A Better Breed of Diary
You know how it is—you buy a new journal and promise yourself that you'll record the important events of the day, but then you end up spending all your time updating your blog. Well, with a handsome letterpressed journal by Paper+Cup ($14-$19, Oblation Papers & Press, 516 NW 12th Ave., 223-1093), emblazoned with elegant etchings of animals and vehicles, you'll have to drag yourself away.
Air travel under the Bush administration requires special precautions; stressed-out travelers are more likely than ever before to grab the wrong bag. Pamela Barsky comes to the rescue with her line of brightly colored luggage tags ($12, pamelabarsky.com). The tags, which come in a sets of six with matching plastic ties, keep the barbarians at bay with a variety of warnings ("This is not your suitcase") to make sure you get home with your clothes.
The Last Gift You'll Ever Want... or Need
So you've looked everywhere and can't find anything worth giving your sweet Baboo that the little cretin doesn't already have in abundance. Screw it. Head over to Balloons on Broadway and grab one of a number of rubber chickens ($8.95-$16.95, 617 SW Washington St., 241-3336). They're useless and it's a bitch biting the heads off, but deep down inside everyone needs one. And in a pinch they make a nice dog toy.
All the More to Love
To ring in the holidays, Kiehl's apothecary has drummed up all of its little pharmacy elves to formulate a super-snazzy box set of limited-edition bath products and candles (prices vary, Kiehl's, 712 NW 23rd Ave., 223-7676). Offer this scentsual gift with handcrafted pure beeswax grapefruit and amber candles ($28) accompanied by limited-edition pear tree body cleanser ($15) and lotion ($19.50) for that extra-special loved one. But prepare to massage those lovely love handles.
Crash Course for the Casual Hero
Sometimes it takes superhuman effort just to get through the day. Maybe that's why Quirk Books published their superhero handbooks ($15.95, Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651), pocket survival guides for the workaday champion (or comic fan) with all the tricks that Batman, Superman and Spider-Man use to survive their work schedules. Short of a glowing meteor, it's the best way to learn heroics.
Your Writing Lacks "Weight"
Sweep that pile of chewed-up, dried-out Bics off your desk; we've got a real pen for you. Perfectly balanced and sturdily constructed, the Retro 1951 Tornado ($19.95, Franklin Covey, 340 SW Morrison St., 223-5944) is a writing instrument that demands to be taken seriously. With a sturdy body heavy enough to break a window if thrown, this is one pen that won't end up shattered on the floor of the bus.
Make 'em Dance
Ever wish you had Cheney obeying every wag of your finger? Turn all your political fantasies true with Axis of Evil Finger Puppets ($19, Presents of Mind, 3633 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 230-7740), kinda-cute renditions of Donald, George, Dick and Condi. The box converts into a puppet theater so you can line 'em up and make 'em sing "525,600 Minutes" before resigning and apologizing profusely. Man, if only.
So you like wine, but never could taste the papaya and cinnamon. Who can blame you? Let your wino friends know you're sick of the snobbery with a Bob's your uncle Wine-Tasting Quotes Coaster set ($16.50, basbleu.com), a pad of paper coasters with a dozen made-up oenophilic quotes ("The palate goes on and on") to haul out the next time your buds start reenacting Sideways.
Music to Your Rears
Make a music-lover happy and help support Portland's most underrated arts organization at the same time: Give season tickets to the Columbia Symphony Orchestra ($20-$100, columbiasymphony.org, 234-4077) for a whole year of wonderful music performed by Northwest musicians. Hell, it's better than sitting at home listening to the same old Stravinski recordings over and over again.
Sewing (For the Barely Skilled)
Even the clumsiest crafter can sew together a lovable little animal with Let's Stitch: Frank! ($24, EggPress.com, see page 3) from the screenprinting wizards at Portland's Egg Press. Just cut out the pattern, stitch up the edges and stuff Frank full of the filling of your choice and cuddle the adorable little bastard like there's no tomorrow. Printed on canvas tough enough to stand up to a dozen destruction-minded toddlers, Frank is definitely kid-safe.
Brace yourself: This one's just plain creepy. Some madman's gone and edited Georgie W's face onto a bunch of vintage photos to create the W Deck ($12.95, The Jelly Bean, 721 SW 10th Ave., 222-5888), 52 original compositions featuring the most powerful man in the world as a '40s pinup girl, a Victorian mama, Queen Elizabeth, etc. We guarantee you've never seen anything like it. Warning: may induce screaming fits.
It might not be as good as pigs-in-a-blanket, but Gummy Bacon ($3.95, Balloons on Broadway, 617 SW Washington St., 241-3336) hold its own as a treat. Just don't put it on a hamburger.
In an attempt to expand auto air-freshener design away from multicolored trees, Blue Q created fresh-looking car air fresheners ($3, Greg's, 3707 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 235-1257) in the shape of mullets, cat butts, Dick Cheney and the mud-flap girl.
Sanity in 20 Squats
It's tough to fit a workout into a daily schedule, especially for moms. The Sane Fitness Quickstart ($24.95, sanefit.com) can simplify make squeezing essential exercises into busy schedules.
A Gift to Give
Empower ravaged communities around the world and deduct it from your taxes. P-town's own Mercy Corps offers a gift option called Mercy Kits ($50-$1,000, mercycorps.org/mercykits). One example is the $80 Women's Health Kit, to help lower mortality rates during pregnancy and childbirth.
BUSH IT TILL YOU DIE
The Backwards Bush Desk Clock ($18.99, backwardsbush.com) counts down W's remaining days in office—and the amount of time people can still profit off him by selling cheap crap made in China. But forget that last comment. The clock makes a funny stocking stuffer.
We've Got to Get Out of This Place
With habeas corpus gone the way of the dodo and a nuclear showdown with North Korea looming, we're all thinking the same thing: We have to get the hell out of here! Coming to the rescue is Mark Ehrman with Getting Out: Your Guide to Leaving America ($16.95, Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651), a step-by-step how-to for the would-be expatriate.
TABLE OF CONTENTS: Introduction | Toys, Gadgets & Gizmos | Books, Stationery & Ephemera | Outdoors | Entertainment: Music & DVDS | Fashion | Food & Drink | Furnishings | Pets | Sacred & Profane | Stocking Stuffers