General Electric 100-watt soft bulbs (four-pack) . . . $1.44
Target, 1881 W. Lincoln, Anaheim, (714) 999-0606.
Amount of poor people required to screw in a light bulb . . . two: one to screw it in, and one to hold the candle.
Rich: BANG & OLUFSEN CD PLAYER
Music is the universal language, and there's the problem: anyone can listen to it. But how many people can listen to it on a CD player so unique and beautiful that it was displayed in the New York Museum of Modern Art? Bang & Olufsen's BeoSound 9000 CD player holds up to six CDs. It also has a memory that allows you to repeat or edit tracks for up to 200 CDs so you can repeat "Kill the Poor" from the Dead Kennedys' Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables while editing out "Let's Lynch the Landlord."
BeoSound 9000 . . . $4,000
BeoLab 8000 speakers . . . $3,000
Bang & Olufsen, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 751-2300.
Climber: DELUXE EMIGLIO-PLUS ROBOT
You've always dreamed of having someone wait on you hand-and-foot. Now, through the miracle of technology, you have Emiglio, who may be only 24 inches tall and require a remote control but is everything you've dreamed a servant would be: attentive, obedient and Latino. Emiglio delivers drinks, cookies and newspapers, and you can speak through his speaker to direct other family members to do your bidding. Emiglio just keeps on giving, converting easily into a night light and never asking for a day off or Social Security. And Emiglio can't be called before a Senate committee.
Deluxe Emiglio Plus Robot . . . $99.95
Sharper Image, MainPlace Mall, 2800 Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 953-0377.
Poseur: VINTAGE RECORD PLAYER
Who wouldn't feel the need to get up and bop around one of these blasts from the past-actual record players, fully restored and operational. Imagine the hours of ironic fun you can have making fun of the bad music you used to listen to: Three Dog Night, Carole King, "The Night Chicago Died." Imagine the joy when your friends are all gone, of closing your door and actually cranking up "The Night Chicago Died" and getting a lump in your throat when the guy's dad makes it home alive from the big shootout. Crank it!
Westinghouse Teen Model (detachable speakers) . . . $145
Olympic Kids Model . . . $75
Out of Vogue, 109 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 879-6647.
Poor: ORANGE COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY CARD
One of the best things about being poor-besides all the sympathy rained on you by the government-is that you are forced to make your own entertainment. You may not have the wherewithal to give Bang & Olufsen CD players, but you can give the gift of literature. An Orange County Public Library card is free, and it gives the holder access to each of the county's 25 branches. There, one can study Kevin Phillips' The Politics of Rich and Poor or The Communist Manifesto. If the mood gets too heavy, check out the laugh-out-loud madcap ravings of Norman Vincent Peale's side-splitting The Power of Positive Thinking (look for it in the Fantasy section).
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx . . . 335.422
The Politics of Rich and Poor by Kevin Phillips . . . 339.220973
You may ask, "Why not the Jaguar XK8 pictured on the cover?" Yes, the Jag is undoubtedly the most beautiful car in production, the apparent product of a carnal union between Tyra Banks and an F-16, but Christmas is not just a time of giving and getting but also a time of perspective. Let's keep the holidays in focus, people. The Mercedes is affordable, reliable transportation. It says your priorities are in order and you aren't one bit embarrassed to be seen in something that even middle managers can afford these days (the mutant C-class). Anyway, the Jag is much more of a Valentine's Day gift.
Okay, so your special someone can't afford the Mercedes or the Porsche or the BMW or the Ferrari or the Viper. He or she can look the part when you rent one for a day. All it takes is an insurance deposit 10 times the price of one day's rental-for the $275 Viper, that would be $2,750 on your credit card-and an insurance fee that's 10 percent of the rental price, and you or your special someone driving down to Palomar to pick up the car or paying a delivery fee to have it brought to you or to them, and paying 37 cents for every mile driven over 150. That's it! For one day, you can feel how the other half drives, as long as your special someone promises not to drink and drive and swears that he/she will be the only one who drives the car and provided that you call far enough in advance to reserve a car and provided they have the car there.
Porsche 911 Carerra (convertible, red or black) . . . $155
Exotic Auto Rental, (888) 639-6842.
Poseur: POWER TOOL SHOVEL
Show someone you appreciate their connection to the earth, their willingness to get their hands dirty with a shovel. Simple shovel, noble shovel, pointy-headed violator of the soil. Of course, this isn't just any shovel. Not with its Perma Grip Steel Collar, supplanting traditional rivets, making for a stronger shovel-shaft connection. Not with its Power Cone solid-Fiberglas-rod insert, which makes for maximum digging strength. Not with its heat-treated blade made from high-tech carbon steel, and certainly not with the redoubtable and spongy Pro Grip Non-Slip Gripping System, which makes for more effective-and comfortable-tilling of the earth, whether tending your organic herb garden or pet Shih-tzu, Doozie.