Don’t Shake It–Bake It! Tycoons Transcend Trouble

I’m mad for moguls. Even though his hair looks like a ferret that has been deluged with Japanese hair relaxant, I think Donald Trump is surely the most charismatic dude on television. Not one of those goofy apprentices is worthy of his patronage. They are less than the dust on his chariot wheels.

And Donald and I agree about virtually everything. In his new book, Trump: How to Get Rich (Random House, $21.95), he exhorts the dealmakers of the world to get rid of the handshake, calling it “a terrible practice.”

Beginning last fall, I mounted a campaign to eliminate the handshake from my own personal repertoire of interpersonal communications. “My hands are wet, so I won’t shake hands,” I’d say, fanning them frantically as if post-manicure. The reason? Like The Donald, I have an aversion to The Colds and The Diseases and The E. Coli. Call us crazy, but The Donald and The Simon have no desire to touch snot-encrusted digits or to shake the clammy (or dry!) hands of those who have just emerged from the bathroom having done God knows what.

Yes, many colleagues and acquaintances have now branded me a germ-phobic freak, but it has all been totally worth it. I am proud to say that I managed to survive until mid-March without catching a cold. I succumbed after reluctantly dropping my guard and allowing an afflicted individual to cuddle and cough upon my dog.

Regarding moguls: The Martha debacle has created a whole new subspecies of the chattering class. I call them the why-aren’t-I-on-Court-TV? amateur legal “experts.” These ninnies pontificate about the ins and outs of the Martha case-à la Sean Penn on W.M.D.-as if they had any idea what they were talking about and were taking anything other than a prurient interest in the whole thing. Meanwhile, all they really care about is the ongoing availability of those fabulous K-Martha sheets ($40.99 for a queen, 100 percent cotton, 270 thread count).

The negative publicity has, if anything, inspired Martha to staggering new heights of product excellence. My favorite new chair is from Martha’s Signature furniture catalog. It’s a Windsor chair cast in iron (approximately $450; call 800-950-7130 or visit marthastewart.com). The shape is sublime, but the color is a bit dreary. For best results, respray with safety orange or lime-green car paint.

The chicest new bed on earth comes from her Martha’s Turkey Hill collection. The Irvington nickel-plated bed (approximately $1,600 for a queen) is also unbelievably versatile: Once you’ve secured it, you can redo your bedroom in classic mod Americana, or go totally over the top with a wacky pop-Victoriana 60′s look.

Expect an increase in Martha creativity over the next year or so. While in Oz, Martha is not going to waste time reading Dostoyevsky or engaging in lesbian flirtations with other inmates, no matter how attractive they may be. She is, if you’ll pardon the vernacular, a raging top . After the first couple of weeks, she will have more new recipes and design concepts (and more adoring bitches) than she knows what to do with.

The reality is as follows: Martha will redeem herself, and she will do it really, really quickly. Let us not forget that Sophia Loren also spent time in the big house. The only residual effect on her career was a massive spike in eyewear sales.

Quiche this!