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Anna Nicole Smith: 'It's Very Expensive to Be Me'
Former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith acknowledged she has expensive tastes but denied she married her late 90-year-old husband only for his oil fortune. "It's very expensive to be me. It's terrible the things I have to do to be me," Smith, 33, told jurors in a Houston probate trial to determine who gets what from husband Howard Marshall II's estimated $1.6 billion estate. Throughout the four-month trial, lawyers representing the estate have portrayed Smith as a gold digger who only married the elderly oilman for his fortune. "They don't understand the age thing. They don't understand it's a love thing," Smith said Monday. "I never had the love this man gave me and I will never have it again." Though adamant she truly loved her husband, Smith freely admitted she blew through the $5,000-$10,000 cash Marshall sent her via Federal Express each week. "I am serious. I pay a lot of money to be me," Smith said, explaining she spent her money on designer gowns and shoes so she could attend weekly movie premieres. Smith and her 62-year-old stepson, Pierce Marshall, have been locked in legal battle since the elder Marshall died in August 1995, 14 months after marrying the blond pinup. She was 26 and he was 89 at the time. A federal bankruptcy judge in Los Angeles late last year finalized an order giving Smith $475 million of her late husband's estate, prompting the actress and former centerfold to pull out of the Houston trial on Jan 5. Though Smith dropped her Texas claims, the younger Marshall had already sued her for interfering with his inheritance, which is how she ended up on the stand Monday. Marshall attorney Rusty Hardin asked her: "Isn't it true you didn't see your husband in the last month of his life?" "Pierce stopped all of the money and that's why I couldn't be with my husband when he died," Smith retorted, referring to her stepson's freezing of cash payments to her. "I could have saved him again and Pierce couldn't save him." Earlier, Smith testified she loved her husband because he was the only person who ever accepted her unconditionally. "He took me out of a terrible place, took care of me. He was my savior," Smith said tearfully, clutching a silver-framed photo of Marshall taken on their wedding day. "It wasn't a sexual 'baby, oh baby, I love your body'-type love, it was a deep 'thank you' for taking me out of this hole." Asked by Hardin if she ever talked to the photograph of her husband which she has held throughout the trial, Smith said she did. "What do you say to the picture?" Hardin asked. "That's none of your business," Smith snapped. Smith testified she rebuffed Marshall's marriage proposals for more than two years because she wanted to make a name for herself "so nobody could call me a gold digger, but I guess that backfired didn't it?" "How much gold did you get over the next few years?" Hardin queried. "Quite a bit, Rusty," Smith said. Earlier testimony showed Smith got some $6 million in gifts, including $700,000 in cash, cars, a house, clothes and jewelry. Hardin also questioned Smith about her early career as a stripper, which led to meeting Marshall and eventually becoming Playboy Playmate of the Year. She described how strippers and a club manager persuaded her she had what it took to dance topless. "It took them 30 minutes and couple of drinks to convince me," Smith said, saying she was humiliated when it was over. But she looked in her lap and saw $50 and realized dancing paid better than her previous jobs at a Wal-Mart and a Red Lobster restaurant, she said. Smith, a native of Mexia, Texas, testified she believed she gave her husband a reason to live after meeting him and dancing for him for the first time at a Houston topless club in 1992. "When you danced for him, he began to come alive?" Hardin asked. "He sure didn't just sit there. He grabbed onto my breast and got us into trouble," Smith said.

Americans Favor Cars Over Kids
America's long love affair with the car, complete with gifts on Valentine's Day, would appear to be going a bit too far, a poll shows. The nationwide online survey by Ohio-based Progressive Insurance found that 45 percent of married Americans ranked their cars as the thing they considered most important to them. In answer to separate questions regarding their preferences, only 6 percent rated their children as important and just 10 percent said their spouse or significant other was important to them, the survey said. The survey, conducted Jan. 5-15 and based on answers from 516 respondents, found that 84 percent of Americans love their cars while 32 percent have actually given their four-wheeled gas-guzzler a name. Seventeen percent of male participants planned to buy their vehicle a gift on Valentine's Day, the poll said. It did not say what gifts might be handed out for the occasion but Progressive, the fourth-largest auto insurance company in the United States, suggested rose-scented air fresheners or a vintage can of motor oil.

Soft Drink with Viagra Ingredient Banned
A soft drink containing an ingredient of the impotence drug Viagra has been banned by Japanese officials. They acted after advertisements for the drink, touted as "the solution to your nighttime problems," appeared in men's magazines and on the Internet. Some 47,000 bottles of the non-prescription drink were imported from China a year ago, and all but 4,000 had already been sold. Each 20-milliliter bottle of the drink contained 64.3 milligrams (mg) of the chemical sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, far more than the 25 or 50 mg in one tablet of Viagra sold in Japan. A local government official said the drink contravened Japanese drug laws. The firm that imported the drink said it was made from squeezed Chinese fruits resembling grapes, and it was unaware of the chemical. An estimated 9.8 million men in Japan suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Doctor Stumbles Onto Orgasm Machine
All he was trying to do was ease her chronic back pain, but when Dr. Stuart Meloy placed an electrode into one patient's back, she groaned. Not in pain, but in delight. Meloy had stumbled onto an unexpected side-effect of the pain device he was using – an ability to cause orgasm. He has just patented this unexpected use of the device, a spinal cord stimulator made by device company Medtronic. Now he is trying to talk Minneapolis-based Medtronic into marketing the device for this use. The surgeon has to place an electrode very precisely in the patient's spine. The idea is to find the specific nerve bundle that is carrying his or her pain signals to the brain. The device works not to block pain but to change the way the patient perceives it. "Instead of feeling pain, they feel what most people describe as a buzzing sensation in the affected area," Meloy said. "It's not so much a distraction as a change in perception. You are altering what they feel."

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