I posted yesterday that the best way to make your neighbors jealous was to own a hot tub. But if history is any guide, we'll be embarrassed by that choice in the future.

--In the 1990s we wanted: A black dining room table and chairs . . . a breadmaker . . . and beige carpeting.

--In the '80s we had to have: A Commodore 64 computer . . . an avocado-colored bathroom . . . a garbage disposal . . . and a microwave.

--In the '70s people wanted: A fondue set . . . a Betamax . . . color TV . . . and a minibar.

--In the '60s it was: A washing machine . . . a sewing machine . . . colorful kitchen cabinets . . . and an electric carving knife.

--In the '50s we had to have: A transistor radio . . . a push-button phone . . . and an electric toaster.

So, while some of that stuff is still cool, we can learn from history that keeping up with the Joneses and having the latest and greatest items is not always the best idea.