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Blue Suede Wingtips


It would pay to hit the gas if you're going to buy a hybrid, especially a Toyota (TM). Federal tax credits, which amount to as much as $3,150 for the hot Toyota Prius and $2,600 for the new Camry, will soon be phased out under a formula based on a company's total hybrid sales since Jan. 1, 2006. Toyota, which controls about 70% of the U.S. hybrid market, will be hit first: It expects the tax break on its models to be cut in half after Sept. 30, by 75% next April, and to end by fall 2007. Ford Motor (F), Honda Motor (HMC), and other carmakers sell fewer hybrids than Toyota, so credits on their models should last through 2007 or later.

Of course, Congress could extend the credits, a move favored by both the President and environmentalists. But there's no guarantee. The credits represent 12% and 9% of the average sales price of Prius and Camry, respectively, according to the Power Information Network (MHP), even including the premium some dealers are charging for top-selling models.

It's a marriage made in Vegas: Cirque du Soleil and the Beatles. On June 30, Love, a dance and acrobatic extravaganza set to the music of the Fab Four, will premiere at the Mirage Las Vegas. The $130 million production has the blessing of the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as widows Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, all of whom are expected to attend the gala opening. Tickets for regular performances run from $69 to $150 (cirquedusoleil.com).

Beatles producer George Martin, 80, and his son Giles, 36, supervised the music, digitally mixing 130 of the group's songs, which will be blasted through 6,000 speakers, three per seat. Cirque's riff on the lads from Liverpool includes performers on skates jumping off ramps to the sound of Help, a hip-hop Lady Madonna, and a red-headed aerialist named Lucy performing stunts in the sky wearing an outfit with diamond patterns. In Here Comes the Sun, four women hanging from a lighted globe hold yoga poses while beneath them other troupers demonstrate Kama Sutra moves, clad in hippie-style smocks. That should heat things up a bit.

Guaranteed to bring back memories of your youth, this computer bag is made from the same leather as Rawlings baseball gloves. It even has the brand embossed on the flap of the outside organizer pocket. The zippered compartment has a removable cradle to protect your computer, holding it an inch off the bottom of the bag. Hand lacing on the handle completes the look. You may not cherish it as much as your first glove, but you'll probably use it more often. It's $345 at sportsaccessories.com.

For years, Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp has offered dentists, accountants, and anyone with a spare $8,500 a chance to play some power chords with stars such as The Who vocalist Roger Daltrey and Allman Brothers sideman Dickey Betts. You just had to quit your day job (well, for five days) and go to New York or Los Angeles. Now, the camp will bring the tour bus to your corporate headquarters. These one- to three-day mini-camps are sure to get things rockin' at company retreats (rockandrollfantasycamp.com).


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