Karen Springen

The Magic of Meditation

At 59, David Lynch is already arguably America's best-known avant-garde filmmaker. His directing career has spanned more than three decades, including films like "Eraserhead" (1978), "Blue Velvet" (1986) and "Mulholland Drive" (2001), as well as the early 1990s TV series "Twin Peaks." But he's hardly resting on his laurels now.

ADULT: A MORE POSH VIBE

Adult toys are no longer women's dirty little secret. In the post-"Sex and the City" era, these products have gone mainstream--and upscale. Today 46 percent of U.S. women own vibrators, according to a 2004 study by condom maker Durex.

Dying to be Tan

At 14, fair-skinned, blue-eyed Charlie Guild got a bad sunburn after she forgot to reapply her sunscreen at a pool party. When she was 16, she mistakenly fried herself on a family Christmas vacation trip to Puerto Vallarta.

IT'S NO LONGER A HOG HEAVEN

Alejandro Silva has spent 27 years making pork rinds, those love-'em-or-hate-'em snacks made from deep-fried pigskin. During that time he's seen how news events can drive his business, for good and for bad.

INJECTIONS: THE 'YOUTH CORRIDOR' IS THE NEW FOREH

Botox bestowed furrow-free foreheads on the masses. Last year alone, U.S. doctors performed 2.8 million injections with the wrinkle-smoothing drug. But a growing number of patients are realizing they've got the foreheads of 25-year-olds--and the smile lines and jowls of 45-year-olds. "I noticed that my forehead was looking so perfect, and I needed to match the bottom," says Botox user Jodi Abramowitz, 33, a New York lawyer.

The Tip Sheet

Until last month, Lindsay Christiansen, 26, hadn't worn a bathing suit in three years. The San Diego, California-based flight attendant gained weight after college and felt self-conscious about her increasingly dimpled thighs. "It got to the point where I didn't even want to wear shorts," she says.

MEDICINE TAILORED JUST FOR YOU

Suppose you've just been diagnosed with lung cancer, which is fatal in most people within two years. Your doctor tells you there is a new drug that has kept some patients alive for as long as five years, but it can have serious side effects, including liver and eye damage.

FAMILY: WAITING FOR HARRY

On July 16, muggle kids will finally get their hands on book number six, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." Here's what they can read while they wait (for more options, see ala.org)."The Two Princesses of Bamarre," by Gail Carson Levine.

EDUCATION: CLASSY GIFTS

The last day of school is right around the corner. What's the best way to thank your child's teacher? Some advice:Check school policy. If your principal allows gifts, remember that giving a present is optional. "You should not feel you have to do that," says former elementary-school principal Cindy Post Senning, great-granddaughter of Emily Post and coauthor of "Emily Post's The Guide to Good Manners for Kids."Don't break the bank.

HEALTH: LIVING THE HARD LIFE

Here's a novel alternative to Viagra: exercise, eat right and stop smoking. In "The Hardness Factor: How to Achieve Your Best Health and Sexual Fitness at Any Age" ($25.95), out next week, New York University Medical Center's Dr.

FAMILY WET, BUT NOT WILD

Ready for a splash- filled summer? Here are some tips for keeping your family safe in the water:Maintain constant eye contact with a child who is not yet a strong swimmer, says Stew Leonard, coauthor of "Stewie the Duck Learns to Swim: A Child's First Guide to Water Safety." Also, see the Consumer Product Safety Commission's new "swimming-pool safety alert" at cpsc.gov.Insist on barriers.

Tip Sheet

By Karen SpringenMen may earn more than women, run faster and buy more wide-screen TVs. But when it comes to health, they trail the opposite sex in nearly every category.

PERISCOPE

Ah Turkey: Old Hatreds Die HardCould Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan do more damage to the Turkish state from inside prison than he was able to do while free?

'There Is Hope'

Alcohol and drugs killed icons like Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. But some strong-willed addicts get help in time. In "The Harder They Fall: Celebrities Tell Their Real-Life Stories of Addiction and Recovery" (Hazelden), former rock 'n roll publicist Gary Stromberg and his partner, Jane Merrill, tell some of the famous folks' stories of redemption.

A PEACEFUL ADOLESCENCE

At 16, Purva Chawla holds good rankings in schooland loves competing in drama and elocution contests. The New Delhi student is "head girl" of her school and plays for the table-tennis team.

Periscope

A report bound for the U.S. Congress says Washington has underestimated China's "astonishing" recent progress in areas from nanotechnology to satellites. Written by former assistant under secretary of Defense Michael Pillsbury for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a panel set up by Congress, the report is circulating at the Pentagon, where officials plan to use it to press for stricter technology-transfer controls on China in upcoming congressional hearings.

WHO'S THE WEAKER SEX?

Men may earn more than women, run faster and buy more widescreen TVs. But when it comes to health, they trail the opposite sex in nearly every category. Stroke, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and the six other leading causes of death kill men at a higher rate than they do women.

A HEAD START ON FITNESS

Toddlers are by nature active, curious, energetic little people. They love to run, they love to dance, they love to climb. Like the rest of us, however, they live in a world of temptation: fast food, TV, videogames.

A PEACEFUL ADOLESCENCE

At 17, Amanda Hund is a straight-A student who loves competing in horse shows. The high school junior from Willmar, Minn., belongs to her school's band, orchestra and choir.

PUMP UP THE FAMILY

Bruce and Lisa Smith never skimped much on food. Chips, fried chicken, canned fruit, sodas--they ate as much as they wanted, whenever they wanted. Exercise?

HEALTH: SHEDDING LIGHT ON HOSPITALS

No one wants to trust his heart-bypass surgery to a mediocre hospital. But how do you sort the reliable ones from the rest? Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, along with the nation's major hospital groups, launched a database that offers free performance reports on more than 4,200 hospitals nationwide.

BEYOND THE BIRDS AND BEES

A few decades ago, many parents were content to let their kids learn about the birds and bees from pals on the playground. These days, smart parents know that straight talk on sex can ease some of the confusion surrounding puberty and help their kids make sound choices later on.The stakes have never been higher.

'Hot Zone II'?

Since an outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus surfaced in Angola last fall, 215 people have died. The deadly illness--first reported in Marburg, Germany, in 1967--causes high fever, liver and kidney failure and bleeding from the nose, mouth, eyes and rectum, killing nine out of every 10 victims.

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