Everyone knows the Israelis are the baddest mensches on the block; now let them teach you the secrets that allow their defense forces to kick ass six ways to Sabbath. It's called Krav Maga and though we're not sure what that means—likely the sound would-be assailants make when their one good eye is shown the eye just scooped from its skull hole—we're sure you'll love it's commonsense approach to self-defense. Forget that Karate Kid wax on, wax off hooey, Krav Maga is totally, ruthlessly utilitarian. It's about turning doughy devotees into groin-grabbing, face-punching, groin-kicking, bear-hugging, groin-punching, choke-holding, groin-slapping, eye-gouging, groin-holding, groin-choking, groin-gouging machines. Krav Maga isn't one martial arts; it's all of them melded with a bar fight, The Jerry Springer Show and Saturday night at the Kennedy compound. At the highest levels, students are taught to handle hostage situations and military techniques for covert debilitation and assassination (you may be asked to provide your own poison umbrella.) So kick it! Krav Maga, that is. You'll be groin you did! Jewish Federation Campus, 250 Baker St., Costa Mesa, (714) 755-5555; Martial Arts Training Center of Seal Beach, 1017 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Seal Beach, (562) 598-2004.
TALON EXECUTIVE SERVICES INC.
What better gift for the white-collar executive in your home than the security of Talon Executive Services Inc. Founded in 1994 by former agents of the FBI and U.S. Secret Service, Talon is comprised largely of personnel with experience in federal law enforcement. If you're in the upper ranks of a big corporation, you may have more enemies than you know—and you probably know a lot of enemies. Talon offers corporate-executive protection, workplace-violence prevention and threat assessment, electronic surveillance countermeasures, forensic investigation, information-systems security, surveillance, background investigation, litigation support, asset protection, and—deep breath—corporate security consulting. Talon Executive Services, P.O. Box 8509, Fountain Valley, (714) 434-7476; www.talonexec.com.
ROGER WALSH'S ESSENTIAL SPIRITUALITY
We live among holy men and women, one of whom is UC Irvine medical-school professor Dr. Roger Walsh. Born in Australia, Walsh began his own search for answers to big questions while training for shrinkhood at Stanford University in the 1970s. He began not by running around libraries, but by sitting for hours, days, weeks and months. He has done more sitting on his ass for a week than you have driving, walking and running for a lifetime: he has found answers. Rather than hand you the answers, Walsh hands you the sitting in Essential Spirituality, his 1999 book subtitled The seven central practices to awaken heart and mind. Among those practices especially useful now: chapter 12, "Exercises to reduce fear and anger" ("Most people," Walsh writes, "live spellbound by the belief that they are helpless victims of their emotions"). Note to spirituality freaks: Walsh is a close friend and ally of philosopher Ken Wilber. Essential Spirituality by Roger Walsh, with a foreword by the Dalai Lama; John Wiley & Sons, 1999. Hardcover, $24.95; paperback, $15.95.
The year was 2001. We were stationed in a small hut in remotest Bora Bora. The bombs were dropping like rain, it was around Christmas time, and we were homesick. Then we saw her. The most amazing hairless woman you'd hope to lay eyes on. And not just hairless like a Brazilian swimsuit model, but hairless like completely bald with no eyebrows or eyelashes. She was like a dream, this smooth, post-nuclear creature, and she was eating a most unusual substance that resembled green paste. It was Nad's, the hair-removal gel from Australia. Incredible! Made from honey, molasses, fructose, vinegar, lemon juice, water, alcohol and food dye, Nad's is not only an indulgent beauty treatment but also—should something interfere with your food supply, and you've already eaten your shoes—a tasty snack. Get yours today! NAD'S, P.O. Box 8168, Van Nuys, CA 91409-8168; www.nads.com. $29.95, plus $7.95 for shipping and handling (California residents add 8% sales tax).
