Sharon Stone, Nicolas Cage (who also drives a 1955 red Cadillac Eldorado convertible--as ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley's daddy used to drive, too) and Mr. J. Lo, Ben Affleck.

Former Mouseketeer Britney Spears wheels up in the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Tiptronic, full time 4-wheel drive, power everything screamer costing $87,395.

"Malcolm in the Middle" star Frankie Muniz paid more than $100,000 for his first car, a white Volkswagen Jetta that Vin Diesel drove in "The Fast and the Furious."

Mr. "It," Brad Pitt, isn't the only one four-wheeling around Malibu in the $73,896 Mercedes G500 ultimate SUV: Diane Keaton, Benicio Del Toro, musician Fred Durst and Eric Clapton have also been seen in same.

And in what is the most "Material Girl" of all racing up the Pacific Coast Highway? A Mini Cooper, which fits with the British husband and home. (Did you know it's owned by BMW?) The cute little "adult go-cart" sells for much less material than most: $20,000.

SOURCE: http://www.bankrate.com/ust/news/auto/car-guide

 

The First SPAM'er

There's no hotter topic (and genuine concern) in Internetwork marketing today than the issue of SPAM. Know where the term comes from? Monty Python's Flying Circus.

SPAM was originally used by Internet "Usenet" users to mean anything that "flooded a newsgroup with irrelevant or inappropriate messages." (The Jargon File.) The Monty Python sketch went as follows:

Waitress: Morning.

Mr. Bun: Well, what you got?

Waitress: Well, there's egg and bacon; egg, sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg, bacon and spam; egg, bacon, sausage and spam; spam, bacon, sausage and spam; spam, egg, spam, spam, bacon and spam; spam, sausage, spam, spam, spam, bacon, spam, tomato and spam; spam, spam, spam, egg and spam--. Vikings (singing in background): Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, spam and spam....

Today, SPAM means unsolicited commercial e-mail. On May 16, 2003, President George W. Bush became a card-carrying SPAM'er when Bush Cheney '04, Inc. sent out (not at taxpayers expense) more than a million "unsolicited" requests for campaign contributions--many via e-mail. Unsolicited e-mail. Aka, SPAM.

Can't wait to see "W" sitting next to Bill Gates as he testifies about cyber-accountability in Congressional hearings.