Originally created 09/26/00

In the know



TV TONIGHT:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer returns at 8 p.m. on the WB. In the season opener, Buffy is powerless against Dracula (Rudolf Martin), who turns Xander into one of his minions. In a subplot, Giles considers a return to England.

ON THE ROAD:

Aging baby boomers who once dreamed of bumming their way cross-country as Jack Kerouac did now are discovering the RV. The average age of RV owners has dropped to 48 while ownership has climbed to an all-time high at 9.5 million, according to the Reston, Va.-based Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.

TEENS PREFER:

The unofficial school uniforms for teen-age boys and girls this year came from Tommy Hilfiger, Old Navy, Nike, Gap and Polo-Ralph Lauren.

They are the top five brands for back-to-school shopping, according to the 2000 American Express Retail Index. Girls chose Gap as their favorite, while boys picked Nike.

Teen-agers' preference for athletic-sporty styles helped push Nike into the index's most-popular category for the first time. Most students surveyed said their fashion choices were most influenced by personal taste, not sports figures or celebrities.

A separate survey by Zandl Group Consumer Panel showed that Levi and Tommy Hilfiger are the favorite brands of jeans for high school students, both selected by 9 percent, and Levi Strauss is the top brand for college students, chosen by 12 percent. Its closest competitor, Gap, with was favored by 7 percent.

POST EMILY POST:

Don't think for one moment that society's dos and don'ts don't change. Here, for example, is a bit of advice from Emily Post's "The Etiquette of Smoking," which appeared in Good Housekeeping magazine in September 1940: "There are certain regulations of propriety that well-bred smokers are expected to observe. A sickroom visitor does not smoke unless the patient suggests it or is smoking herself; a woman does not yet smoke on the street; and a bride abstains from smoking while she has her wedding veil on."

RUB-A-DUB-DUB:

Washing your hands frequently still is good manners, Good Housekeeping says, but it is not enough. To avoid catching someone else's cold, you have to dry your hands well, too. Some viruses may still remain on hands after washing, requiring the mechanical action of drying to remove them. In a public restroom, Good Housekeeping says, use paper towels instead of an air dryer, and at home, assign everyone a hand towel because active viruses can survive up to three hours on cloth.