Photo by Jack Gould
House reduced to rubble? Camping tent gone up in thick, black, toxic smoke? You could curl up in a puddle and shiver and die whimpering. Or you could take a leaf—a willow leaf!—from our brothers and sisters, the Acjachemem people who lived peaceably in what is now Orange County for millennia before the Spaniards. Dig a hole. Create an elaborate willow-branch and tule-reed framework in the shape of an igloo, leaving a hole in the top for smoke. Shingle with dried leaves or the treated hides of small animals. Too primitive? Won't work? Hey, it worked fine for the Acjachemem . . . until they were wiped out by the Spanish. Hole in the ground? Free. Willow branches? Free. Shelter: priceless.
Within three weeks of the Sept. 11 attack, Jerusalem-based Apco Aviation unfurled Executivechute, a lightweight (4 pounds), backpack-type parachute that makes reliable landings from a minimum height of 10 stories (a height requirement that's perfect for the ever-growing number of skyscrapers in Irvine, Newport Center, Santa Ana, Orange, South Coast Metro and elsewhere in OC). The Executivechute's ripcord can be attached to heavy furniture or a special hook that will allow the military-style round canopy to open automatically once Mr. Big leaps out of his penthouse suite. Apco managing director Anatoly Cohn does warn that the landing will be hard and its unlikely the user will know how to do the standard paratroop roll, "but we figure a twisted ankle is a small price to pay for life." Speaking of small prices, you can easily expense the Executivechute: it's only $795 (shipping's extra). Executivechute Corp., 866-EXECUTV (393-2888); www.executive chute.com; email@example.com. Product may not be suitable for support staff with incomes less than $250,000.
ALUMINUM FOIL (AS A WEAPON)
When the bombs come tumbling down, what are you going to do? Cower in the slit trench you made your surly oldest son hack out of the back yard? Or strike back? Take a lesson from the last tiny quagmire of a nation to knock a superpower on its ass and fight firepower with foil—aluminum foil, that is! The Brits might have used little strips to befuddle Nazi radar during the Good War, but the Vietcong reputedly took it to the next level. When U.S. fighter jets zoomed in over the jungle on strafing runs, Charlie would slingshot big balls of radar-reflecting tin foil into the sky, and if they got lucky, those ultrasophisticated fighter jets' collision-detection systems would spot the monster radar target, take automatic evasive action, and flip the plane into the ground. And for only pennies per volley! So the next time hostile air power rockets over your house, don't panic—just grab some foil . . . and have a ball! Available at area supermarkets.
DELUXE "SURVIVO" 5-IN-1
It's dark. You're cold. You're hungry. You're tired. It's raining. No, it's snowing. Wait—nahh, it's just raining. You've got no power, no food and no hope. Rescue seems distant. But then you remember you've got your Deluxe "Survivo" 5-in-1 survival thing. You're saved! It has a waterproof matchbox. It has a shrill signal whistle. It has a signal mirror. It has a liquid-filled compass with a luminous dial. It has a fire-starter flint. It has all that! Now how much would you pay for this device—no, this system—for protecting you and your spouse or significant other? Wait, don't answer yet! $29.95? No! $24.95? Hell, no! $19.95? Don't even think about it! $12.95? What are you, insane?! $1.95? What, do you think we're insane? How about $4.95? No, seriously. $4.95. Really. Honest. Act now, and you'll get a nylon lanyard as a special bonus. A LANYARD! Survival Instinct, 28715 Los Alisos Blvd., Ste. 7-420, Mission Viejo, CA 92692; www.survivalinstinct.com. $4.95.
CIVILIAN SMOKE MASK
How many times have you reached for your old-fashioned, Army-issue gas mask during a three-alarm, bio-terrorism attack in your housing tract and struggled getting it over your head and making sure it's sealed tightly, let alone fitting one over a hysterical child yelling, "Mommy, Mommy, my eyes are bleeding"? Fortunately, Newport Beach-based Xcaper Industries has introduced a simple-to-use mask sure to revolutionize the industry. The Xcaper Civilian Smoke Mask is lightweight, vacuum-sealed and easy to use. The glow-in-the-dark mask may not protect against most chemical and biological weapons terrorists have in their arsenals, but it does filter out smoke, particulate matter, asbestos, water-soluble gases (such as cyanide, Acrolein and hydrochloric acid) and strong odors—even the ones that come out of Uncle Ned after a bag of Funions. Best of all, the Xcaper Civilian Smoke Mask has a five-year shelf life, and its bright-green color is easy to be seen and something you'll want to be seen in, matching any chic nuclear-winter-wear collection. Xcaper Industries, 1601 Dover St., Ste. 299, Newport Beach, (949) 852-2021; www.whiffs.net; firstname.lastname@example.org. $29.95.
