Toto, the high tech toilet, steals the show

TOTO toiletMuch is being written about Demi Moore's return to the screen in a major role in the neighbor-envy flick "The Joneses," but apparently the real star of the show is a toilet named "Toto" -- presumably not for Dorothy's little dog but meaning "everything" since it does most everything for you but, well, you know.

You don't have to wait for the movie to preview the accommodating commode, either. TOTO, the company behind the pot, (the toilet itself is actually part of a high tech line called Neorest -- for the thoroughly modern resting you will do there?), has a virtual video game of a simulation on its site.

Offering a remote control for cleaning and drying functions, the Neorest 600 senses your presence and flips open its top. In fact, the simulation shows it flipping its lid and seat, raising the question of whether it can identify gender as well or whether it's likely to be every woman's worst domestic nightmare.

No doubt the movie will set the record straight on this, since the toilet becomes a must-see stop on the home tour for neighbors trying to keep up with the Joneses (who, if you've managed to miss the abundant publicity, actually are product pitchmen/women posing as super cool suburban neighbors with super cool toys).

In fact, Moore told starpulse.com that she covets a Toto toilet as well, almost as much as a banana seat bicycle.

Q. "Was there anything from the set of the Joneses you wanted to take home...?"

A: "...I'll be waiting for Toto to be sending us all a complimentary toilet."

This from the woman who taped a Spanish cava commercial during her honeymoon.

Bardessono, a new boutique hotel in the Napa Valley, Calif., wine country, cites the Toto-brand toilet among its environmental initiatives. On a recent visit, this intrepid reporter discovered the ones near the restaurant offer many of the extra cleaning and drying features. Staff say they have become quite an attraction for the bar crowd, with some guests disappearing for significant stretches of time.

TOTO USA wasted no time in greeting "The Joneses" opening with a news release titled "Has the Bathroom Become Our Modern Day Status Symbol." It suggests peaceful and tranquil bathrooms are increasingly being seen as an antidote to our fast-paced society -- and indeed the Neorest Suite (link above) does look very Zen.

"Creating a peaceful bathroom sanctuary can help introduce small luxuries into life and is sure to elevate one's mood and outlook," the release croons. It's hard to remember we are talking about fixtures for the most basic of human bodily functions and hygiene -- you know toilets, showers, sinks.

The release relies on industry figures about remodeling perhaps showing initial signs of recovery but neglects to mention that bathroom remodels dropped as a priority in that survey. At more than $5,500 apiece, it seems unlikely the company's top of the line toilets will fall within everyone's remodeling budget anyway.

TOTO, a century-old Japanese company that entered the U.S. market in 1989, does make it clear they have more traditional, and lower-budget offerings as well, including the one in the photo they provided above. Presumably offering just a hint of that of that coveted peace and tranquility?

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