Tom Keane

A guide to last-minute gifts, Massachusetts style


The world was supposed to end Friday, so I held off on my Christmas shopping. Clever me. Why waste the time and money? The cataclysm was supposed to make the whole thing irrelevant. Now, with Armageddon averted and friends and family expecting something under their trees, I’m in a panic. My guess is you’re in the same position as me — I mean, if you can’t believe the Mayans, who can you believe? — and so, herewith, a handy last-minute gift guide.

Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots (Senate campaign edition). Wrangling Warren and Brown Bomber battle it out, with realistic sounds (“You’re an Indian!” “You hate women!”) and heart-stopping debate action, replete with grimaces, sighs, and pointed fingers. When Elizabeth Warren finally lands that blockbuster punch, Scott Brown’s finished — or is he? Contents include a national donor network.

The Magic 8-Ball (Deval Patrick edition). Bewildered by the ins and outs of Massachusetts state government? Ask the Magic 8-Ball any question, and it gives you the answer, just as if the governor said it himself!


 Who hired Sheila Burgess as state highway safety director? Better not tell you now.

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 Will the administration take responsibility for the drug lab scandal? Don’t count on it.

 What really happened with Tim Murray’s car accident? Reply hazy, try again.

 Is there another book in the works? You may rely on it.

Twister (politico edition). A reelected president, a bored governor, and a laid-up mayor combine to bring you this exciting game. Senator John Kerry’s going, Cabinet heads are out the door, and Boston pols are salivating over the possible exit of the mayor. Whose foot is where? It all adds up to one mad-cap scramble as aspiring wannabes clamber over each other for a new spot. Once the game ends, they’re all better off but somehow you’re not!


Powerball tickets (Red Sox edition). When will the Fenway Park sell-out streak end? Lottery tickets are now available for the 2013 season. Try your luck! The cold weeks of April? Could be. The dog days of summer? You’d think so. But “sold-out” is in the eyes of the owners and the grand prize in any event is a pile of tickets to a game no one wants to go to anyway.

The Game of Life (fiscal cliff edition). Where will your choices take you? You’re born, you die, and in between only two things are inevitable: spending and taxes. Good deeds get you rewards — recycle and you get a tax credit! But bad deeds get rewards too: Deduct that Cadillac as a home office. But beware of perils on the way. With one errant roll of the dice, marauding Tea Partiers try to take away your health care, Social Security, and Medicare. Next play, wacko liberals are grabbing for everything you earn. Defeat them both and you win — as long as you can find someone else to pay the bill!

Super Soaker (tax edition). The original Super Soaker was a classic — sales taxes, income taxes, local options, and property taxes. It’s the stuff that made Massachusetts Taxachusetts. Yet as good as it was, the Soaker missed on occasion. This year’s model is new and improved, with extra reach and even fewer loopholes! Hoping to avoid that 6.25 percent by shopping at Amazon? Come November — ha ha, got ya!

Lego (developer’s edition). The 2013 edition of Lego is bigger than ever — more bricks, more glass, more cranes, and more neighbors than ever protesting every new project that comes along. NIMBYism used to kill them but, don’tcha know, we’ve got an economy that needs to rebound so build, build, build to your heart’s content! Comes complete with keys to the city and a rubber stamp of approval.

Cabbage Patch Kids (homeless edition). The poor, homeless Cabbage Patch kids and their moms and dads need our help and every Christmas season politicians heed the call. They rush to shelters and soup kitchens, pitching in to do their best — at least until the reporters and cameras go home!


Of course, if none of these tickles your fancy, there’s always cash. Just make sure (see, e.g., Chuck Turner, Diane Wilkerson, and Sal DiMasi) that you really are a Secret Santa when you do . . .

Tom Keane’s column appears weekly in the Globe. Reach him at tomkeane@tomkeane.com.