Watercooler Stories

By ALEX CUKAN, United Press International  |  Dec. 17, 2003 at 6:45 AM
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Ever since Clay Aiken lost Fox's "American Idol" competition, he's been winning awards.

He won a Billboard award and an American Music Award and now he's been named the winner of the 10 Best Mannered People of 2003, as ranked by the National League of Junior Cotillions.

The NLJC, which trains and licenses directors to establish local cotillion programs, is honoring Aiken for "his example of humility and politeness and the courteous manner in which he treats fellow performers and fans," reports Zap2it.com.

The list also includes former Gen. Tommy Franks, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, actor Mel Gibson, broadcaster Tom Brokaw, first lady Laura Bush and last year's winner, National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice.


For those with the odd fruitcake hanging around that won't be eaten this year, or from last year's Christmas or even from 2001, they can mail them to Buffalo, N.Y.

Fruitcake Amnesty Campaign is a public service to collect and consume all uneaten fruitcakes and organizers from the Buffalo Food Bank have designated a special 30,000-square-foot warehouse in anticipation of the fruitcake influx.

Fruitcake recipients from throughout the United States are free to mail all unopened, uneaten fruitcakes to Buffalo, no questions asked.

Most of the fruitcakes will be distributed to those in need, but some will be featured in the first-ever officially sanctioned fruitcake-eating contest, according to the Food Bank of Western New York, which hopes other food donations will be made along with the fruitcake.


Men and women born between 1935 and 1955 are the most likely to call themselves feminists, a Pennsylvania State University study says.

Researchers examining the link between age and social attitudes about feminism find support for abortion rights and gender equality in the workplace -- a strong part of the feminist tradition -- is unrelated to whether young adults or senior citizens call themselves feminists, according to the study in the American Sociological Review.

"These results suggest that men and women whose political coming of age coincided with the feminist movement are more likely to think of themselves as feminists than their younger or older counterparts," says study author Jason Schnittker.


Shy people are more susceptible to infection than outgoing people, according to a report published in Biological Psychiatry.

"Since ancient Greece, physicians have noticed that persons with a 'melancholic temperament' are more vulnerable to viral infections," says co-author Steve Cole, of the David Geffen School of Medicine.

During the AIDS epidemic, researchers found that introverted people got sick and died sooner than extroverted people, the authors say.

"How someone reacts to stress seems to be more important than the stress itself in explaining why one person gets sick and one person doesn't," says co-author Bruce Naliboff, of the University of California Los Angeles Neuropsychiatric Institute.

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