All I Want for Christmas
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – I REALLY CAN'T WAIT FOR CHRISTMAS this year. I'm hoping for so many things under my tree, and I normally don't even have a tree. This year I put one up. That's how good I think this gifting season could be.

First, I'm dreaming of the new iPod that is inserted into your cerebellum with an air gun. They say it doesn't hurt a bit and you can get more than 10,000 songs piped directly into your auditory canal on demand, just by thinking about it. You say to yourself, "Kid Rock," and there he is, in your head ($6,452, Sharper Image).

After that, I'm going to get the Canon SuperSport 8000, the digital camera so new that if you don't ask very nicely, they won't sell it to you. It has more megapixels than existed at the beginning of the universe. Arm it with the amazing 260-terabyte CF2 Flash Card preloaded with the contents of the average human brain, and there's no limit to what you can do. The camera also serves as a phone, MP3 player, Internet browser, and gaming platform. It can be trained as a virtual pet, responding to affection, feeding, and punishment in a variety of entertaining ways (Asimov Industries, $2,304, shipping included).

There are those of us who don't want our electronics bundled but prefer to keep our phones in one pocket and our PDAs in another. I'm one. The sight of some wanker nattering away with a BlackBerry on his ear always makes me think of Maxwell Smart, the TV spy who had conversations on his shoe-phone. That's why I like the HohoMoto Slice M4, the cellphone so thin you have to spray it with a tinted liquid to see the numbers on its keypad, and dial it with a titanium stylus that attaches to the tip of your tongue, since no human hand can hold it. Now that's convenience (VaporWare, $585, in black with U2 African Aid/Music bundle or in Tom Cruise Clear).

As for PDAs, like you I'm coveting the ninth-generation Triage Tri-Corder, although I'm not sure I'm up to the challenge of actually using it. You have to get one of those experimental thumb jobs to make the most of the thing, the one where they kind of, well ... sharpen your thumbs. The process is not reversible. But it could be worth it. To type 60 words a minute on that little keypad would be awesome ($5,989, fully loaded, Sky-Mart and other catalogs).

All these toys come with the ultimate auditory add-on--the NeoLobe (Cornucopia, $79, in all imaginable skin tones), a Bluetooth device that wraps around your existing wetware and obviates the need for obnoxious wires, phones, and buds. Take it off at night and there!--your brain is your own again for five or six hours.

The time comes when you have to get out of the house, of course. And in that regard I'm hoping for one of those itty-bitty MicroCoopermobiles. I don't know how they do it. The thing is maybe, what--a foot long and six inches tall? But it goes from zero to 60 in four seconds flat and can fit four large Norwegians comfortably. That German engineering is really something (Teenydriver USA, $35,500).

What I'm really hankering for, though, is the prototype human being now coming online from Zygotics. It's amazing how far the field of robotics has come. These "people" will cook, drive, listen to your jokes, and laugh in a manner calibrated to match the level of humor your skin tension deems appropriate. Built into each 5,000-googolbyte brain stem is upgradable access to the entire knowledge base of civilization, a great search engine, and the ability to impart stock advice, management wisdom, and off-the-cuff remarks at a level of assertiveness you select. Comes in only two models right now--Alan, an avuncular older male presence that smells pleasantly of tweed, and Gigi, a sprightly younger female ($82,000, base models; ethical customization available upon request).

But let's get off it, shall we? I don't really want any more metal and silicon and plastic. Do you? Don't you have enough? What's this season all about? Throwing away everything we were excited about last year (or last week) and sucking up whatever tripe the marketers are hawking? I think not!

That's why what I really, truly want is a puppy. I understand they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with a bewildering assortment of coats in many colors, little moist noses and tongues, and tails that wag so fast that if their energy were harnessed it could light a city. Prices range from zero to, in the case of certain spaniels, the cost of a used Lexus. No matter what a miserable, ill-tempered butthead you are, they come with a lifetime supply of love--and teeth, to be used in your defense. Tidings of comfort and joy are included.

Now get busy! There are only a few shopping days left--until the next sequence of mandatory shopping days! Time is money!

STANLEY BING's latest book, Sun Tzu Was a Sissy: Conquer Your Enemies, Promote Your Friends, and Wage the REAL Art of War (HarperBusiness), is available at finer bookstores everywhere. He can be reached at