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mkesterton@globeandmail.com

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The original shopaholic?

A British doctor's wife who enjoyed shopping so much she collected more than 1,000 dresses has been honoured in a Liverpool gallery, Nigel Bunyan reports in The Daily Telegraph. Emily Tinne amassed the collection of dresses, coats and hats between the two world wars - yet wore hardly any of them. Instead, she kept them in wardrobes and later relegated them to 52 tea chests stored in the attic of her Victorian villa. Ms. Tinne was such an avid follower of fashion that she was even known to buy several identical copies of the same garment. The youngest of her seven children, Dr. Alexine Tinne, has now donated the collection to the city's Sudley House gallery. "She was definitely a shopaholic. She went every day; it was an obsession for her." Dr. Tinne added: "It was more the buying than the wearing that she enjoyed. I think she just liked the idea of having lovely things. If you look at photos of my mother you can see she was often very drab. She wore black an awful lot." She believes her mother saw shopping as "a form of philanthropy" during the Depression, when shop assistants were paid commission rather than a salary.

Eternal optimist

A woman in Indiana who has been single for 12 years after 23 marriages told Gannett News Service in February that she hasn't ruled out getting married again. Linda Lou Taylor, 68, who holds a Guinness World Record as the most married woman in history, said two of her husbands turned out to be gay, two ended up homeless, a few cheated on her, one choked her and another padlocked the refrigerator shut. However, "I would get married again," she said, "because, you know, it gets lonely."

Greener than thou

"Protecting the environment is seen as a liberal cause, but new research suggests that it may be just as much a 'limousine liberal' cause," Kevin Lewis writes in The Boston Globe. "Researchers were tipped off by surveys showing that people bought the Toyota Prius primarily because it made a personal statement, not because of environmental conservation. This led the researchers [at the University of Minnesota]to theorize that so-called green products allow people to signal not only their altruism but their ability to afford altruism. In other words, green products are now status symbols. In several experiments, people who first read a short story that primed thoughts about status competition were then more likely to prefer a green product. However, when status was taken out of the equation - by telling people that they'd be shopping in private or that the green product was cheaper - people were actually somewhat less likely to prefer the green product. These findings imply that marketers should sell green products as a form of luxury, rather than as a form of charity."

World o' cheese

"The moon isn't made of it, and it doesn't give you nightmares, but cheese is as old as civilization itself and probably comes in more varieties than any other food," Britain's Mail on Sunday reported last year. "There are 400 different types of French cheese alone. In fact, cheese is such an integral part of the Western diet that there's even a name for someone who passionately loves cheese - turophile ... Conversely, someone who fears cheese is said to have turophobia."

Gold bars? Or coins?

Gold coin production is being cranked up in mints around the world to serve customers who believe gold assets may be immune to the global financial crisis, The Independent on Sunday reports. "Wealthy investors are more likely to invest in bars than coins as the premium for production costs is lower ... Coins have the edge for small investors who want flexibility and appreciate their aesthetic allure."

Hello. I'm dead

"With online social networks becoming ever more important in our lives, they're also becoming an important element in our deaths," Peter Svensson reports in the Los Angeles Times. "... There's even a tiny industry that has sprung up to help people wrap up their online contacts after their deaths." He cites:

Deathswitch, a site set up by David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. For $20 (U.S.) a year, people can set up e-mails that will be sent out automatically if they don't check in at intervals they specify, such as once a week. Members can create up to 30 e-mails with attachments such as video files.

Slightly Morbid. This site also sends out e-mails when a member dies, but doesn't rely on their logging in periodically while they're alive. Instead, members have to give trusted friends or family members the information needed to log into the site and start the notification process if something should happen.

Legacy Locker. A similar site launched this month that will charge $30 a year and will require a copy of a death certificate before releasing information.

Thought du jour

"The vast wasteland of TV is not interested in producing a better mousetrap but in producing a worse mouse."

- Laurence C. Coughlin

 

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