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Between the lines

Between the lines

Mob daddy or daddy's mob?

Who should have more life insurance--Tony Soprano or Mike Brady?

While one in four TV viewers say the mob boss needs more "protection" given his nefarious lifestyle, an expert says the 1970s sitcom dad's large brood actually makes his coverage needs greater.

"How risky your job is really has nothing to do with how much life insurance you need," says Brian Ashe, president of Brian Ashe & Associates Ltd. in Lisle, Ill., and immediate past president of the Washington-based Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education, which backed the survey of popular TV dads' life insurance needs to illustrate how much coverage people really need.

The Sept. 7-10 poll of 1,019 U.S. adults rated "The Sopranos" lead as No. 1 in need of cover, chosen by 25%, ahead of fellow TV dads Homer Simpson of "The Simpsons," 17%; Cliff Huxtable of "The Cosby Show," 12%; Ray Barone of "Everybody Loves Raymond," 12%; and "The Brady Bunch" papa, 10%.

"It's really surprising that Americans ranked Mike the lowest because if there ever was someone who needed a lot of life insurance, it's him," Mr. Ashe said.

"Mike is the sole breadwinner for a family of eight and his income also supports Alice, a full-time housekeeper," Mr. Ashe said.

Some 23% of poll respondents said they either did not know or none of the paternal characters had the greatest life insurance needs.

Heel to toe

North Shore Animal League America, which bills itself as the world's largest no-kill pet rescue and adoption organization, is pairing up with a leading diet firm to promote man's best friend in the battle against obesity.

The Port Washington, N.Y., animal shelter and Weight Watchers International Inc. are co-sponsoring "Adopt a Walking Buddy" Oct. 27-29 to encourage fall and winter adoptions while saving the lives of homeless pets.

"Science has shown that consistent activity is a key tool in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, therefore adopting a dog is one of the most effective ways to achieve consistent exercise," the shelter's promotional materials point out.

But folks considering this alternative to the gym are advised to steer clear of those pocket-size pooches whose little legs may not be able to maintain a brisk enough clip.

Instead, the shelter suggests a medium or large breed and advises new owners to start out slow just in case their newly adopted best friend was once a couch potato, too.

Illicit pick-me-up

A growing number of U.K. workers may have found a way to beat that late-afternoon slump: Positive tests for cocaine use have soared 3,000% during the past decade.

The findings are based on 480,000 drug tests performed since 1996 on U.K. workers across a variety of professions by Medscreen Ltd., a London-based drug testing lab.

Overall, more than 5% of U.K. workers are now failing drug tests, Medscreen has found.

The company, which handles about half of all workplace drug tests performed in the United Kingdom, also reported 7,000 positive test results during 2005 for traces of heroin, cannabis, ecstasy and other illegal recreational drugs.