HIGHTOWER: Redefining Luxury

Time for another peek into the Lifestyles of the Rich ... and Cranky.Today we visit the world of the incredibly rich, the absurdly rich ... the insanely rich. We're talking more money than brain cells. But, alas, everyone is a millionaire now, and there are frowns on a lot of rich faces these days, because it's hard to stand out. You go to the spa in your pearl white Rolls Royce and the parking lot is filled with them. Yes, you have a house the size of North Dakota, but there's another one next door the size of South Dakota. How special does that make you feel?Luckily, luxury is being redefined in what some call "the celebrity economy." USA Today reports that the new thing is not to have stuff (everyone has stuff) -- but to have a one-of-a-kind experience, preferably involving someone more or less famous. For example, get a golf lesson from Tiger Woods, or drive A.J. Foyt's race car, with him riding beside you.If sports are not your deal, how about an extra-special dining experience? I don't mean going to one of the finest restaurants, but bringing the restaurant to you. USA Today reports on a private dinner at a Las Vegas resort, "where Hollywood superchef Wolfgang Puck and his crew jetted in just to work the kitchen." Donnie Trump, New York's Prince of Glitz, says "Nobody even asks about price points anymore. They expect the top, top, top of the line."And if you're having a truly special occasion, like your wedding, you want to do more than just have a cake made of caviar. You'll need music. So for his wedding, a California executive got rocker Rod Stewart to play a 45-minute set. The cost for the private concert: $1 million. Hey, why be rich if you can't fritter money away?This is Jim Hightower saying ... Look at Stevie Forbes. He's throwing away $50 million or so just to have the experience of running for president?

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