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Now Hear This: People, Trends and Ideas

A man and his guitar, hospital couture, and foreign affairs seniors

A Man and His Guitar

Eight years ago, a crook gave musician Doug Duncan the blues by stealing his vintage guitar. Today, Duncan, now in his mid-50s, is singing a new tune since finding his Gibson Les Paul Special on eBay. Duncan never lost hope of recovering the 1957 guitar after it was stolen from his Minnesota home. He signed up to get e-mail notifications when similar guitars went on the block. After Duncan recognized the serial number, he contacted the police. Duncan's insurance company technically owns the guitar, worth about $17,000, because it had replaced the instrument.

Hospital Couture

Traditional hospital gowns — with their flesh-exposing flaps and flimsy feel — may soon be replaced by a splash of haute couture. The Cleveland Clinic is testing new gowns designed by fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg, 63. The unisex prototypes can be worn with the opening in the back or front, and provide complete coverage. "We believe that providing our patients with a comfortable, stylish hospital gown that helps to improve dignity will improve the overall hospital experience," says executive liaison Jeanne Ryan.

Foreign Affairs

If Foreign Service officers can't work at the State Department after they turn 65, why is it that Hillary Clinton could? Because the mandatory retirement age rule doesn't apply to the secretary of state or ambassadors, among others. However, it does cover officers like Elizabeth Colton, 65, who has filed a lawsuit calling the requirement unconstitutional. The Foreign Service Act of 1980 sets the retirement age but allows for extensions, a State Department spokesman says.

Mike Tucker is a writer in Virginia.