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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Et Cetera

word of mouth

Carol Meyer believes that our breath speaks volumes -- and that too many of us are publishing bad news. To remedy this, the New York dental hygienist has launched the world's first personal breath consultancy, offering "breath makeovers" to nervous career types and anxious lovers for only $125 per session.

Most of her clients are Wall Street traders, brokers on the floor braying prices all day. When their buildup of stress, bad coffee, gobbled pastry and nicotine reaches critical mass, Meyer steps in with her high-tech panoply: a gas sensor and a computerized gum thermometer, which detect sulphur compounds produced by bacteria.

A reading of 175 is normal (why not try it at home with the family gas sensor?), but anything over 200 calls for the big guns: tongue scrapers, bacteria bombs, and a bracing rinse. Gift certificates are available for those wanting to send a message to that special someone.

court of opinion

A courtroom in New York is currently debating one of the finer points of philosophical inquiry: What is the difference between trash and sludge? Millions of dollars hang in the balance.

Publishing giant Random House is suing literary giant Joan ("I Chew Scenery for Fun and Profit") Collins, demanding she return a $1.2 million advance paid to her for two manuscripts the publisher claims are unusable -- even as books by Joan Collins. The actress is countersuing, however, demanding $3.6 million for her works "A Ruling Passion" and "Hell Hath No Fury."

Random House churlishly asserts that the manuscripts are "incomplete and in need of a lot of rewriting." Collins, who has made TV-friendly appearances at the courtroom every day, ripostes that she "expected to get extensive assistance from her editors," so they should make with the blue pencils and pay her already. An anxious world awaits the verdict.

lip service

Have you given your heart, your soul, your ATM access number to your beloved? Looking for another proof of your passion for St. Valentine's Day? Why not give them your lips -- in bronze, pursed lightly, cradled in a velvet pouch?

London sculptor Judy Wiseman is offering lip-bronzing kits for lovers (or secret admirers, perhaps): a plastic tub, a packet of powdered dental modelling paste, and a cloth for cleaning up afterwards. You pucker, press, then mail the mold to her studio, where, for ?85, she will cast it in bronze and send it back.

Wiseman is one of several London artists specializing in molded body parts: Kate Braine, for example, models breasts -- often in chocolate -- while Philip Rose advertises that he will cast any body part in rubber. All draw on the work of one of the founders of the genre -- the legendary "Cynthia Plastercaster," the Sixties artist/groupie who modelled the, er, instruments of her favorite rock stars.

virtual sex, actual divorce

Where sexual congress goes, legislation follows.

Until now, even those afflicted with breath readings of 200-plus could engage in the joys of "cybersex" without worrying about such trifles as looks, compatibility, availability, physical presence -- or spouses.

But now a New Jersey man has filed for divorce from his wife, charging her with adultery via modem.

John Goydan accused his wife of exchanging sexually explicit e-mail messages with a married man whom she met on-line. The man, identified in court papers by his on-line moniker, "The Weasel," was allegedly arranging an old-fashioned flesh-and-blood tryst with Goydan's wife before the electronic chicanery was discovered. The wife had trashed the passionate pulsations, but Goydan was able to retrieve them from the computer and print them for the judge.

Now the case has taken another turn: What rights do spouses have to each other's communications? Watchdogs for computer rights say Goydan may be totally off-line if he went rummaging through her private e-mail account. But if it was a shared account, or a shared computer, he may be in the clear. Needless to say, they recommend stricter laws on the subject.

Let Me Count the Ways

Then again, the law seems to provide scope already for regulating intimate matters. Just ask Rex and Teresa LeGalley of Albuquerque, whose 16-page pre-nuptial agreement covers everything from the frequency of sex to the brand of gasoline to be used in the family car.

The agreement, on file in the Bernalillo County courthouse, calls for "healthy sex" three to five times a week ("unhealthy sex" is apparently given a freer rein), strict bedtimes (11:30 each night), proper fuel maintenance ("we promise never to allow the fuel gauge to drop below half a tank" and "to use Chevron unleaded"), and the establishment of a family hierarchy (Rex is assigned full responsibility for "leadership and decision-making").

The couple, who work together in retail marketing, say the pact reflects modern reality, with professional people too busy to slowly work out matters in a long courtship. Instead, they hammered out the agreement in a series of intense negotiations.

And the sexual requirements? Rex, 39, said he inserted that clause to emphasize the importance of sex in his life. As for Teresa, 31, her husband said it protects her from more extreme sexual demands.

But what if she has a modem?

-- Compiled by