Cars, Dress Your Desk, Bad Breath, For Those Who Have Everything, and The Internet

New cars: What the critics say


Audi’s upmarket S5, brandishing “sportier suspension, high-performance brakes, and 18-inch wheels,” is essentially a soupedup version of the A5. The 354-hp V8 takes this awesome coupe from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. But Audi insists the S5 is “built more for luxury and comfort than speed,” and is essentially a touring car with a generous trunk that can easily accommodate a set of clubs.

Motor Trend

Audi boasts this is “the most beautiful car” it’s ever designed. Going head to head with BMW’s 3 Series and 6 Series models, the S5 employs both “automatic hill-holding and electronic parking-brake” systems. Design details include “more aggressive fascias,” lowered suspension, and quad tailpipes. The Smart Key updates “vital information about the car every time it’s used.”

Car & Driver

The S5 has sex appeal in spades, with a “big grille, rakish roofline, and artfully sculpted character lines” that will make heads spin. The four-wheel Quattro drive system is standard, and the low-slung frame is as “rock solid” and buttoned down as a Mercedes. We hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, and ripped through the quarter- mile in 13.4 seconds at 105 mph.

The best ... Ways to Dress Up Your Desk

Twisted Bacbac magazine basket

To keep your work surface clear of clutter, “use a deep basket as a trash can or a place to hold magazines and catalogues.” This warm, naturally colored basket tucks away easily beneath the smallest of desks. Price: $30. Contact: Crateandbarrel.com Source: Real Simple

A Dozen Pencils

Japanese designer Yuta Watanabe has invented a collection that acts as functional art. Pencils adorned with everything from wire springs to teeth marks can turn the office into an allplay, no-work atmosphere Price: $165 Contact: Yutawatanabe.com Source: Wallpaper

‘Wiggle’ chair

Frank Gehry’s corrugated-cardboard chair is surprisingly “sturdy and comfortable.” Intricately layered, the chair may be whimsical in design but has been tested to hold thousands of pounds. Price: $875 Contact: Vitra.com Source: Domino

Form-matic Scissors by Susan Verheijen

Danish designer Susan Verheijen makes the ordinary extraordinary, not to mention all-purpose. Her stainless steel scissors can manage just about anything. Price: From $175 Contact: Susanverheijen.nl/ index.html Source: Wallpaper

Parsons console table

Transform a decorative hall table into a valuable workspace. Available in a variety of colors from pistachio to robin’segg blue, the table can illuminate a room and liven up a drab office. Price: $484 Contact: House eclectic.com Source: Real Simple

Tip of the week ... banish bad breath

When you can no longer stand the taste of Altoids, try these all-natural remedies to rid yourself of that uninviting odor.

Chew on fennel seeds to stimulate saliva production, which is “key for stopping bad breath.” You should see an immediate difference if you pop a “small handful after a pungent meal.”

Befriend bacteria. A probiotics supplement, such as acidophilus, “can restore your body’s balance of good bugs and bad bugs.” You can also add yogurt or other fermented foods to your daily diet.

Treat your tongue to “one or two drops” of peppermint or cinnamon essential oil. This trick comes in especially handy to “wipe out stinky sulfur compounds” left behind by garlic or onions. Source: Body + Soul

And for those who have everything …

Oral-B’s Triumph with SmartGuide will trick you into brushing your teeth by making the process more interactive. The head of the toothbrush wirelessly communicates with an LCD display to show total brushing time and whether the user is brushing too hard. A smiley face appears after two minutes, and the smile grows wider as you brush longer. “It’s an odd little video game you play every day,” addicting but in a good way. Price: $150 Contact: Oralb.com Source: Popular Mechanics

The Internet ... tracking your flights

Many airline Web sites now update travelers on itinerary changes via e-mail or text message. Do these services work?

Delta.com provides the best updates of any airline site, providing “day-before reminders and frequent updates during the flight.”

Continental.com and American.com both are “good,” but not great. The former allows you to track airborne flights you might be waiting for, while, in our test, the latter “kept up with three different gate changes.”

Southwest.com and Northwest.com both have serious problems. The former provided updates slowly and withheld important gate information. The latter was sometimes actually wrong, though apparently a better service exists for frequent fliers.

Flightstats.com, an independent site, actually provides updates that are more frequent and accurate than many airlines’ own sites. Source: The Wall Street Journal


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