RAUL RUBIERA/HERALD STAFF
Welcome to the 2002 edition of our annual Holiday Gift Guide, which was recently ranked No. 1 among all gift guides, based on a J.D. Power and Associates survey of people who believe they originated outside our solar system.
This is the gift guide for people who are sick and tired of giving the same old ''ho-hum'' type of holiday gift that somebody, somewhere, might conceivably want. There is no way that anybody on your holiday list, even with the aid of powerful pharmaceuticals, could be harboring a desire for any of the items in this gift guide. These items have been selected because they are truly unique ''one of a kind'' items that are sure to induce a surprised reaction from the lucky recipient, possibly involving paramedics.
How do we find the items in this gift guide? We make the extra effort, that's how. We dig. We root around. We pound the pavement. We search every nook and cranny. We leave no stone unturned. We scour the globe. We think outside the box. Sometimes we scour the box. We give 110 percent, take it to the next level and execute our game plan. We know that there is no ''I'' in ''team,'' and when the going gets tough, the tough get going, because when it comes to gut-check time, it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.
Seriously, we spend maybe 15 minutes ordering stuff by phone. But it's all real stuff. That is the special promise of the Holiday Gift Guide: These are all actual products that somebody is actually selling in exchange for actual money. You may find this hard to believe in the case of certain gifts -- the menopause pop-up book springs to mind -- but it's true. We know this because we have purchased all of these items (except for the Theme Coffins) (Yes! Theme Coffins!) using our corporate charge card, which any day now will be forcibly taken from us by armed corporate security guards.
Not only have we purchased these gift items, but we have also subjected each and every item to the extremely demanding Holiday Gift Guide Quality Testing Procedure, which is based on the testing procedure of Consumer Reports magazine, and which involves three rigorous steps:
STEP ONE: We receive the item in the mail.
STEP TWO: We give the item to Raul the Photographer, so he can take a funny picture of it.
STEP THREE (optional): Weeks later, we wonder whatever happened to the item after Raul was done with it.
Exhaustive? Yes. Almost pathologically thorough? Yes. But it is because of this Quality Testing Procedure that we are able to offer you, the consumer, our famous:
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE WARRANTY OF GUARANTEED ASSUREDNESS: If, for any reason whatsoever such as permanent facial scarring or sudden unexpected death, you are less than 100 percent satisfied with your Holiday Gift Guide purchase, simply call our Toll-Free Hotline number and try to reach one of our customer-service representatives. We say ''try,'' because we do not actually have a Toll-Free Hotline number, or customer-service representatives. But your call IS very important to us.
OK, enough of the ''legal fine print.'' Let's get to this year's Holiday Gift Guide.
Judi Smith, ABC Costume Shop, Franco Carreti, Jose Iglesias, Gabriela Iglesias, Amelia Iglesias, Vicente Kaufhold, Kachelle Kaufhold, Kelly Kaufhold, Fred Karrenberg, Andy Chifari, Liz Chifari, Valory Greenfield, Winston Townsend, Paul Borden, Ron Magill, Dan Fitzgerald, Bea Moss, Raul F. Rubiera, Suzy Mast, Wilfredo Lee, Tim Chapman, Michael Marko, Jon O'Neill, Aileen Torres, Lisette Elguezabal, Joaquin Muñoz, C.W. Griffin, Patrick Farrell, Lucy Farrell, Jodi Mailander Farrell, Barbara Hernandez, Marimer Codina, and Jorge Rubiera.