Bruce Willis buys U2 bassist’s NYC apartment

It’s a good day to buy hard.

Bruce Willis, who plays the formidable John McClane in the “Die Hard” movies, has purchased a Central Park West apartment for $8 million, reports the New York Post.

The actor snagged a deal on the prewar place, which was listed by U2 bassist Adam Clayton in October for $8.695 million. The apartment is in the “famed” El Dorado building, which has hosted a number of celebs over the years, including U2 frontman Bono and actor Alec Baldwin.

Built in 1930, Willis’ new home faces Central Park, with views from three of the rooms, including the generous master suite. Described as an “art deco gem,” the apartment was originally two separate units that Clayton converted into an elegant space with high-end appliances, custom cabinetry, slate countertops and terrazzo floors. The 3-bedroom, 4-bath home will be plenty of space for Willis, his wife, Emma Heming, and their toddler daughter.

Willis used to live in Central Park West with former wife Demi Moore. He also owns a number of properties across the U.S., including a few holdings in Ketchum, Idaho and two homes in Beverly Hills.

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Tiny cars, huge dollars

Microcars arose in post-war Europe as a way to get the impoverished masses back on the road. Better than a scooter or a bike (but not by much), they were cheap to operate and easy to fix. Europeans old enough to remember them when they were new don’t view them fondly; to that generation, they are a reminder of deprivation and hard times. To younger collectors, on the other hand, they’re impossibly cute and generally bigger attention-getters at shows than high-dollar exotics. The trouble is, some of them now cost more than high dollar exotics like Ferraris and Lamborghinis. RM Auctions’ recent sale of the Bruce Weiner microcar collection underscores that point. Here are some of the most expensive (on a cost-per-pound basis):

  1. 1958 F.M.R. Tg 500 Tiger; 580 pounds/$322,000/$555 per pound: The Tiger may well be the most desirable microcar on the planet, as evidenced by the stratospheric price achieved by the example at the much-publicized Weiner sale. Essentially a “hot-rodded” version of the Messerschmitt KR200, it could probably take on a Little Tikes car piloted by a kid hopped up on too many Pixie Stix on a relatively even basis. On a price per pound basis at $555/pound, it’s a bit more expensive than the finest Japanese Wagyu beef steak.
  2. 1956 BMW Isetta; 794 pounds/$89,700/$113 per pound: To the extent that anyone in America is familiar with a microcar, the Isetta is probably the one. Semi-famous for being the ride of nerdy Steve Urkel on the ’90s sitcom “Family Matters,” Isettas appear with reasonable frequency at car shows, where people are generally shocked to discover that the same company that now pushes ultra-expensive 7-Series sedans once sold this one-door joke punch line. The Isetta that sold at the Weiner sale was market priced at $113/pound.
  3. 1967 ASA 1000 GT; 1,800 pounds/$80,000/$45 per pound: The ASA was envisioned as a sort of mini-Ferrari. Many of the same engineers and stylists were employed in designing this pint-size one-liter screamer. ASAs were beautifully styled and built as you would expect. They also cost a not-so-small fortune — about as much as a 150 mph Jaguar E-Type —and didn’t go much faster than a simple MGB. They’re quite rare, and RM Auctions sold this example at an auction in Monterey, Calif., back in 2006. At just $45 per pound, it’s the bargain of the bunch. Heck, some fancy steakhouses are getting nearly that for a lobster. 
  4. Peel Trident; 198 pounds/$103,500/$520 per pound: The Peel Trident was the companion to the infamous Peel P50 (the impossibly tiny car that 6-foot, 5-inch Jeremy Clarkson drove through the offices of the BBC on an episode of the show “Top Gear”). The 6.5 hp contraption is a dead ringer for George Jetson’s car and although it won’t fold up into a briefcase, it is near the top of the heap in cost per pound at $520.
  5. 1960 Fiat 500 Jolly; 1,000 pounds/$82,500/$83 per pound: The Fiat Jolly is what you kept on your yacht in the 1960s to motor around Monte Carlo when you docked. They’re essentially customized Fiat 500s with no doors and side windows. Most have wicker seats and a rudimentary awning-like top, which is only there to keep the sun off the occupants. Anyone who has seen Brigitte Bardot lately can probably tell how well that worked. RM Auctions sold one at a Florida sale in 2011 for $82,500, which calculates to $83 per pound.

Video: Son surprises parents with ’48 Plymouth as 60th anniversary gift.