MEALS READY TO EAT
You wear the right clothes. Know the right people. Work the right job. Live in the right planned community. You've got it all figured out—but what happens when they blow it all to hell? Let's get real: you might be doing everything right, but you wouldn't know how to forage for food in the wild if your life depended on it. And you shouldn't have to! The day you get down on your hands and knees and throttle a squirrel with your bare, manicured hands is the day the terrorists win. You're an American, so eat like one with these prepackaged, gourmet-the-Army-way meals ready to eat! Available as tantalizing, hermetically sealed dinners for one, requiring no preparation besides tearing where it says, "TEAR HERE." Survival Instinct, 28715 Los Alisos Blvd., Ste. 7-420, Mission Viejo, CA 92692; www.survivalinstinct. com. Case of 12, $69.95 plus tax.
ALUMINUM FOIL (FOR PROTECTION)
Listen! We're on your side. We've heard the voices, too! And you're not crazy! It's the government! Secret supertransmitters designed to keep the population stupid! And it's working too well! But there's hope. They won't get YOU! Not with our help, anyway. Contrary to what you might have been told by most members of America's street-lunatic establishment—dear God, do you think they've been compromised?!?—wrapping your head in foil is not enough! They're already one step ahead of us! The transmitters are underground! Disguised as septic tanks or something! And they get to you through your feet! We're serious! It's on the Internet! But foil can still save you. Just put a sheet inside each of your shoes, and you'll be safe . . . until they read this, and then they figure out we're on to them, and then it'll just start all over again! We're through the looking glass here, people! Available at area supermarkets.
This is your one-stop shopping headquarters for all things apocalyptic. That's a big responsibility—one the good folks at Survival Instinct take seriously. "Let us face it," they write—not the colloquial "let's," but the somber "let us"!—in their 16-page catalog. "Disasters happen whether we like it or not. There is no worse thing than the surprise of having broken tools and rotten food in your survival pack." Wise words. And Survival Instinct backs up that philosophy with good stuff. Like Meals Ready to Eat ($69.95 per case of 12 meals, with substantial discounts for bulk orders), water-filtration systems ($279 for the "Big Berky" model), first-aid kits ($142.50 for the START II medical kit) and stun guns ($24.95 for a 100,000-volt model). And remember, as Survival Instinct says, "With your own disaster preparedness and survival pack, you do not have to wait until the Red Cross or the National Guard gets to you." Survival Instinct, 28715 Los Alisos Blvd., Ste. 7-420, Mission Viejo, CA 92692; www.survivalinstinct.com.
Catastrophes have a tendency to disrupt the balance of things. For instance, women outnumber men. That has allowed men to treat singles bars like salad bars: the guys generally get their pick of the freshest, ripest offerings. But that could change amid your garden-variety holocaust. If men were to suddenly outnumber women, the non-fairer sex would be forced to doll themselves up, pluck unwanted hairs and generally make themselves stand out. U.K. jeansmaker Lee Cooper has just the ticket: Packit Jeans. Originally sold during the disco era—when no one batted an eyebrow at multiple gold chains, platform shoes with fish swimming inside the see-through heels, and silk shirts unbuttoned to expose a bear-skin worth of chest hairs—Packit Jeans work on the same principle as push-up bras: they create the impression that something's there that isn't. In this case, the "isn't" is a bulge that will surely have the ladies—and approximately 10 percent of men—salivating. Yes, disaster is horrible, but it shouldn't keep you from getting more tail than Sinatra. Lee Cooper Jeans, 011-44-208-450-31-44; www.leecooper.com.
