Oprah Winfrey kicked off 2009 by disclosing the fact that she had fallen off the overeating wagon and once again had hit 200 pounds. Just as Winfrey was making her announcement,Bob Greenes new book,The Best Life Diet Cookbook,and the second edition of his earlier bestseller,The Best Life Diet,were hitting shelves.
Greene is trying to promote his diet books as the whole world marvels over how much weight his star client has gained.
Everyone knows she follows my plan,but when she doesnt,she gains weight,and when she does,its the only thing that works for her, said Greene,who has staked a good chunk of his professional reputation on his star clients waistline. His empire includes not just diet books and fitness videos but endorsement deals with a raft of food brands.
Greene has made so much money from his Best Life franchise and his Best Life Seal of Approval that he no longer even charges Winfrey for his services.
And Winfreys struggle with yo-yo dieting only seems to endear her to fans who tend to empathise with her plight.
A classical rock star
Violinist Joshua Bell was one of Peoples 50 Most Beautiful People in the World (in 2000). But thats far from Bells only big moment in the pop spotlight. He has been featured in a film (The Red Violinist),got a Grammy,and won just about every industry prize within the classical field. And his most popular album,Romance of the Violin,went platinum.
Bell plays a $4 million fiddle,a prized Stradivarius violin,dubbed the Gibson ex Huberman. And he plays it in the subway: In a now-famous experiment for a Washington Post story,Bell agreed to pose as a regular street musician and play his violin at a subway stop in Washington. Writer Gene Weingarten won a Pulitzer for the piece. Bell collected $32.17 in change from commuters,who generally didnt take notice.
The mall guardians
Suddenly,the undervalued figure of the mall guard finds himself in demand in the entertainment industry.
The Columbia Pictures comedy,Paul Blart: Mall Cop,surprised Hollywood by opening at No. 1 at the box office,taking in $39.2 million in its first four days of release. That figure places the movie,which stars the rotund comedian Kevin James as a clumsy guard,in the category of bona fide hit.
In April,Seth Rogen (of Knocked Up and Pineapple Express) will assume the role of retail protector in the Warner Brothers comedy Observe and Report,in which he plays a frustrated mall cop who must team up with a high-strung detective,played by Goodfellas star Ray Liotta.
And last week,Fox network ordered a pilot episode for Walorsky,a television comedy about a former police officer turned shopping mall guard who is charged with training a new recruit.
Though these projects take different approaches to the quiet heroism of retail security,they collectively suggest that there is something irresistible and endlessly versatile about the American mall.