Funny Business with Jane Wells

Steve Fossett's Sub And Fake Jane's Oscar

Steve Fossett
Charlie Riedel

What to get the bazillionaire who has everything? Why, a personal submarine! Today I'm reporting on the most cutting-edge personal submersibles available, made by Hawkes Ocean Technologies. See them at

These are revolutionary subs because they have wings. They're really underwater airplanes...without the air. The subs, which cost about $10 million, allow you to "fly" through the water, with the fish, unlike traditional submersibles, which just sort of sink like lead balloons.

Graham Hawkes has been building the most extreme version of one--the Deep Flight Challenger--for multimillionaire adventurer Steve Fossett. Fossett wanted to take it to the very bottom of the Mariana Trench, 37,000 feet down. But the man who broke so many air and sailing records is gone--Fossett has been declared legally dead after going missing on a flight over Nevada last September. Hawkes plans to complete work on the Fossett sub--the deepest a previous model has gone is 3,000 feet down--and look for a new buyer. When I asked Graham Hawkes, "Is Richard Branson interested?" he stared at me and said nothing. "No comment?" I asked. "No comment."

Meantime, they're building a different sub for venture capital guru Tom Perkins.

But the folks at Hawkes are trying to figure out what to call their winged personal submersibles. Should they be called "Underwater Fliers"? "Winged Submersibles"? "Sunken Treasure"? (heh, heh). Send me your ideas.


Fake Jane photo composite

Fake Jane will be going to Real Jane's annual all-girl Oscar bash night. But Fake Jane hasn't seen many movies this year because MOVIES ARE TOO LONG. Going to the movies now eats up most of a day. For working women/mothers, weekends consist of laundry, cleaning, gardening, grocery shopping, home improvement projects, church and family time (ok, Fake Jane has no family but Real Jane does).

Fitting a movie into that schedule requires scheduling. You have to a) drive to the theater--leaving enough time to get a good seat, b) park, c) go through the ticket line and concession line, d) sit through 15 minutes of ads and trailers, and finally e) watch the movie.

Movies used to be under two hours. Now you're lucky to get out of there in under three. Who has time for this? And if you're a female--ladies, you know what I'm talking about--you also have to plan when during the marathon movie to go to the bathroom. You can't wait too long or you'll miss something potentially important leading up to the end. You can't go too soon...or you'll have to go again later. I remember thinking during "There Will Be Blood" that, wow, this is a great film... and then, after the 120-minute mark, I thought, when is this going to end? Even Real Jane's romantic 17-year-old daughter said "Atonement," was fabulous, "but it was too long."

When is the last time you saw a movie that left you wanting more? I hear "Juno" runs only 90 minutes. I love it already.

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