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ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WITH NOTHING BURNING DOWN: At the Los Angeles premiere of Elf, the movie with Will Ferrell as a regular person raised by Santa and his little helpers, fake snow was used to put people in the holiday mood.

This sounds like a good idea.

This looked like a bad idea when shoppers at the mall hosting the event became alarmed, thinking the "snow" was ash from wildfires in the vicinity.

This became a worse idea when Ferrell joked, "Boy, nothing gets me in the holiday spirit more than the smell of a California brush fire."

Eventually, the shoppers figured out what was going on, the Los Angeles Daily News said. And they began taking digital photos and e-mailing cell phone videos of the "snow" to their friends.

SOME OF US CALL IT AN APRON: Gwen Stefani, the No Doubt singer perceived in some style-deprived corners as a fashion trendsetter, announced she will debut in the spring a clothing line that includes what are being called bum flaps.

"That's one of her signatures. She's been wearing them for a while," her head designer, Annie Younger, told the Associated Press.

Stefani is not partial to trap-door pajamas. A bum flap is described as a piece of fabric that looks like half of a pleated skirt and can be attached to the back of pants, worn slung across a hip or stacked for a layered effect.

THINGS JUST KEEP GETTING BETTER: Coupling and The Lyon's Den aside, the people at NBC aren't dummies. The guardians of the Bravo network agreed to more than double the salaries of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's Fab Five, the Hollywood Reporter reports. Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley and Jai Rodriguez will go from making $3,000 per show to at least $8,000 once the deal is signed. Also, NBC has agreed to show more episodes on its airwaves and pay the Fab Five for them, which it hasn't done for previous big-time, prime-time broadcasts.

AND HERE'S WHY THAT DEAL IS HAPPENING: Heard in a San Francisco hair salon, as relayed by the San Francisco Chronicle: "Oh, my brother has a new girlfriend now. She just moved in and is already trying to queer eye him."

You know you've arrived when the masses create a verb for you.

IT'S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS: Seen at 4:40 p.m. Monday on Alligator Alley: Florida license plate BEAT NYY. The plate was a regular one, though, not a Marlins or Devil Rays specialty. It must belong to a Red Sox fan.

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