Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  Oct. 3, 2005 at 6:30 AM
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Many married couples live apart

NEW YORK, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- More and more U.S. married couple are living apart -- some by thousands of miles and some cross-town -- either by necessity or by choice.

Many are separated because of jobs that require them to move frequently, but many say they are happy and that instant communication makes it work, reported the New York Daily News Sunday.

"It's become more normal for people to do long-distance marriages, and more people are doing it," says Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington.

"Careers might require separation. And we have so much technology to keep us together. We have cell phones and Blackberries to e-mail all the time. We just don't have that emotional space between us when we're apart."

Some couples split their time together to care for children or parents, while others just like to be have some breathing space, according to live-apart married couple Virginia Stewart and Frank DiStefano.

Cell phones banned by tour operator

LONDON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Cell phones that annoy people on trains and in restaurants have been banned by a British tour operator on exotic trips worldwide.

The Adventure Company said it had received complaints about cell phones going off at "romantic moments" at places including the ancient Treasury at Petra in Jordan, the Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru, the Taj Mahal in India and the remote summit of Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro, reported the Sunday Telegraph.

"We had people who had done the Inca trail and arrived at Machu Picchu to watch a stunning sunrise only for a phone to go off," said Mark Wright, the managing director of the travel company. "These are expensive and often once-in-a-lifetime trips so we decided that the best solution was to ban mobile phones altogether."

Next year, tour guides will collect cell phones from travelers at the beginning of a trip and return them at the end. The tour guides will have a cell phone for emergencies.

Junk faxes may be more prevalent

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Junk faxes, such as pizzeria ads that come just as that important contract is supposed to be faxed, may became more prevalent thanks to a U.S. law.

Federal law and Federal Communications Commission regulations have kept most machines free of unsolicited ads, but the Electronic Privacy Information Center says the law removes one of the few protections against fax abuse, the New York Times reported Saturday.

Chris Jay Hoofnagle, director for the center's San Francisco office said the Junk Fax Prevention Act -- approved this summer by Congress -- allows businesses with whom a consumer has had an "established business relationship" to send faxes to that consumer.

"In effect, this means that any business that you call or visit can fax you, even if you don't give the business your fax number," said Hoofnagle.

Celebrities renting out vacation homes

NEW YORK, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Mick Jagger is joining other U.S. and British celebrities who are renting out their lavish vacation homes for some hefty prices.

Jagger is renting out his four-bedroom beachfront villa with pool and croquet lawn in the West Indies -- which comes with a Jeep and staff of six -- for $13,000 a week, reported the New York Times Saturday.

Bruce Willis is offering his three-villa compound in the Caribbean for $15,000 to $20,000 a night. Businessman Richard Branson's retreat and staff of 18 in the British Virgin Islands rents for $20,000 a night, reported the magazine V Life.

While Jagger hired a property agent to rent the property, he "vets potential renters himself" by reviewing a questionnaire.

"He is mostly concerned with the number of occupants and their professions, but (he) tends to shy away from people in rock 'n' roll," his rental agency said.

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