Friday, June 25, 2010

Better than Ambien or a Kick in the Head

How much does it cost to get a really good night’s sleep?   Right now it’s $33,000, but if you wait til next year, it's $44 grand.  That’s the hand-tufted, king-size Palais Royale mattress and box spring from E.S. Kluft and Co., the most expensive  made in America.

It's even got a fancy Wedgewood label printed in the center. 

But the Europeans got one better.   For $69,500 (below)—roughly the price of a Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid SUV—the Vividus, made by Hastens in Sweden--takes 160 hours to assemble by hand.

What’s going on?  All of a sudden there’s a run on out-of-this-world mattresses?   Who knew?

There's a mattress store on every corner next to a nails’ salon, but Earl Kluft, chief executive of E.S. Kluft, will have none of that.  He says it takes 10 craftsmen 3 days to make Palais Royale, which contain 10 layers and more than 10 pounds of cashmere, mohair, silk and New Zealand wood that has been washed, dried, and crimped.

Their customers swear by them, say it’s like sleeping on air.

Funny thing is, there’s not a single study that gives any conclusive evidence of what surface is better for the most productive sleep.  It simply has to do with individual preference.

Industry rivals agree.   Rick Anderson from Tempur-Pedic International, Inc. claims, “Hand-made doesn’t mean better sleep…  I think you have to look for meaningful differences.”

Basically speaking, the more stuff they pack inside, the higher the quality.

But one study did find that people who purchased new mattresses slept better than those on old ones. This meant ANY new mattress purchased, not just top-of-the-line, which might explain why unhappy customers are rare.

However, the price is also part of the appeal.  It separates the hand-made mattress from the pack, makes it special, unique, and demonstrates its scarcity.   As Mr. Kluft maintains, “You spend more time on your bed than anywhere else.”

Well… maybe.  I guess... 

Let me sleep on it and I'll let you know.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Don't Sweat the Fat... Not all of it

We've heard it all before and keep listening ad nauseam: Work out daily, eat fiber, stay away from salt, fatty foods, McDonald’s, Krispy Kreme, Ben and Jerry’s, potato chips, and your mother’s desserts.

But guess what?  A body of research is beginning to show that people may actually be healthier with a few added pounds.

Can you hear me out there?  I'm not talking about another cup of cottage cheese.  There’s scientific evidence that says ten to to fifteen pounds is good for your health!   According to the Wall Street Journal those carrying a little excess have no greater risk of dying from heart disease or cancer than those of “normal” weight.

And if that’s doesn’t make you smile, here’s more.  The extra padding might actually strengthen your bones and make you look younger!

Hold on.  Be back in a minute.  Just scurrying into the kitchen to pick up a snack.  Not much in the refrigerator.  Damn, need to get to the store.  Oh here's some dark grapes, a little Swiss cheese, and some yogurt that's supposed to taste like red velvet cake--it doesn't--and then back to my desk.

Gulped some water.  No calories there.  So as I was saying...

Experts, of course, recognize that obesity is a serious health issue and a major crisis in our country today, but there's a difference between carrying added poundage and becoming obese.

“Just because someone is slightly overweight doesn’t mean they’re not healthy,” says, Keri Gans, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Many doctors now believe that exercise and healthy eating can matter more than numbers on a scale.
So go ahead and jiggle in your jeans without all the guilt.  People in their 70s, who are a little overweight, have a reduced chance of dying than those that are thinner.  And with fuller faces, they often look younger too.

Beatrice Golomb, a medical researcher and regular chocolate eater commented on a study that shows a link between chocolate consumption and mood. “I tell all my patients: Chocolate is a vegetable.”

And hey, who doesn’t love their vegetables?                                

I say, eat and enjoy, and save those green beans for breakfast.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Longevity Don't Mean a Thing: Helen Thomas and the Gores

Last week Helen Thomas, a legend amongst the president’s press corps, offered a public opinion about the Jews that blew her career out of the ball park.   When asked by a rabbi for a comment about Israel, she said they should “get the hell out of Palestine.”

“Where should they go?”
“Poland, Germany…”

She was fired yesterday, and her iconic, fifty-plus year career ended abruptly.  It was over.  Kaput.

John Stewart said they gave her empty chair to Elijah.