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Super cheap bathroom remodel guide

Whether you are trying to raise your home’s value or get your asking price when selling, or if you just want to make yourself happy, the super cheap bathroom remodel is an easy project that pays off.

There are six elements of a super cheap bathroom remodel: lighting, paint, wall accents, the mirror, the shower curtain, and the linens. Even if your tile is heinous, the super cheap bathroom remodel will turn your bathroom into a much more aesthetically pleasing place. Hellish pink tile? No problem. 1950’s avocado green bathtub? No, really, this will help.

First, you’re going to paint. The key is to paint the bathroom a neutral shade, which both puts you and potential buyers at ease. Never underestimate the power of white paint, especially if you have gnarly colored tile, like pink or avocado green tile. If you have a nice neutral shade of tile, consider yourself lucky. You can get more creative with the paint color (keep it neutral, though) if you have neutral-colored tile. If you have garish tile, your best bet is to go white or off-white. Don’t try to paint the bathroom a contrasting or matching shade if you have bold tiles. Trust me, no matter how good of painter you are, it will look scary. Do everyone a favor and prep the walls well before painting.

Next is the biggest ticket item: a new light fixture. This is where you want to spend money, although you can still stay within a budget. Pick out a new light fixture, and install it once the paint is dry. Go for something with a lot of wattage; light is your friend. Replace both the ceiling fixture and the wall fixture. Get something clean and classic; you won’t have any regrets.

You will now be replacing the wall accents, things like towel racks and light switch covers. Especially if you have garish tile, stick with either white or chrome wall accents. Do not, under any circumstances, install gold-tone or brass wall accents. If your sink faucets are goldtone, paint them or replace them. It is easier and cheaper than you think to install new faucets, and makes a huge difference in the aesthetic of the bathroom. A chrome single-handle lever faucet is the best bet.

Next, frame the bathroom mirror with trim. There are tons of tutorials on how to do it, including one from a homeowner/DIY blogger and remodeler somewhere near Minneapolis who used pre-cut trim and liquid nails to frame out his bathroom mirror. So easy; so cheap; big payoff.

We’re getting to the fun part: replace the shower curtain and the linens. The shower curtain takes up major real estate in the bathroom. It can make or break the look of your bathroom. Buy a curtain in a substantial natural material, as well a liner. Linen and cotton duck are sure bets that will add a look of casual sophistication to even a pink or avocado green-tiled bathroom. Solid colors, like white, cream, or beige, work best. White walls and a white shower curtain in a natural material are the best option if you have "distinctive" colored tile.

Buy linens in the same shade as the shower curtain. Since your shower curtain will be white, beige, or cream, your bath mat and towels shall also be those shades. You can add a matching toothbrush holder, tissue box, and soap dispenser. They can be cheap-o’s as long as they match and are classic and clean-looking.

This simple and super cheap bathroom remodel will make your bathroom more spa-like, meaning more serene and sophisticated. Have fun with your super cheap bathroom remodeling project, and please share tips in the comments.

Chaya Kurtz writes for Networx.com.

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Mandela family launches wine collection in Miami

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. –  For decades, Nelson Mandela’s name has been synonymous with political reform and the struggle against South African apartheid.

Now with the launch of House of Mandela Wines, his daughter and granddaughter hope to add fine wine to the list of associations.

It’s a sign of just how far both the wine industry and the country have come since 1994, when apartheid was dismantled and Mandela was elected the nation’s first black president.

"The wine movement is growing," said Tukwini Mandela, his granddaughter. "More and more people are experimenting with wine beyond spirit drinks. And there’s a large segment of the black community who is interested in wine now."

The family launched their blends of red and white grapes this week during the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Prices range from about $12 to $50 for their royal reserve collection.

The screw-capped bottles are adorned with an image of a bee, the company’s logo that symbolizes compassion, sharing, humanity and "one who is brave enough to challenge the status quo."

"We are praising our ancestors," said Tukwini Mandela. "We are telling the story of our family and who we come from with these wines so it’s only natural that we would use the name Mandela."

The line includes red, white and sparkling wines. Unique to South Africa, House of Mandela also features a pinotage that is a Mandela family favorite.

"It’s a reflection that South Africa is maturing in terms of its wine product," said Makaziwe Mandela, daughter of the political reformer.

House of Mandela Wines will donate a portion of its proceeds to charitable groups working to resolve education, health, culture and energy issues in South Africa.

