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Last year, at the very top of my Christmas list was an end to George W. Bush's presidency. Well, I got my gift, except I have to wait until 2008 to unwrap it. Unless, of course, the Republicans decide that it's far too dangerous to change presidents anymore at all and make W. Ruler for Life. Don't laugh. It's their world now, we just live in it (and supply the cannon fodder).

So in light of this depressing reality, topping my Christmas list is a means of escape. And the best way to do that, methinks, is a shiny new BMW R1200GS motorcycle (MSRP $15,260, BMW of Orlando, 11601 S. Orange Blossom Trail, 407-826-4BMW). Yes, I'm in the throes of a full-on midlife crisis ("it's only a crisis if you don't act on it") and it's time to rekindle my relationship with motorcycles. It's been 10 years since I've owned a bike, and damn I miss it.

This particular motorcycle is the latest incarnation of the dual-sport category BMW created back in 1980 with the R80 G/S. It's got two big cylinders jutting out at right angles from the side of the bike, it's got anti-lock brakes and it's got that let's-tour-Algiers look about it. Perhaps you've seen Long Way Round on Bravo, a reality show based on the adventures of actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman as they ride their BMW motorcycles around the world, eating goat testicles in Mongolia and traversing the infamous Road of Bones in Siberia. (If you saw episode No. 2, you'll likely never forget the drunk Russian with an AK-47 in one hand and a guitar in the other.) I, too, want to eat goat testicles in Mongolia and ride the Road of Bones. So get me that BMW, please.

Of course I'll need some serious time off, with pay (half of 2005 would do nicely, boss; think of it as a mental-health sabbatical) for my globe-trotting run. I promise to return a more sane, dedicated employee, if I'm not killed. Long vacations are all the rage in Europe, by the way.

Continuing right along in the chuck-it-all-and-leave vein, I'd also like Santa to stuff a new Catalina 387 sailboat ($163,044, Massey Yacht Sales, 1110 Third Street, Suite No. 2, St. Petersburg, 877-552-0525) in my stocking. Understandably there's a good deal of sticker shock that goes along with this request, but in reality this is a lot of boat for the money. Trust me.

I did a little window shopping recently at the All Sail show in St. Petersburg, and settled on this beauty as the perfect combination of livability and size. See, I'll need something big enough to live on when I circumnavigate the globe, stopping for lengthy periods in Tahiti and Fiji to dive in azure waters and drop a hook in the shadow of extinct volcanoes. Of course if some kind benefactor were to step up and surprise me with one, I'd be really excited. I'd even pick up the docking fee; I'm not asking for the moon here.

What else might you get me this year? Just odds and ends. I could use an air compressor, preferably a 30-gallon, six-horsepower, 120-volt Craftsman model from Sears ($329.99), because I really dig air tools but will probably never buy one for myself. I'd like to find the correct front bumper for my '74 Karmann Ghia, so if you have one of those lying around …. I'd like world peace. I'd like to teach the world to sing but I think Jessica Young already asked for that, so never mind. I could use more black socks. I want to be left alone, yet I want to make a difference. I want my backache to go away. I want Christmas to mean something again, just like Linus, you know.


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