Yeah, we can joke about it, but as reporter Justin Quinn writes: her comments underscore what her readers already knew: that she’s an anti-Semite with a Palestinian agenda.

And this wasn’t her first time, or the tenth.  

But Thomas wasn't just your average hate-mongering reporter with a press pass. The very idea that she was part of the press corps with a front row seat to the president meant she represented the mainstream media.

Yeah, her mouth’s about as mainstream as Hamas and the late Yasser Arafat.

So maybe things will be a little saner around theWhite House, and it’ll be nice having Elijah for a change.   He’s a quiet man and keeps to himself.

But things haven’t gone any better in the romance department. Al and Tipper Gore announced that after forty years of marriage, they're separating.

Big surprise, and then what the hell.

Of course the media played that big smoochy kiss from the 2000 Democratic Convention ad nauseam.   Bill Mahr said he wished they’d find something else to run.   It was interfering with his erections.

And to make matters worse, Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow reported that divorces amongst those married thirty to forty years are becoming routine.

“People are living longer… and are less willing to spend their last decades with someone who leaves them unfulfilled. … At the same time women are less dependent on husbands for financial support… and men have Viagra.”

Communication also breaks down over time.  In a British study it was found that those married one year talked forty minutes during an hour long dinner.  By twenty years, it’s 21 minutes, at 30, it’s down to 16, and at 50 years, it’s only 3 minutes.

Yeow!  Almost forty years for us, and we're still yakking!

When the Gores were making out during the 2000 convention, many of us wondered if something was wrong with our marriages, but psychiatrist Mark Goulston states: “Just as the truest form of philanthropy is to do it anonymously, the truest form of deep affection is to do it privately.”

But then I got to thinking about Mr. Inconvenient Truth.   How long can anyone listen to his repetitive, sleep-inducing, beyond boring monotone?  Viagra or not, who can get turned on?

I say, Tipper get out while you can.  It’ll only get better from here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Case for Fergie

I know you're all thinking, who gives a rat’s ass about Fergie?  The woman's a fool, an embarrassment to the world.  Without a dime to her name, she takes 50,000 pound shopping sprees, flies around the world first class, stays at top hotels.

Now she's caught making a deal to sell access to her former husband, Prince Andrew in order to raise needed cash, like 500,000 pounds or $720,000 grand.

She’s made her own bed, so let her lie in it.

Except there’s more to these wrinkled sheets than you might think.

After Fergie divorced Andrew in 1996, she wanted to keep civil ties to the royal family so she accepted a meager settlement of 15,000 pounds a year.

That's $21,600.

Is this a sick joke or something?

What was she thinking?  The royals hate her anyway, and who can survive on nothing?  But she tried and now royally failed.

Yesterday she starred on Oprah, confessing, apologizing—you know the routine.

And okay, I fell for it.

Her mother left her at 13, and the Windsors of England, that goofy, homey bunch, are as warm as a as an icicle coated icebox in Siberia.

So maybe Andrew could bail out his ex?   They’re still very close.

After the divorce, the couple continued to live in Sunningdale Park, their marital home until Andrew sold it to Kazakh, an oil-rich Arab for a stunning profit of twenty million. The man knowingly overpaid to buy influence into the royal family.  Later Kazakh also gave Andrew a house in Abu Dhabi.

Did I hear right? Forget about Fergie selling access to her ex.

Are you aware that the Arabs have purchased the prince, heart, body, and soul? 
This only pads Andrew annual allowance of $358,560 that he receives from his mother compared to Fergie’s $21,600.  You think there's a little sexual bias going on?  

Like I said, the Duchess is in deep you-know-what, and it would be a dream if Andrew would charge up the hill on his pure white horse and write a fat juicy check in his ex-wife’s name.

But Prince Charming doesn’t sound like he’s got the courage to get his ass in the saddle, much less rescue the duchess.

He’s been bought and paid for every step of the way while Fergie’s hawked Weight Watchers, Avon, Wedgwood China, her children’s books, and signed up with the Washington Speakers’ Bureau.

She’s got guts in her belly, fire, no fear, working to support herself, and paying the bills.  Okay, she tried, failed, and did something incredibly stupid.

But in my book that’s better than doing nothing at all.