"There is a lot of synergy between wine and our family," said Makaziwe Mandela. "But when you look at how the vine grows, the vine doesn’t grow in a straight line. It twists and turns, representing the twists and turns of life. Life is not a straight line. What we are proud of is that out of adversity we helped create a wonderful experience."

Source : foxnews[dot]com

The Ten Worst U.S. Cities For Traffic Congestion

The grass, it seems, is always greener on the other side of the highway median. Ask any U.S. driver about his commute, and you’ll likely get a lengthy tirade about the abysmal traffic conditions on his daily drive.

Whether you live in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Spokane, New York or even Orlando, chances are that you dread the daily commute and believe that traffic is better anywhere else in the United States than in your city.

Thanks to the most recent Annual Urban Mobility Report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), we now know who’s got bragging rights for the latest year studied, 2011.

According to the TTI, traffic in Washington D.C. is the worst, with each commuter losing an average of 67 hours per year in traffic. Los Angeles and San Francisco are tied for second place, with each municipality taking 61 hours annually from its commuters.

In fourth place is Newark, New Jersey, lumped into one miserable bundle with New York, New York. Drivers here can expect to waste 59 hours sucking down exhaust fumes each year, which is quite a bit worse than fifth-place Boston (with a mere 53 hours annually).

To the surprise of no one living in Houston, the Texas city is next on the list, with 52 hours of wasted time yearly (which is also the national average for very large cities). Atlanta and Chicago tie for seventh place (with 51 hours each), while Philadelphia and Seattle split the final spot, taking only 48 hours from commuters annually.

To put the worst U.S. cities in perspective, the average American commuter wastes 38 hours per year in traffic, and needs to allow a full hour for a trip that, under ideal circumstances, would take just 20 minutes. Is it any wonder the vast majority of us are sleep-deprived and stressed to the breaking point, or that fatal accidents are again on the rise?

If there’s good news to be found in the latest survey, it’s this: traffic in 2012 still wasn’t as bad as traffic in the pre-recession days of 2007, but we suppose that’s because many Americans are still out of work. The relief on the roads is expected to be short-lived, however, as the TTI expects congestion to grow significantly in the coming years.

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The Daily Meal: 101 best restaurants in the US

According to the Daily Meal’s just-released annual list of the 101 Best Restaurants in America, Thomas Keller’s French Laundry is the country’s finest restaurant.

Ranking high on the list are other perennial fine dining favorites, such as Gramercy Tavern (#2) Le Bernardin (#3) and Eleven Madison Park (#5).  In all, 27 New York restaurants made the list. Chicago and Los Angeles both had seven, with eateries like Alinea and Bazaar, and Boston had three. 

But there are some also decidedly down home dining spots like Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven, Conn. and Mission Chinese in San Francisco.  

Editorial director of The Daily Meal Colman Andrews and 173 other judges selected the restaurants based on cuisine, region and factors such as the level of formality and buzz and the prices.

“To be exceedingly fair, the ranking gives equal weight to highbrow eateries like The French Laundry and less expensive institutions like Shake Shack in New York,” the editors said in a release. “If it’s good food, it’s fair game.”

Here are the 101 Best Restaurants in America (2013):

1. The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.

2. Gramercy Tavern, New York, N.Y.

3. Le Bernardin, New York, N.Y.

4. Momofuku Ssäm Bar, New York, N.Y.

5. Eleven Madison Park, New York, N.Y.

6. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, N.Y.

7. ABC Kitchen, New York, N.Y.

8. Babbo, New York, N.Y.

9. Girl & the Goat, Chicago, Ill.

10. Cochon, New Orleans, La.

11. Shake Shack, New York, N.Y.

12. Jean Georges, New York, N.Y.

13. Daniel, New York, N.Y.

14. Alinea, Chicago, Ill.

15. Chez Panisse, Berkeley, Calif.

16. Del Posto, New York, N.Y.

17. Per Se, New York, N.Y.

18. Commander’s Palace, New Orleans, La.

19. Zuni Cafe, San Francisco, Calif.

20. Animal, Los Angeles, Calif.

21. Gotham Bar & Grill, New York, N.Y.

22. Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles, Calif.

23. Bouchon Bistro, Yountville, Calif.

24. Husk, Charleston, S.C.

25. Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas, Nev.

