As a public service, I am announcing there are slightly more than four weeks of shopping left until Christmas. I’m sure most of you gals have completed your shopping for 2007 and are thinking about your 2008 list. Guys are thinking, "Good thing I don’t have to Christmas shop for another four weeks." To help guys shift into the gifting mode, I’ve been saving ideas from the March issue of Men’s Journal magazine and their feature article “A Man’s Toys.” Herein is compiled “an immoderate guide to the coolest, best designed, and flat-out funnest playthings money can buy.” And, in a nod to rationality, they propose (somewhat) closer approximations for less dinero. Starting off small they propose top-of-the-line darts at lazerdarts.com. These “Black Widows” have a tungsten barrel, side grooves for smoother release, and retractable steel tip for fewer bounce-offs at a mere $185 for a boxed set of three. No alternative is proposed, the implication is, if you are going to play darts, only the best will do. I’m sure this applies to golf clubs and pool cues also, but we guys understand such axioms, they don’t have to be in print. Onward and upward, Redfish Kayak master builder Joe Greenley spends up to 400 hours to produce exquisite 17-foot, nine-inch boats with strips of exotic lightweight woods. These “King” vessels are then covered with an epoxy and fiberglass sheath. At a mere 40 lbs., the boat is easy to transport. Drifting silently along one of our lakes you’ll be so happy about the noise dampening wood hull and easy paddling that the price (from $8,000; redfishkayak.com) will make you glad you didn’t consider a do-it-yourself kit for $1,500.

In terms of gifts, the sky is the limit when it comes to boating. The article tops out with The Wallypower 118 powered by three 5,600-hp gas turbines that propel this missile shaped luxury yacht at up to 60 knots. This sinister dark hulled boat is crafted of carbon fiber and laminated composite glass. The techno supremacy does not stop at the outer shell. Inside there is a state of the art lounge and galley that adds to the scene stealing presence this boat will probably have in the next Bond film. At a mere $25 million it may not be the best choice for Lake Dartmoor but you could dock it at the nearest ocean port to run across the pond to Monaco. The alternative proposal is perfect for a late fall cruise on Dartmoor and the teak-lined Whitehall Spirit 14 rowboat will save you $24, 993,000.

We are dreaming aren’t we? It’s time to go straight to the top-sail. In a new book, Mine’s Bigger, by David A. Kaplan, reviewed by Pete Du Pont in the Aug. 31, 2007 Wall Street Journal, we are introduced to The Maltese Falcon. The Falcon is the inspiration and passion of Thomas J. Perkins, one of the most successful venture capitalist in America. Mr. Perkins has been a yacht racing enthusiast since college days at MIT where he sailed a 12-foot Tech Dingy. After a long history of storied yachts, Mr. Perkins discovered the model of the boat of his dreams at the Perini yacht yard in Istanbul, Turkey. After five years of design and building the nearly 300-foot sailing behemoth, Mr. Perkins can honestly claim to any sailing yachtsman, “Mines bigger.” The Falcon has two 1,800 hp diesel engines and three 25-ton carbon fiber electronically rotating masts reaching 20 stories high. With 15 sails totaling 8,600 sq. ft. the Falcon cruises at 12 to 14 knots and can reach nearly 25 knots in gale winds. No, you can’t buy it, but you can rent it for a mere $440,000 per week plus food, fuel, dock fees, and a 10 percent tip for the crew of 16.

My wife separated me from my reverie with a start, “What are you dreaming about now?”

“I’m thinking about ideas for your Christmas present.” I replied adroitly.

She smiled and replied “Oh, I’ve got some wonderful suggestions.”

She gave me that suspicious stare when I replied, “You better save those for the next column.”

Kudos, gripes, suggestions? E-mail dfbackus@aol.com.