Mrs. Betty Bowers' Guide to the Perfect Christmas
On a Wing and a Prayer: Lovely Christmas Music
Part One: Shopping for the Infamous
As the woman trampled unconscious last year at Wal-Mart quickly discovered, holiday shopping is an extreme sport. (Frankly, in Mrs. Bowers' book, anyone who shows up at a Wal-Mart at three in the morning after Thanksgiving is getting off lightly with anything short of running into a drunken Scott Peterson on the duct tape aisle.)

Nothing, however, is more treacherous than picking gifts for the famous. Indeed, shopping for a celebrity is much like praying to Jesus; there isn't much that you can come up with that will be new, interesting or remembered next week. Plus, when dealing with those used always to getting what they want, you run the very real risk of incurring a nasty bout of "gift-getter disappointment wrath." This Christmas churlishness can result in anything from a frosty dismissal to a retracted party invitation. It has also been reported to elicit a ferocious entreaty to begin making one's way to Hell -- but that is only when dealing with Jesus. Or Madonna.

It is with this potential peril in mind, that I have selflessly decided to come to my acolytes' aid in picking little-somethings with startling preciosity to anticipate the needs of the unfathomably famous – in a cunning way that is often beyond their own abilities to realize what, exactly, it is they are most obviously lacking

Join me, won't you, in the spirit of the Holiday gift-giving season?

Do you have someone at your workplace who likes to litter the lobby of your building with 5,300-pound religious tchotchkes?
A three-ounce paper version of the actual Ten Commandments that contains a rather persnickety proscription against idolatry,* which might pertain to worshiping knickknacks like, say, a 5,300 pound mausoleum ornament.

* Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me...

Is there someone on your list who calls himself "the King of Pop," acts like a queen, wears crowns and epaulets on his clothing, calls his children Prince, gives his children numbers after their names, has a nephew called Jermajesty and thinks it's "sweet" and "charming" to squander a tannin-heavy Brunello on a harem of prepubescent boys?
An all-expenses trip to England so you can fulfill your delusion of being royalty. Once you check in to your historic accommodations at the Tower of London, verily, you will be -- finally -- treated like a King.

Charles I, to be more specific, although Ann Boleyn may be more aptly called to mind as you sashay your way to the block. A tip from Mary Queen of Scots: "Don't forget to remove that $32 Korean wig for a cleaner cut, dear."

Do you have someone on your list who claims, with no apparent acquiescence to plausibility, that women routinely enter his hotel rooms without summons or discussion and spontaneously have sex with his irresistible 48-year-old body, leaving him without any charge or clue as to what has occurred?
A laminated "Do Not Disturb" sign for your hotel door, dear.
Do you have someone on your list with the unsightly flush of an Irish boozehound complexion?
A Steuben lead crystal mason jar, tarted up with a lovely pomegranate-red and treasury-green bow, full of cotton swabs soaking in Visine and witch hazel. My dear friend Laura "Pickled" Bush, who is no tyro when it comes to masking the telltale signs of acute, to say nothing of prolonged, alcoholism, also recommends a quarter-inch paste of Cover Girl and baking soda to quell the anger of addled gin blossoms just before your press conference, ur, show.
Do you have someone on your list who is rumored to have indulged in seedy affairs, took ten years to make up his mind on a "Jack Daniels or me" ultimatum from his hard-drinking, chain smoking wife, has a father who had a notorious affair with Jennifer Fitzgerald, has one brother who has been rumored to have dabbled in affairs behind the back of a wife he is reportedly not close to and another brother who is currently the subject of a paternity suit, which is the attendant fallout of a nasty divorce involving numerous uncontested allegations of infidelity, and yet this person on your list goes out of his way to profess his Christian revulsion for anything that might undermine the "sanctity of marriage?"
A reasonably clean mirror for each of the gang in Kennebunkport (well, not so clean for Bar -- it is, after all, Christmas).
Is there someone on your list who needs to be reminded that underneath the bling-bland, the phony romances and monthly marriages with nancy-boys and cokeheads and the snarling attitude, she's still just tacky, pushy trash who will be lucky if Court TV covers her shoplifting arraignment in ten years?
To Jenny With The Blockhead: The white plastic Thom McCann open-toed shoes you wore with an all-too-sensible heel at your Bronx Mary-Worshiper's "Confirmation," stuffed with the reviews from Gigli and the biographies of Geena Davis and Sharon Stone, all glamorously showcased in imported Lucite. Noel, noel, dear!
Do you have someone on your list who is a junkie, but lacks the consolation of an Oscar nomination, record deal, sitcom or tabloid-friendly love interest?
The cell phone number for Rush Limbaugh's maid - and the best hours to reach her - as well as the address of the Denny's where hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of illegal narcotics can be had for a Cuban cigar (also illegal, not to put too fine a point on the criminality) box stuffed with "cabbage" (hip, super-cool and elegantly coded Excellence in Broadcasting criminal lingo for "cash").
Is there someone on your list who is a Scientologist zombie control freak closet case hankering for praise from his peers for work he shows no particular aptitude for (that is, acting like anyone other than a carefully crafted version of his strenuously smiling self)?
Dare I say it? [pause] Now, [pause] more than ever!

Acting lessons from the local community theater group and a bright, shiny, somewhat scratched Oscar from E-bay so that you won't go to the grave without one, dear.

Do you have someone on your list who tells everyone they will take "full responsibility" for their hobby of ingesting $350,000 worth of illegally scored hillbilly heroin, but you have an inkling that that "full responsibility" will stop just shy of prison time or any other inconvenience?
Betty Bowers' drug awareness coasters for your many GOP martinis:

Just say YES to $350,000 of Hillbilly Heroin! -- Rush Limbaugh [CLICK TO SEE]

Guns don't kill people, people do! Drugs don't get you high, those dreadful people in South America do! [CLICK TO SEE]

After all, it's all about Republican-style responsibility.

Do you have a cipher on your list who is an inveterate harlot who wouldn't dream of trying to cobble together a drug-addled thought or let anything fall out of - or, it seems, into - her mouth unless a camera is there to catch the wan banality that results?
A lens cap.

And I promise not to throw your past in your face -- if you promise not to throw your present in mine.

Do you have someone on your list whose very deliberate way of speaking is not just a passive aggressive way of passing Irish working class off as WASP patrician, but also the reflexive care a lady takes when she so strenuously wishes not to sound drunk?
"The Complete Works of Leni Riefenstahl" DVD Set

"The Republican Wordsmith's Guide to a Profound Spiritual Journey through Rhyming Aphorisms: The Complete Works of Eisenhower Era Hallmark Greeting Cards" from Marge Davis' Christmas Store

Do you have an aging, anorexic, knuckleheaded toxic coquette on your list who has made a profession out of preaching family values but is an unmarried spinster living in the drug and sex infested Sodom of South Beach?
A sandwich.

And since even Linda Tripp can snag two hubbies before you've landed even one, I'm taking advantage of the Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp's "Human Rights for a Day" Christmas initiative to have snake-handling John Ashcroft as a parting gesture send up a selection of swarthy Muslim men who show no discernable trepidation about marrying a 40-something with the haircut of a 14-year-old, on the promise that they are willing to force you into the suburbs, a burka and silence by summer, dear.

Fabulous Things From Betty's Gift Shop:



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