Magazine

Rodin And Claudel


Airline flights are one of the few situations where you find yourself wedged against a total stranger for hours at a time. It might as well be someone you like. With that in mind, a new Web site, AirTroductions.com, aims to match like-minded fliers for business networking, book discussions, romance -- whatever it is you want from a seatmate.

To get started, you'll need to fill out a short form that includes your bio as well as preferences on topics such as hotels (Holiday Inn or Four Seasons?) and clothes (Prada or Levi's?). Once you have a ticket, enter your flight data to see who is signed up on the site for the same flight. You'll pay $5 if you contact anyone. Then you'll need to ask the airline to put you in adjoining seats. Less than 1,000 people are registered, so chances are slim you'll find someone on your flight. But if the idea catches on, it may be the end of the seatmate from hell.

If you've got a charitable remainder trust (CRT) or are planning to set one up, be careful: A recent Internal Revenue Service ruling may put the generous tax breaks that come with a CRT at risk. The problem? At least 18 states -- including Virginia, Michigan, and New Jersey -- allow spouses to override your will and instead take a set share of your estate, including the CRT. The best way to protect the trust's tax benefits? Get your spouse to sign a legal document waiving his or her right to the portion of the trust that's designated for charity -- and that earned you a charitable deduction.

For trusts launched after June 27, there's another wrinkle: Your spouse must sign that waiver within six months of the date your trust's tax return is due for the year in which you either marry or move to a state that lets spouses tap these trusts. Miss that deadline, and you lose the trust's charitable deduction, warns Don Weigandt, a Los Angeles-based managing director at JPMorgan (JPM) Private Bank. Moreover, your trust will owe tax on all its profits, he adds.

With studies suggesting the antioxidants in dark chocolate can fight diseases, confectioners want you to think it's like broccoli. Now, Hershey's is launching Extra Dark bars whose wrappers feature a "Natural Source of Flavanol Antioxidants" seal. But dark chocolate often has high sugar and fat, so "it's not like broccoli, which you can eat twice a day," says Jeffrey Blumberg, a Tufts University nutrition professor.

From the brief but passionate late 19th century love affair of artists Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel came great sculpture -- and, now, an intriguing art exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts (dia.org). "Fateful Encounter," running from Oct. 9 to Feb. 5, features more than 130 works by the two artists, along with more than 50 letters and photographs that show how their personal lives influenced their art. The exhibition was organized by Quebec City's Museum of Fine Arts with the Rodin Museum in Paris.


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