Published Sunday, Dec. 3, 2000 in The Miami Herald

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$59.95 plus shipping and handling from Good Catalog Company, 700 NE 55th St., Portland, Ore. 97213, phone 800-225-3870, fax 503-249-0708, Internet: www.goodcatalog.com

Suggested by Jim Martin of Soquel, Calif.

For far too long, the human race, when it hears a noise in the house at night, has been forced to carry a baseball bat in one hand and a flashlight in another. After spending decades trying to improve this system, the top engineers in the world came up with an amazing breakthrough concept: Put a flashlight inside a baseball bat! Now you carry a single device that enables you to both shine a light on an intruder, AND strike him with a bat. Unfortunately, because the light is in the end of the bat, you cannot do both of these things at the same time. Your best bet is to instruct the intruder to stand absolutely still while you take your backswing, so you'll be sure to make contact with him.

But this item is not just a highly effective weapon against criminals with tiny brains. It can also provide a definite ''edge'' in a baseball game, where the batter can use the light to flash Morse Code signals to his teammates, or to temporarily blind members of the opposing team. How do you think the so-called ''New York Yankees'' keep winning the World Series?

So this is the perfect gift for the sports enthusiast on your list, as well as anybody who needs personal protection. Your top New York fashion models all have flashlight bats tucked away in their handbags. It also fits perfectly on a keychain.

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