What's the first thing somebody's bound to ask after you've piled the wife and kids and a few precious keepsakes into the family buggy for a last-chance, full-speed drive into the desert in desperate flight from advancing hordes? Yep: What's for dinner? This time, instead of collapsing into a sobbing heap, simply pop the hood and hand 'em a fork. If you've followed one of the 40 recipes in Manifold Destiny—the cookbook that shows you how to use your engine as a stove—chow is on. And these aren't just any meals. In Manifold Destiny, authors Chris Maynard and Bill Scheller tell you precisely how many miles it takes to braise a fish filet, whether to use your exhaust manifold or your valve cover for a pork tenderloin, whether your Jaguar was really designed with veal scaloppini in mind—and more! There's nothing like a great meal to turn a primitive cave dwelling into a home. And now you're cookin' with gas—oline! Manifold Destiny by Chris Maynard and Bill Scheller; Random House, 1995. Paperback, $9.95.
Syagen's Brian Niews
Photo by Jack Gould
SYAGEN BOMB & CHEMICAL DETECTOR
How can you guarantee your New Year's Blow-out doesn't turn into a New Year's Blow-up? You could rent some guy with a gold tooth and a malodorous polyester stretch suit to wave a wand around party guests stepping over the threshold of your grand Pacific Ocean-view demesne. But you don't want your friends groped, handled, squeezed, tweezed, poked or prodded on the remote chance they're packing TNT, plutonium, strontium, sarin or smallpox—certainly not before cocktails! Thank God for Syagen! The Tustin-based company's patented detector can find mere specks of dangerous substances—chemical and biological—lingering on the clothes of party crashers. Worried about that unsuspicious-looking blonde in the St. John Knit? No worries with Syagen: ask her to step into the Syagen detector, spend just 12 to 15 seconds asking after affairs at the Harbor Day School/Pacific Club/Mariner's Church, and let Syagen go to work. Discreet air jets ruffle clothing; equally quiet intakes suck up and analyze trace amounts of several highly dangerous organic and inorganic compounds. Thanks to the miracle of mass spectrometry, you'll know before she finishes answering your idle cocktail-party interrogatives whether she's got looks that not only could kill, but also will! Great for home or office. Syagen is working on a million-dollar grant from the U.S. FAA and isn't allowed to say precisely how much the detector will cost, but sources suggest between $100,000 and $200,000. Syagen Technology Inc., 1411 Warner Ave., Tustin, (714) 258-4400; www.syagen.com.
Okay, so the distant explosions are rattling your home, and you've cast yourself prostrate upon your floor, intent on humbling yourself in urgent prayer. Now what? That is, what kind of prayer are you going to say? Those in the know will be saying the Rosary—translated, "crown of roses"—that collection of 50 Hail Marys, 5 Our Fathers, a Glory Be and some other stuff. The details vary, depending on your Catholic school, but the power of this string of devotionals does not: recite it regularly, and the Blessed Virgin Mary will have your back. In fact, there are 15 actual promises that she made, her very own self, and though they're all pretty good, we direct your attention to Nos. 5 and 6 in particular: (5) "Those who trust themselves to me through the Rosary will not perish" and (6) "Whoever recites my Rosary devoutly reflecting on the mysteries, shall never be overwhelmed by misfortune." In times like these, that's gold! St. Theresa's Catholic Gift Shop, 300 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana, (714) 542-6907. $4.99-$13.99.
There comes, finally, a moment of clarity, when the nonstop turmoil of the past few months seems to subside and something like your true self emerges. This is when you take a few moments to reflect on all that you—that all of us—have been through. And that's when you realize you don't have a blessed clue what the hell anybody is talking about! You can't remember one solitary thing! It's all lost in a blackout! You've been totally blotto! Again! Because you're a sad, sorry, goddamn drunk! Oh, don't start with the excuses. Everybody has heard them all before. And don't ask the rest of us to get you up to speed. We've got our own problems, now, pal; no more enabling you. You want help? You're gonna have to go where they can help you—a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Rarely has a person failed who has thoroughly followed their path. And if you want what they have and are willing to go to any length to get it, you'll show up with their basic text, the so-called "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous. There are more than 20 million of them in print. The fourth edition just came out last month. There's a meeting somewhere tonight. Of course, there's a bar open somewhere, too. Choice is yours. Big Book, Fourth Edition, available at AA Central Office, 1526 Brookhollow Dr., Ste. 75, Santa Ana, (714) 556-4555. $5.50.