26. Franklin BBQ, Austin, Texas

27. Mission Chinese, San Francisco, Calif.

28. August, New Orleans, La.

29. Masa, New York, N.Y.

30. Bar Tartine, San Francisco, Calif.

31. Marea, New York, N.Y.

32. WD-50, New York, N.Y.

33. Vetri, Philadelphia, Pa.

34. Beast, Portland, Ore.

35. The Publican, Chicago, Ill.

36. Ippudo, New York, N.Y.

37. Inn at Little Washington, Washington, Va.

38. Blackbird, Chicago, Ill.

39. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, New Haven, Conn.

40. Galatoire’s, New Orleans, La.

41. Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, New York, N.Y.

42. La Taqueria, San Francisco, Calif.

43. Bazaar, Los Angeles, Calif.

44. Torrisi Italian Specialties, New York, N.Y.

45. Guy Savoy, Las Vegas, Nev.

46. Spiaggia, Chicago, Ill.

47. Xi’An Famous Foods, Queens, N.Y.

48. Di Fara, Brooklyn, N.Y.

49. Spago, Los Angeles, Calif.

50. Next, Chicago, Ill.

51. Cut, Los Angeles, Calif.

52. Coi, San Francisco, Calif.

53. Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Brooklyn, N.Y.

54. Quince, San Francisco, Calif.

55. FIG, Charleston, S.C.

56. Michael Mina, San Francisco, Calif.

57. é by José Andrés, Las Vegas, Nev.

58. Frasca Food & Wine, Boulder, Colo.

59. NoMad, New York, N.Y.

60. Bern’s Steak House, Tampa, Fla.

61. Alan Wong’s, Honolulu, Hawaii

62. O-Ya, Boston, Mass.

63. Clio, Boston, Mass.

64. State Bird Provisions, San Francisco, Calif.

65. Komi, Washington, D.C.

66. Craigie on Main, Cambridge, Mass.

67. TRU, Chicago, Ill.

68. Yardbird Southern Table and Bar, Miami, Fla.

69. McCrady’s, Charleston, S.C.

70. Joe’s Stone Crab, Miami, Fla.

71. Kreuz Market, Lockhart, Texas

72. Lucques, Los Angeles, Calif.

73. Le Pigeon, Portland, Ore.

74. SriPraPhai, Queens, N.Y.

75. Hominy Grill, Charleston, S.C.

76. Zahav, Philadelphia, Pa.

77. Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix, Ariz.

78. Al Di La, Brooklyn, N.Y.

79. City Grocery, Oxford, Miss.

80. The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, Calif.

81. Fore Street, Portland, Maine

82. Michael’s Genuine, Miami, Fla.

83. Jaleo, Las Vegas, Nev.

84. Al Forno, Providence, R.I.

85. Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Las Vegas, Nev.

86. Dahlia Lounge, Seattle, Wash.

87. The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn.

88. Canlis, Seattle, Wash.

89. Congress, Austin, Texas

90. Underbelly, Houston, Texas

91. Catbird Seat, Nashville, Tenn.

92. Woodshed Smokehouse, Fort Worth, Texas

93. Sushi Yasuda, New York, N.Y.

94. Fearing’s, Dallas, Texas

95. Minibar, Washington, D.C.

96. The Four Seasons, New York, N.Y.

97. Benu, San Francisco, Calif.

98. Stella!, New Orleans, La.

99. Providence, Los Angeles, Calif.

100. Rasika, Washington, D.C.

101. Lola, Cleveland, Ohio

Source : foxnews[dot]com

The Saab that never was

It is the car that was supposed to save Saab, but it was DOA.

The first photos of a design study for the planned replacement for the 9-3 have been revealed by SaabsUnited.com, giving an idea of what the first post-GM Saab would have looked like if the automaker had managed to avoid going bankrupt in December, 2011.

Penned by American designer Jason Castriota, the new 9-3 marked a return to the model’s classic five-door form, and featured classic Saab styling cues including a wraparound-look windshield, clamshell hood and steep rear hatchback bodywork.

The car was intended to be built on Saab’s so-called Phoenix platform, a flexible chassis that would allow it to move away from the GM-sourced chassis the last 9-3 relied on, and powered by a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine jointly developed with BMW.

The brand’s new owner, Hong Kong-backed National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which purchased Saab’s assets last year, has the rights to produce the Phoenix platform, but plans to first reintroduce the last generation 9-3, primarily for sale in China, and follow it up with an electric version of that car.

According to SaabsUnited.com, it’s now unlikely that the Castriota designed car will ever see the light of day, at least in the flesh. But the photos will live on as an alternate history among fans of the automaker for eternity.

See more photos of the would-be 9-3 at SaabsUnited.com

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