Martha's Home, But Not Quite Alone

HE MARTHA HAS officially embarked on Phase Two of her sentence: five months of House Arrest. Since most of us would give our eye teeth to be under house arrest in Martha's Domicile of Domestic Bliss and Plenty, I think she'll somehow get along. However, as Martha Herself must surely have surmised, if not invented and annexed to the Napoleonic Codes, there are certain DOs and DON'Ts to which a sullied Domestic Diva must adhere if she is to regain her luster in America's eyes. Allow me to offer just a few.

DO invite us via satellite into your kitchen, and effortlessly rattle off the Latin names of all your exotic dried herbs and flowers.

DON'T casually slip out the kitchen door to the garden, triggering a very nasty charge from your ankle bracelet. Unless you want to give us some first-aid pointers for a moderate lightning strike.

DO show us how to properly groom your big, beautiful Chow Chows. Shower them with kisses while you're at it; they must be feeling quite insecure since they were abandoned through no insider trading of their own.

No matter how acceptable it might be to your friends in the dog-breeding world, DON'T refer to the Chow Chows as your "bitches."

DO show me how to arrange the perfect French place setting for each of my 30 dinner guests.

DON'T expect me to do much more for 30 dinner guests than to pretend I'm out of town until they stop ringing my doorbell and go away.

Back to that ankle bracelet: DO demonstrate how to decorate your home monitoring device for Spring 2005. Have it modeled by Heidi Klum, who should stand above you on her runway and declare that, even though you are OUT, you are still, for the next five months, IN.

DON'T let Heidi leave the premises without pulling her hair at least once. She can be such a brat.

DO show us how to stretch our household budgets on your Camp Cupcake salary of 40 cents per hour.

DON'T really do that. We know you're worth kazillions since you got out, so the pleasure of reading "40 cents an hour" preceded by "Martha Stewart is earning" has already worn off.

We are a cynical people, so DO demonstrate clearly that you now possess the very Milk of Human Kindness.

DON'T demonstrate how to extract the very Milk of Human Kindness. It's just a metaphor, okay?

And, if you do nothing else I've suggested, DO invite all of your ex-inmates as honored guests to your home for a televised, Martha-style gala dinner.

But please DON'T order them around—they get that all the time, even after you left. And, for heaven's sake, DON'T make them play musical chairs to Jailhouse Rock.