Does your spouse come home late on a regular basis? Teenage children acting strange? Is your next-door neighbor weird-looking? What about your local Boy Scout troop leader or Catholic priest? How do you know they don't have a criminal past in Thailand or Turkey? You can never be too sure. Fortunately, there's Aultman Investigations, serving Orange County with 25 years' experience in private investigations: video surveillance, photo surveillance, divorce, stalking, harassment and "all types of personal matters, very discreetly handled." Aultman Investigations, (714) 772-7260; www.AultmanInvestigations.com.
ALUMINUM FOIL (AS ANSWER)
Maybe you don't have much to depend on in these troubled times. Religion? That's what got us into this mess. Family? Please. Drugs and drink? Great while they last. Sex? Yes, please! We think you need something more. Something reliable. Something that lasts. Something elemental. An element like . . . aluminum! Or, say, aluminum foil! Take a sheet out of that roll you keep under the sink. Hold it gingerly in your hand. Look at it. Feel it. So shiny, so supple, so smooth . . . Shhhhh, my ductile element found chiefly in bauxite. No words. Let me just hold you. Tighter. Harder. Harder. Let me squeeze you in my fist until the veins pop between my knuckles. Release my rage, beloved corrosion-resistant alloy. Release! Release! Oh, God, that's good! Now, let me peel you apart. Careful! Go slow. You'd like perhaps a malt-liquor bottle to smooth you out. Let me roll you. Gently. Smooth. Uncrumpled. Unsqueezed. Un-raged. Almost as good as new. And then I look at you, and I see myself. Available at area supermarkets.
THE G-1 ULTRALIGHT HELICOPTER
Bad foreign people sending your neighborhood up in smoke? Don't panic! Just hop in your slick G-1 helicopter, take off from anywhere—buckling skyscrapers, imploding mosques, collapsing bathhouses—and flip 'em the bird from 8,000 feet up Road Warrior style! Sure, it holds only 400 pounds, so you'll have to choose between your wife or your children—but, hey, you'll look so bitchen, why not just pick up a sexy hitchhiker on the way and head to your post-nuclear paradise south of the border? Vortech Inc., www.prismz.com. Construction plans for the Amazing G-1 Helicopter: $24.95 (plus $3 shipping and handling). Parts, assembly and labor: $200. Look on your wife's face when you paint it cherry red and name itRamrod: priceless.
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Having a hard time discerning between aggressive virus-laden meat rations and docile government-sterilized virus-laden meat rations? End the confusion and embark on a world of creative cuisine using the Edible Plants and Animals guide. Why worry about someone tampering with your black-market strawberry jam? Instead, pull out that scythe and gather up some wild cattails for delicious cattail jelly! Don't waste time mulling over whether to serve a radioactive knish or tainted tuna steak, just grab a hammer, head to the park and—wham! Squirrel tartar sans genetic mutations. Learn to make kangaroo-tail soup, how to enjoy lice without the fear of typhus, and how to boil tumor-like medallions of corn smut for that special family occasion. Don't live in fear of food contamination—just eat food no other living soul would touch! Edible Plants and Animals: Unusual Foods from Aardvark to Zamia by A.D. and Helen Livingston; Facts on File, 1993. Hardcover, $29.95.
In these times of uncertainty, when old institutions and traditions seem outdated, when the law seems inadequate to the crises, people begin looking for answers. They talk to their friends and neighbors. They read books. They go to church. And what happens? Absolutely nothing. World's still teetering on that knife edge. It's much better just to dull the pain. And the best way to do that is by drinking copious amounts of alcohol. Whiskey, bourbon, vodka—it makes no difference. Booze. Hooch. Yum yum. Rot gut. Captain Happy. El Blotto. The Curse of the Irish. The hard stuff. Ask for it by name. Available at fine liquor stores countywide.