When she put it in her pants and got into her car, it jammed her in the ribs. It made her formfitting jacket bulge when she put it under her arm. She sought professional help, but none was forthcoming. What's a gal to do? Linda Mutchnick, a paralegal in Pennsylvania, took matters into her own hands and founded a line of clothes called Pistol-ERA "for the armed woman." Her aim, alliteratively described in her catalog, is to provide "firearm-capable women's apparel that is functional, formfitting and fashionable." The line features clothes that accommodate, for example, that pesky accessory, the shoulder holster.
Mutchnick is part of a growing trend of gun and equipment manufacturers that have taken notice of the more than 15 million women who own firearms. Handguns are now being made with smaller grips for feminine hands; holster-equipped fanny packs for joggers are also fast-selling items. Other innovations include bra holsters, pelvis holsters--even spandex holsters that fit in the waist of skirts and slacks.
Mutchnick--who'd rather use a gun with a trigger guard large enough to accommodate her long red fingernails than cut them--sees her business as a natural extension of women's liberation. "Women aren't taken seriously as gun owners. We're stereotyped as argumentative, aggressive and perhaps unfeminine." When a photographer sent to take her picture suggested she soften her expression, she replied, "A woman with a gun in her hand shouldn't be smiling." And we, perhaps, shouldn't be so quick to point out peculiar bulges in her clothing.
Don't Kid Yourself
A hot book on the self-help shelf these days is Your Body Believes Every Word You Say (Asian Publishing), by Barbara Levine. Levine contends that phrases such as "give me a break" ultimately contribute to broken bones, and that positive clichés--"it does my heart good"--should be used instead. In that spirit, we've come up with a list of clichés to avoid and their appropriate alternatives:
You're busting my balls: "You're caressing my testicles."
I'm such a dumb shit: "I'm a regular guy."
Got my head up my ass: "Searching inside for new ideas."
You're messing with my head: "Please sit on my face."
Blow me: "Blow me. Please."
An Emir Rates
The Kuwaiti Olympic Association wanted to find a way to honor Sheikh Fahad al-Ahmed al-Sabah--the only member of the Kuwaiti royal family to lose his life during the Gulf war. So, as a memorial, the association painted the sheikh's Lincoln Town Car gold, mounted it on a marble stand, installed a sculpted fist smashing through its roof and bathed the whole thing in floodlights.
Guess they'll have to wait for Jurassic Park to open. The Memphis Zoo opened an exhibit, "Dinosaurs Live," featuring computerized replicas of our large prehistoric friends. At last report, six people had asked for refunds of the $2.50 admission price when they learned that the exhibit did not have actual living dinosaurs.
99 Bottles of Beer
And now, 99 Ways to Open a Beer Bottle Without a Bottle Opener. In a book not destined to be included in the Modern Library series, author Brett Stern uses photographs to demonstrate basic thirst-relieving maneuvers of opening beer bottles on lawn mowers, fire hydrants, public phones--even the trunk of a police car. Conspicuously absent is the method for doing so while handcuffed.
Making Money the old-Fashioned way
When J.S.G. Boggs comes up short of cash, he simply draws more. Using colored inks, he renders freehand reproductions of American currency, then barters them--as art, not funny money--for goods and services. However, the U.S. Secret Service wants to nail him for counterfeiting. It's wasting its time: Boggs always embellishes his bills with such obvious play-money touches as "The Unit of State of Bohemia" and his own signature. And finally, unlike U.S. currency, Boggs' money tends to increase in value over time.
Grunge chic: Rusk, a company based in Los Angeles, introduced a product that gives clean hair the look and feel of hair "that hasn't been washed in three days."
The Model Soldier
Many of us like to play dress-up, but only renegade commando Oliver North can build a mail-order business around it. North can be seen sporting his new line of bulletproof vests on the back cover of the 1993 U.S. Cavalry, a catalog featuring the "world's finest military and adventure equipment." In the ad's accompanying blurb, North--appearing as sincere and heartfelt as when he faced Congress--says, "I needed to save my life. That's why I founded Guardian Technologies International--the life saving company."
Financially Gifted, Cleaning Impaired
Donna Goldberg of New York City has opened Organized Student, a consulting service that--for $85 to $125 per hour--advises kids on how to clean up their rooms. The New York Times quoted a ninth-grade patron who confessed, "I try to keep going by myself, but I can't do it." Try paying Goldberg's bill on your own, kid, and we have a feeling your room will clean itself.
Maintenance workers in Alexandria, Indiana solved a street-flooding problem when they yanked out a 200-pound hair ball from a manhole. One of the men said, "We thought we had a goat."
C.R.U.D.: The Sequel
Biologists in China found a 77-pound slime ball floating on a river in Shansi province. The pure-white fungus gained 22 pounds in the first three days it was observed, and scientists were surprised to learn that it has the ability to move across the ground on its own.
In December 1992, Colorado State University student Heath Johnson was pressured to remove his painting from display at the Lory Student Center. Titled Sesame's Treat, Heath's canvas shows Muppet characters Bert and Ernie in an intimate position while Big Bird peeps in through the window. Children's Television Workshop, crying copyright infringement, threatened the college with legal action unless the painting was destroyed. To its credit, CSU left the decision to display the painting up to Johnson, who removed it voluntarily. He plans to replace it with an enlarged copy of the letter censuring the painting.
Italy's Health Minister, Francesco de Lorenzo, recently informed his country that the smallest condom sold in Italy was larger than those available in the rest of Europe. "At least Italy is maxi in something," proclaimed the newspaper Il Giornale. The mouthpiece of the former Communist Party, L'Unitá, even advised foreign tourists to bring condoms from home. The enthusiasm was short-lived, however, when the claim was proved false and De Lorenzo retracted his statement.