Opulence, I has it 2013

Opulence, I has it 2013

Summary: Can't decide on gifts to buy? What if price is no object? What if you “has opulence”, so to speak? With that in mind, I’ve updated the latest revision of my holiday gift guide for the disgustingly and oppressively wealthy.


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  • Opulent Space Travel

    I know what you’re thinking, you don’t want to be tied down to terrestrial travel. Understandable. Unfortunately, the limits of technology and the current level of maturity of the private space industry prevents you from has hundred mile high club with your mail-order supermodel girlfriend.

    If you’re willing to wait, you can sign up for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, which will be offering suborbital space rides from $200,000 and up. But it will be several years before the service is operational and while incredibly exciting, the flights will be short, lasting less than an hour.

    And if the short ride wasn’t enough of an indignity, you’ll have to share your ride with simple millionaire hoi polloi. So if you’re truly opulent, like Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth, you’ll want to step in front of the line and have a private vacation in space.

    In 2002, Shuttleworth climbed aboard the Russian Soyuz TM-34 mission, and spent eight days at the International Space Station participating in experiments, after undergoing a year of training and preparation at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The cost? A mere $20 million.

  • Opulent Residences

    Eventually, you’ll need to come down to Earth. And when you do, you’ll need a place to stay, a place to call home.

    Of course, money being no object, you can build any palace you like. But then you’d be just like Bill Gates with his gigantic high-tech mansion in Medina, Washington or Larry Ellison with his California reproduction of a feudal Japanese castle. How quaint. How lowbrow. Such lack of creativity..

    No, what you want is something truly exclusive. How about a man-made island in Dubai? Or a high-rise apartment on the 123rd floor of the Bhurj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world?

    Or purchase any number of existing natural islands in the South Pacific, where you can build your own airstrip and private space launch facilities. Now we’re talking. 

    Just find yourself a little person to be your waiter and valet, and you can be just like Francisco Scaramanga.

    Of course, the problem with large, secure compounds in major metropolitan areas like Bill and Larry’s or even private islands is that people know you are there. They can see you from Google Earth, and they can fly over you.

    That can be really, really annoying.

    No, what you really want is a subterranean house. Specifically, an abandoned Atlas, Titan or Minuteman III nuclear missile base. These spaces are truly unique — they’re built to survive a nuclear holocaust, are extremely efficient to operate, and they are absolutely cavernous.

    Even if you just end up picking one of these properties up to re-fit as a vacation cottage, just think of the fun of being 200 feet underground in the middle of nowhere, where nobody is going to come and bother you, or even know where to look for you.

    Awesome, right? You can build a horse ranch at ground level with a modest-looking farmhouse at the top, with a massive lair below. And if you fix the launch bay doors, you can fly your helicopter straight out of it.

    Oh, and don’t forget the bedding. The bedding is really important. You can’t get a decent night’s sleep on anything less than a $50,000 mattress.

  • Opulent Pets

    No matter how rich you are, life gets pretty boring if not annoying if you have to deal with people. As companions, people basically suck. As an opulent person, what you want is a pet. But not just any pet.

    No, you want a pet that befits your status in life, one that is truly unique. What you want is a genetically-engineered, glow-in-the-dark cat. And where can you get one of these luminescent felines? Why, from Korea.

    Apparently, the Korean scientists at Gyeongsang National University have figured out how to isolate the sequence of genes that turn on a red fluorescent protein in a cat’s hair. So far, no price has been set, and none of these experimental cats have been offered for sale, but that’s no problem for you, right?

    Okay, maybe glowing cats are kind of weird. You’re clearly a bit more down to earth, a sentimental type. I completely understand. Perhaps you can’t get over the fact that your poodle or sweet tabby died recently. If you’re super rich, pet mortality is no problem whatsoever — you just simply clone it from its original DNA, provided you have stored samples of its genetic material.

    Of course, pet cloning in the United States has been a bit of a problem due to its controversial nature, and every venture here trying to make a business out of it has failed,  but that’s not gonna stop you, right? You can still get it done, but you gotta go to — you guessed it, the Koreans! Just give RNL Bio some of Fido’s DNA, and they’ll get to work.

    Does it bother you that it costs around $150,000 per doggie to clone? Probably not.

    Of course, if the prospect of Dog Cloning isn’t exclusive enough, or maybe the idea of having to wait years to get it done is too frustrating, maybe you just want a really expensive dog.

    I got the answer for you right here — a Tibetan mastiff, flown in from China. With the best specimens in Asia selling for nearly $600,000, you’ll pay a pretty penny for one of these giant lumbering canines which can reach over 270lbs in adult weight.

    I should probably mention that they poop like horses as well, but you’ve got someone else to clean up after him, right?

Topics: Travel Tech, Emerging Tech, After Hours


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • RE: Opulence, I has it (photos)

    Maybe someone could photoshop Jason into some of these pics. That's the only way most of us will get to experience this stuff.

    I'd personally take the airplane and some supermodels though.
  • The toy giraffe is the rage

    Spend the money in genetically engineering a tiny giraffe. Oh Yes.
  • Or, an army of flesh eating zombie gerbils.

    Oh no.
  • English isn't my mother tongue but

    English isn't my mother tongue but should the title be ......Opulence, I "have" it 2013?, or am I missing something?
    • it seems to me

      that by using the incorrect form, the auther is referring to a. generally low educational level of very rich, b. their lack of respect to laws (language and otherwise), c. their tendency to refer to themselves in third person - like in royal 'we'.
      may be there is anything else I am missing - English is not my first language either.
    • American slang (humorous intent)

      On the Internet anybody who follows rules is boring, so there is constant social pressure to use interesting new words, even when the old ones are still perfectly functional. Some of these new words become popular, and some don't.

      Please google "lolcats".
    • It's not American slang.

      It's referring to a specific television advertisement for DirecTV starring a fictitious Russian billionaire whose catchphrase is "Opulence, I Has It."

  • I want the dog

    Nuff said.
  • IBT

    In before the Scientology folks find this and start defending their "religion".