Illustration: Priorities

This past Christmas, did you notice some of the fantasy gifts offered by Neiman Marcus? For 75,000 dollars, you could buy an 18-foot-in-diameter replica of Jeannie's bottle from "I Dream of Jeannie," complete with furnishings. For a million dollars, you could have a custom-made fountain such as those in front of Vegas properties installed on your own property. There was a speedboat for 250,000 dollars and a Ferrari for 395,000 dollars. You could order a Scotch tasting for 20 people, accompanied by a bagpiper. That only cost 5,000 dollars. Sounds like a bargain, comparatively speaking.

Many of the fantasy gifts aren't purchased, and some of the purchased items trigger charitable donations. I suppose people can spend their money on what they want, but it is still appropriate for us to ponder the priorities of our culture.