Gifts of the Week

Real gifts for those real-life situations

Cost: $79.99

We dedicate this gift to our dads, the most practical people we know. Dad was the man who drew a map of a Costco parking lot so we wouldn't make the same illegal (and ticketed!) U-turn around the cement island that he did; the man who saved us a wad of cash by providing original records of vaccinations we received when we were six; the man who instructed us to never put money in our mouths because "you never know who might have just wiped their boo and touched that money." This 235-Piece Tool Set is the most comprehensive tool kit you can buy for the most practical (bless him!) member of your family. Chrome-plated, drop-forged carbon steel tools are packed in a seven-section tool box that opens flat for easy access. The kit includes a 41-piece socket set (metric and standard), a 27-piece wrench set, a 23-piece screwdriver set, a 34-piece electrical tool set, as well as other utility items such as a tire pressure gauge and 8-foot, 100A jumper cables for use in your boat, trailer, or car. You may very well never use these, but, according to Dad, you never know. Where: West Marine Products, 1-800-262-8464 or www.westmarine.com.

Cost: $45

All right, men: Do your lower parts hurt when you even think of riding a bicycle? Do you take the bus rather than ride your bike to save yourself the pain? What you need is the Original Men's Liberator, a bike seat designed with your "little friend" in mind. It's wide and well-padded with a triangular wedge cut out of the center—perfectly positioned to let it all hang out. In solid black or black/red. Where: Terry, 1-800-289-9110.

Cost: $32

Martha Stewart's greatest home decorating idea yet: the black wire French fry tree. Buy this amazing Tiered Wirework Stand and dazzle all your friends with your incredible taste, talent, originality, and inventiveness. Don't you want to be just like Martha? Tune in next week, when we learn how to make pillows using nothing but the hair that collects in various brushes around the house. Now that's not just lifestyle, that's living! Where: Martha by Mail, 1-800-950-7130 or www.marthabymail.com.

Cost: $29.95

So you're stuck in Seattle for the winter. The cement-gray sky weighs your soul down like a funeral shroud; cold winds gnaw at your bones; pale faces shadowed by umbrellas pass by you on the sidewalk, oblivious to your plight. Well, snap out of it, and gulp down a little soul food and a heap of eye candy with Lonely Planet's Sacred India. A gorgeous 166 pages of fiery photographs, educational yet inspiring text, and a foreword by William Dalyrimple, Sacred India journeys to the land that boasts the world's largest Islamic population, one of the world's oldest Jewish communities, and the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. With images of painted holy cows, golden temples, and fierce Tibetan deities, Sacred India offers something for everyone from the land-locked backpacker to the soul searcher to the lover of pretty pictures. Where: Lonely Planet, www.lonelyplanet.com.

Cost: $10

Humpback whales, pandas, sea turtles, and tigers—these animals may be on the endangered species list, but that can't keep us from cutting them up into little pieces and feeding them to our children! Endangered Animals Cookie Cutters are the perfect gift for friends who are just as concerned with feeding their children's tummies as raising their awareness. Where: Harmony, 1-800-869-3446.

Cost: $6

Meditation rooms in high-strung corporate settings; images of the Buddha plastered all over tight tees from Urban Outfitters; the gamelan providing an even sharper edge to indie rock; Calvin Klein advising you to "Be" rather than "Become". . . . As we turn the final page in the 20th century, we find ourselves approaching an equilibrium between East and West, and it's all about balance rather than the bomb. As the real world becomes one world, why not cash in on this WE (West, East, and We) culture with a symbolic gift of the new world: Forkchops. This elegant hybrid will help prove that you're not too much of a chopstick snob yet you're also not a nitwit who insists on stabbing at shrimp or scooping up rice with a knife and fork. Textured tips on the chopstick ends will boost your skills, while knife and fork ends can come to the rescue in case of cramps or those slippery phad Thai noodles. In black plastic. Where: Chiasso, 1-800-654-3570 or www.chiasso.com.

 
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