Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  May 15, 2006 at 6:30 AM
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Nashville's flashy new tower riles Atlanta

NASHVILLE, May 15 (UPI) -- A Music City developer is planning to erect the tallest building in the South in Nashville -- a 65-story tower that threatens to knock Atlanta down a peg.

Signature Tower, the dream of Tennessee developer Tony Giarratana, is a $275 million would-be high-rise of 400 condos and 100 hotel rooms, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

If built, Signature Tower -- at 1,047 feet -- would loom over Nashville's modest skyline, where the tallest building today is 617 feet, the same as Midtown's Four Seasons Atlanta hotel.

More significantly, it would best Atlanta's Bank of America Plaza as the tallest building south of the Mason-Dixon Line -- and would be America's premier skyscraper outside of New York or Chicago.

"A tall building doesn't make an economic capital," said Sam Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

Atlanta has been one of the top four U.S. metro areas in terms of economic growth for 20 years, Williams said, and that's not going to change.

The local challenge isn't a lack of growth, it's the opposite, Williams said -- preserving the quality of life while the area's economy continues to expand.

Motherhood merges with business in 2006

PHILADELPHIA, May 15 (UPI) -- A group of accomplished, educated women in the Philadelphia area are turning the job of stay-at-home mother into a profession.

Gathered at a suburban YMCA recently, the women listened to a lecture by a productivity consultant on everything from closet organization to better dressing, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.

Reversing decades of labor trends, a modest but growing number of mothers are giving up careers to stay home with their children.

This new breed of accomplished, educated, stay-at-home women are bringing the same intensity to child rearing as they did to their careers, the newspaper said.

What sets these professional mothers apart is that they are often consciously taking skills, coping techniques and sometimes even the language of the working world and putting it to use at home, the Inquirer said.

Experts, however, say they worry that some women may take the professional approach too far.

"We do have a culture that is motivated and judged by its productivity, and I think moms feel that pressure to produce good results," warned Dee Ray, a counseling professor at the University of North Texas.

MySpace risky medium for candidates

TORRINGTON, Conn., May 15 (UPI) -- Candidates for governor in California have MySpace sites, and young campaign aides urge candidates to create MySpace profiles, but there can be a risk.

Web sites such as MySpace.com are growing in popularity among those seeking elective office because they provide rare access to a younger audience, the Hartford Courant reported.

But when Ryan Bingham, 22, created a MySpace.com site to reach out to young voters in his campaign to unseat the mayor of Torrington, Conn., someone else went on and changed his occupation.

Instead of mayor, Bingham's occupation was listed as malebigalow, an apparent reference to a Rob Schneider comedy "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo."

"When you try to keep your life open there's always a chance people will take advantage of you and I think that's what happened," Bingham said.

For his part, Bingham said he is disappointed the MySpace dustup has drawn attention away from issues he views as more important, such as the city's school budget.

Consumers eat up $160 sandwiches

DUBLIN, Ireland, May 15 (UPI) -- Some dismissed Selfridges $160 "massaged" Japanese beef sandwich as a gimmick, but the British luxury department store sells up to 50 of them a week.

The price tag has not deterred consumers from forking out for the sourdough sandwich containing wagyu beef, foie gras and black truffle mayonnaise, Selfridges food and catering director Ewan Venter said.

Designer foods are the latest fad, and it seems nothing is too rich, the Irish Independent reported.

Bacon-and-cabbage pizza or organic beef goulash for babies exhibited at an exclusive food fair in Dublin this week could put Ireland on the gourmet map.

Exotic foods are no longer the preserve of the few, said Irish Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan. What you eat has become a major indicator of your lifestyle and identity, she said.

Consumers could be divided into "fuelers," who use food purely to satisfy hunger, and "foodies," who seek out the richest flavors and textures and most interesting and authentic products, Coughlan said.

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