Last minute shopping

Are you one of those 11th-hour shoppers who's only now realizing that Christmas is this weekend?

Are you one of those 11th-hour shoppers who’s only now realizing that Christmas is this weekend?

Well, don’t panic, for Jim “The Elf” Hightower is here to help. All you need is a bushel basket of money and the Neiman Marcus catalogue of Christmas goodies. As the catalogue itself says up front, “Exceed all expectations with out-of-the-ordinary presents your loved ones had no idea they wanted.”

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For example, the Tom Burr Table-Tennis Table on page 65. This is not your common, rec-room ping-pong table, it’s a contemporary work of art sculpted by this whimsical artist from an unexpected material: black rubber. How delightful is that?! And practical, too, because, as artiste Burr himself explains, “rubber makes the ball bounce – more bounce for your buck.” Speaking of which, Burr’s Table-Tennis Table goes for 45,000 bucks. But hurry, he only made 10 of them.

But maybe you want something a little more down to earth. Neiman’s has just the ticket for you with a back-to-the-earth trip to the Stone Barns Farm. It’s a lush 80-acre complex with a bounty of crops and livestock, as well as a posh restaurant named Blue Hill. You’re asked to gather six of your friends for this day trip, which will include “a hands-on learning experience.” It doesn’t say whether that means milking goats, slaughtering a hog, mucking the barn… or what. But, it’s all yours for $9,500. What a deal – they get some work out of you, and you pay them. Only Neiman Marcus could sell that package.

There’s so much more to choose from, like the $250,000 speedboat, or the custom-made, computer-activated dancing fountains for a cool million dollars. Isn’t it good to know that even in this down economy, there’s still a market for such pricey baubles? So get out there and shop, shop, shop – Wall Street is counting on you!

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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