Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  July 11, 2005 at 6:30 AM
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Parade poll: Oprah over Bush for president

NEW YORK, July 11 (UPI) -- If talk show queen Oprah Winfrey ran for U.S. president against George W. Bush she would win with 65 percent of the vote, according to a survey.

Bush was favored by only 35 percent, according to the poll of 2,395 people conducted by the magazine Parade.com.

The poll also found Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are American's favorite Hollywood couple and their split was voted the most shocking moment in recent pop-culture history by 34 percent of the respondents.

If the four "American Idol" winners competed against each other, 55 percent thought Kelly Clarkson would win, 18 percent thought Carrie Underwood would, 14 percent favored Fantasia and 13 percent thought Ruben Studdard would win.

Most of the respondents don't think expectant mom Britney Spears will be a good parent.

When asked which celebrities would raise the most well-adjusted children, Spears and Kevin Federline were tied for dead last with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony -- both with 1 percent of the vote. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith were considered the celebrity couple most likely to have well-adjusted children at 61 percent.

Times Square Howard Johnson's closes

NEW YORK, July 11 (UPI) -- After 46 years, the Howard Johnson's restaurant in New York City's Times Square has closed amid some tears.

"It's the end of an era," said General Manager Joseph Shahery, who worked for 40 years at the Broadway eatery. He and some loyal customers shed a few tears as he closed the restaurant for the final time Sunday, New York Daily News reported.

"People have such strong feelings about Howard Johnson's," Shahery said.

Shahery said he had received numerous e-mails from regulars who had frequented the turquoise and orange haven, known for its macaroni and cheese and its 3 a.m. closing time.

The restaurant gave several celebrities a chance to work while they waited for their big break. Actor Gene Hackman was once a doorman at the Times Square location. Famed French chef Jacques Pepin worked at the chain's Queens location, but said the Times Square theater district restaurant was his favorite.

Japan university heads cut their own pay

NAGASAKI, Japan, July 11 (UPI) -- Ten university presidents in Japan have taken a voluntary salary cut of about $1,000 in the name of business efficiency.

The universities have acquired corporate status, and that has forced them think like a corporate entity, according to an official at Nagasaki University.

"We cut something that was unthinkable when we were civil servants," the official, who was not named, told the Japan Times.

The reduction of presidents' salaries will not amount to a significant amount of money -- but the effort has a symbolic meaning that the newly corporate universities are engaged in cost cutting.

Some university officials hope the government will increase it subsidies in the future if it appreciates the universities are doing all they can to cut expenses.

Japan's 'Cool Biz' results in shirt sales

TOKYO, July 11 (UPI) -- Japan's 'Cool Biz' dress code -- men don't wear neckties in the hot summer months to save on air conditioning -- has resulted in more shirt sales.

"All politicians and business leaders have come to us to buy Cool Biz costumes," an unnamed spokesman for Mitsukoshi department store told the Japan Times.

Aoyama Trading Co., a discount clothing chain for men, said June's shirt sales rose about 20 percent compared to 2004, while an unnamed sales promotion manager at Tomiya Apparel Co., said shirt plants are at full operation.

"Shirts that had remained in stock due to a cool summer two years ago have sold out," the Aoyama Trading manager said. "Usually there are orders for 30,000 shirts a year, but this year, we have received orders for 300,000 shirts."

Japan's government initiated the Cool Biz campaign to reduce power needs and cut greenhouse gases to address global warming.

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