6. Fat Cats and Porky Pooches
Remember a time when a dog could avoid the pounds by outrunning dog catchers? Maybe it's true that pet owners and their pets start to resemble each other, especially around the belly and thighs.
The National Research Council now estimates that up to 25 percent of household pets in Western countries are obese. In the last two years, doggy and kitty heart attacks have risen 47 percent, according to Veterinary Pet Insurance, America's largest pet insurer.
Perhaps that's why overweight critters now have a whole litany of diet plans. The Pedigree Food Company began offering the first high-protein, 12-week doggie diet inspired by the overwhelming success of the Atkins and the South Beach diets. No plans yet for a "Catkins," but cat food is typically high in protein.
After a 12-week program, a hefty hound should drop 10 percent of its body weight, and switch to Pedigree Weight Maintenance, a kibble with 27 percent protein, the company says.
Doggie and kitty health spas have opened in several cities. One New York fitness instructor offers pets and their owners side-by-side yoga classes. But would your cat be willing to do downward-facing dog? [Full Story]
7. Kissability Presidential Polling
Last summer, when Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry invited John Edwards to be his running mate, he quipped "We've got better vision, better ideas … a better sense of what's happening to America. And we've got better hair."
Not so fast, senator. A poll by the Wahl Clipper Company, conducted by Opinion Research Corp., found that 51 percent of Americans actually preferred Bush's hair to his rival's. (Edwards, however, handily beat our follicle-challenged vice president.)
In the era of relentless polling, Americans got bombarded this year with statistical information on such burning questions as, "Which candidate is more kissable?" and "Which presidential hopeful is more fun at the bar?" In many cases, the same pollsters working for politicians were also working for consumer products companies, turning politics into the ultimate brand marketing.
Close-Up toothpaste actually hired the Gallup Organization to interview more than 1,000 people to nail down the kissability factor. Kerry narrowly won the presidential puckering contest 43 percent to 41 percent, yet somehow lost the election. [Full Story]
8. The Infidelity Industry Turns Cheating Into Big Business
Cheating on your spouse is always immoral, sometimes illegal, and if that doesn't matter, a wide range of Web sites are ready to help you play around.
Are you married and looking for a one-night stand? Web sites like "AshleyMadison.com" which boasts the slogan, "When Monogamy Becomes Monotony" and Philanderers.com are among the new dating services for married people who cheat.
The ease of the Internet is one reason women are quickly catching up to men in the arena of extramarital affairs, according to an article in Newsweek earlier this year, which quoted statistics that suggest 30 percent to 40 percent of wives are unfaithful, compared to 50 percent of husbands.
Even if you just need an alibi to explain where you were last night, there are companies willing to send flowers to your mistresses or provide liar-for-hire services, such as an invitation to a bogus convention so you'll have time to play around on your spouse. [Full Story]
9. It's Your Call: Cell Phone Says You've Got Bad Breath