People Watching
By Joan Caplin; Judy Feldman; Megan Johnston; Tara Kalwarski; Stephanie D. Smith

(MONEY Magazine) – LISA FERNANDEZ Long Beach, Calif. The two-time Olympic gold medalist in softball will try for a hat trick in Athens. The 33-year-old pitcher has also set up an international amateur softball tournament for more than 3,000 girls ages 10 to 18: "I want girls to have a league of their own." A bigger potential score? Attracting college scholarships for players.

BRUCE KARATZ Los Angeles Karatz's KB Home is one of the largest home builders--and the only one to have built a life-size replica of Homer Simpson's house. CEO Karatz, 58, had a great first quarter: Net income rose 40% from a year ago. Is this a bubble? "No. Historically, median prices across the U.S. have never gone down year to year."

THE SOCK PUPPET Overland Park, Kans. Okay, it's a sock, not a person, but its return as a pitch puppet--now for 1-800-BAR-NONE ("Everyone deserves a second chance!")--is a coup for Brian Hakan, whose licensing firm secured rights to the cotton critter after's 2001 bankruptcy for a reported $125,000. Hakan's now talking a TV show.

ELIZABETH FALKNER San Francisco When legislation passed legalizing gay weddings in California, Falkner's Citizen Cake patisserie saw a 50% surge in wedding-cake sales for impromptu same-sex ceremonies. "We're in close proximity to city hall," says Falkner, 38, who made the wedding cake for the first gay couple married in San Fran.

CHRIS LAHIJI Santa Monica, Calif. Last September, Lahiji, all of 20, became co-manager of one of the worst small-cap funds ever, Frontier Equity. He's up 19.2% to the Russell 2000's 10.2%, nudging total returns since the fund's 1992 inception from -97.2% to (drum roll) -96.7%. Lahiji got the job after a virtual portfolio he ran gained 170%.

SHARON YOUNG Kansas City, Mo. An M.B.A. project evolved into a full-time gig designing and selling campaign buttons at Young, 45, never got the degree, but business is booming. Hot now: FREE MARTHA buttons ($5). And sales of political buttons? Bulk campaign buys are favoring Democrats over Republicans by at least 2 to 1.