Magazine

Bowled Over In Detroit


For some, shoveling snow is nothing more than a brisk morning workout. But for many others, all that bending, lifting, and twisting may lead to back problems -- or worse. Not with this weird-looking snow shovel. Wovel (rhymes with shovel) is the latest in ergonomic shovels that make moving the white stuff easier on your body.

It has the usual handle and blade, but in between is a wheel three feet in diameter that turns the Wovel into a seesaw. That lets you use your body weight rather than muscle power to throw slush and snow. The polypropylene blade measures more than two feet wide and will hold up to 60 lbs. It's $120, plus $20 shipping, at wovel.com.

Now that companies must deduct the cost of employee stock options from earnings on their income statements, many businesses are highlighting in their quarterly earnings releases an unofficial, or "pro forma," version that ignores those pesky costs. Some are going further. Tech companies Entegris (ENTG) and Linear Technology (LLTC) each show numbers on their releases that ignore the cost of restricted stock, too.

With restricted stock grants growing -- up 13% for Standard & Poor's 500 (MHP)-stock index companies in 2004 and 74% in 2003 -- more may adopt this practice, says Jack Ciesielski, publisher of The Analyst's Accounting Observer. That would make comparing pro forma and past results difficult. Steve Cantor, Entegris director of investor relations, says his company issued a lot of restricted shares to retain executives following a recent merger. The expense "was large and unique enough that we wanted to call it out," he says. Linear's chief financial officer, Paul Coghlan, says the company's pro forma earnings illustrate the impact on earnings of new accounting rules that cover stock options and restricted stock.

Who needs football? The Detroit Institute of Arts (dia.org) is kicking off its own Super Bowl event a week before the gridiron spectacular comes to the Motor City. The multimedia show, which runs through Apr. 30, features prints, drawings, and photographs of bowls along with a variety of three-dimensional objects, including tureens and vases. Best of all: no beer commercials.


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