Those worried about the state of travel and tourism these days need to look at some bare facts. According to the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR), the "naked recreation and travel" industry has grown by 233% in the past decade. In addition, some 30 new nudist or clothing-optional clubs have opened in North America in the past couple of years, Reuters says.
It's not all fun and games, however. "If you're using the barbecue grill then obviously you're going to put something on," says one participant.
In case you're interested, July 7 through 13 is Nude Recreation Week, when hundreds of clubs will suspend their admission fees in order to give the public an eyeful of what they have to offer. Mark your calendars.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Microsoft's PR Needs Flushing
- Quote of Note
- Millennium's New Drug
- Do You Know Where Your Money Should Be?
- Cisco to Expense Options?
- Discussion Board of the Day: Video & PC
- Quick Takes: Applied Materials, Federated Department Stores, Tiffany's, more
- Help Wanted
- And Finally...
Microsoft's PR Needs Flushing
It's hard to know what to believe, following what has to be one of the biggest and funniest corporate public relations nightmares ever. For nearly two weeks, the press and pundits have been yukking it up about Microsoft MSN UK's just-announced portable public toilet with wireless Internet capabilities. The WiFi potties were to be unveiled this summer, at music festivals in Britain. One could just imagine concertgoers, sweaty and beer-soaked, feeling compelled to log on before heading back out into the crowd.
Puns have been abundant, jokes have run rampant, and most of the reactions to the news registered somewhere between eww and ewwwww. It seemed from the start like something cooked up by those hilarious folks at TheOnion.com.
Then, late Monday, Microsoft confirmed that, alas, the iLoo was a joke. It was but a hoax perpetrated by those nutty Brits. News reports on the iLoo were retracted as the word spread.
But wait, Microsoft wasn't done yet. Late yesterday, it confirmed that the iLoo really was an idea in the works at MSN UK, but based on everyone's grossed-out reactions, the bigwigs in Redmond decided to kill it.
Microsoft allows its global divisions to create products tailored for their local audiences, and apparently that's what happened here. That is until someone at corporate headquarters quashed it. A spokesperson was quoted as saying that the iLoo "wasn't the best extension of our brand." Gee, ya think?
Whether you think the iLoo's a super idea, or the sickest thing you've heard in a long time, one thing can't be denied: Microsoft has some corporate communications problems. It's not surprising given its enormity, but still, if something as trivial as this can trip up the whole PR process, that's sad. And ridiculous. If anything's to be learned from this mess, it's that Microsoft needs to spend some time fixing whatever's wrong with its PR department -- before it embarrasses itself again.
Quote of Note
"All my good reading, you might say, was done in the toilet.... There are passages in Ulysses which can be read only in the toilet -- if one wants to extract the full flavor of their content." -- Henry Miller (1891–1980), U.S. author
Millennium's New Drug
A hopeful cancer drug at Millennium Pharmaceuticals
The stock is jumping partly because the approval came earlier than expected, so Millennium will book more sales on the drug -- called Velcade -- this year than ever estimated. Secondly, Velcade is in dozens of trials for various forms of cancer, with hopes that it will become a novel treatment for solid tumor cancers as well. Early results from ongoing trials will be available by June 3.
The news offers additional hope because Velcade is a novel form of treatment, called a proteasome inhibitor, that offers another way beyond chemotherapy to fight cancer. By inhibiting a cell's proteasome function, Velcade is meant to stop cell division, thereby killing a cancer cell.
Market approval has been granted for multiple myeloma patients who have failed at least two previous therapies. In phase II studies, 27.7% of late-stage cancer patients responded to Velcade, and 17.6% experienced clinical remission. Despite early market approval, Velcade's phase III trials will continue and clinical benefits will need to be reported.
Millennium's revenue could near $500 million in 2003, with under 10% of that possibly being Velcade. Sales of the drug will likely peak at around $200 million annually without further approvals for other cancers. Celgene
Management said it took four and a half years after Velcade's first human dosage for it to become a commercial drug, which compares well to the eight to nine years required for the average cancer drug. Although Velcade was discovered conventionally, it was developed with some help from genomics, supporting the hope that genomics will lead to a more efficient drug development process. Millennium has more than a dozen products in clinical trials and has modeled a breakeven financial performance in 2006.
Do You Know Where Your Money Should Be?
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Cisco to Expense Options?
"On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most conservative within the framework of GAAP, we're going to be a 10," Reuters quoted Powell as saying. We could not be more pleased. Anytime a company steps up and says that its accounting policy is going to be highly conservative, it gives us some comfort that its quality of earnings are going to be higher. And Cisco's accounting has never been egregious.
But just as certainly, Cisco's use of big bath inventory blowouts, its rabid defense of pooling for acquisitions, its pro forma shenanigans, and past non-expensing of massive stock options have conspired to make many analysts look askance at its actual earnings number.
What's that, you say? Cisco's still refusing to expense stock options? CEO John Chambers recently stated that this accounting change would send jobs overseas including, presumably, Cisco jobs? Well, how about that?
Here's the thing. The Financial Accounting Standards Board, under SFAS 123, called expensing stock options the "best practice" by companies, back in 1994. What we're discussing today is whether or not the FASB is going to strengthen this to simply requiring stock options to be expensed. But as of today, any company that is not expensing options is using something less than best practice. This includes Cisco.
Therefore, even before he starts, Powell gets to choose whether to press for the company to expense options, or he can simply be somewhere below 10. That's how the game works.
Discussion Board of the Day: Video & PC
Want to talk about the latest showcases taking place at E3? Can video consoles ever replace game play on the personal computer? Will Nintendo back out of the GameCube and stick to software and its handheld dominance? All this and more -- in the Video & PC discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Total U.S. retail purchases dipped a wee bit in April. That surprised some experts who predicted, on average, a half-percent increase. Also today, retailer Federated Department Stores
Shares of Tiffany's
In local news, the town council passed an ordinance requiring that all men over 80 years of age wear belts in addition to suspenders when crossing public streets. This is in an attempt to prevent massive traffic tie-ups like the one last Wednesday.
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