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Terrorists suffering pen envy

I offer this week three examples of why the terrorists hate us.

Namely, fat pens, big beds and designer barf bags. Translation for the inevitable day when this issue is the lead story on al-Jazeera, the Arab nationalist television network: decadence, capitalist sloth and soulless materialism.

First, the fat pens. According to a story written by one Wendy Solomon and faxed to the Deseret News, the size of pen barrels has been growing along with Americans' waistlines for about 10 years.

But researchers say fat pens are actually healthy.

The article quotes Doreen Stiskal, a Seton Hall University kinesiology professor who researches grip. She says fat pens reduce gripping pressure, which leads to less hand stress and fatigue.

"A wide pen helps us biomechanically. We don't have to pinch so much and we don't need to recruit as many motor units, or fine muscles that fatigue more quickly," Stiskal says.

Sure, the article was faxed to me by Pilot Pen Corp. of America, which is hoping I will urge all of you to run out and buy one of its big, fat pens. But I agree with the thesis. I know a thing or two about pens — like engineers, journalists can never have too many — and my favorites of late are of the fatter variety. In fact, I just got a new one that is particularly pleasant to push across the page. It's so much better than a Bic . . .

Whoops! Just slipped into a little dream there. Speaking of dreams, I've long cherished the notion of a bed in which I, at 6 feet, 4 inches, could stretch out without forcing my wife to sleep on a tiny corner all night. Luckily, Select Comfort is ready to help.

The company is introducing the new Grand King bed. At 6 feet, 8 inches wide by 8 feet, 2 inches long, it is the largest bed available at retail, according to Select Comfort.

They had me hooked with the first paragraph of their press release: "For the 5 million Americans over 6 feet, 2 inches tall, life can be inconvenient. Their days are spent in small spaces with little leg room, such as cars, airplanes and office cubicles. . . . Unfortunately, tall people can rarely find comfort even at home in their own beds."

Makes your heart bleed for me and my kind, doesn't it? So I know you'll agree that it is time for my wife and me to ditch our queen-size bed for a Grand King. I could use the space. And besides, for a guy, the name "Grand King" sounds way cooler than "queen."

There is the little issue of trying to fit this behemoth into our bedroom, but it seems to me we could get rid of bookshelves, dressers and other furnishings of questionable coolness to make way for a Grand King.

Paying for it might be a nightmare, though. Who can afford such a delightful dreamsite when the economy is in the doldrums?

Maybe I could earn extra cash selling something like the National Barf Bag.

This little number, marketed by the Internet sales division of Barfco International Inc., is described as "the fashion accessory for our times." The fully functioning barf bag features a picture of a bald eagle in flight, clutching a bag of money. But the money bag has a hole in it, and dollar bills are falling out.

Barfco says the bags can be used to "dress up small gift items, specialty foods, candy, cough drops or antacids."

"The National Barf Bag is a therapeutic tool with real utility for anyone disaffected by the current recession," the company's press release says. "You don't have to lose your cookies in them, but they can protect your suit if you get some bad news."

So there you have it. I expect all you patriotic Americans to rush out and purchase a fat pen and use it to write a check for a new Grand King bed.

While lolling on your gargantuan sleeper, you can pull out your laptop and place an order for some of Barfco's bags.

Remember: If you don't buy these items, the terrorists will have won.