Dave Barry Gift Guide

Hand-Crank Siren


$99.99 plus shipping and handling from Kotula’s, 1850 Banks Rd., Fort Mill, S.C. 29715, 800-685-4845; www.kotulas.com

This is the ultimate gift for the person on your list who is concerned about personal safety, or simply enjoys attracting attention. This is a hand-cranked siren that, once you get it really cranking, can be heard a quarter of a mile away. It’s completely portable, weighing no more than a standard food processor and fitting easily into any purse large enough to carry a siren of this size. You can use it to repel a would-be mugger by either cranking the siren, or simply bludgeoning him senseless.

The siren also makes a great conversation piece. Say you’re at a restaurant with some iPhone owners who are — because this is what iPhone people do — demanding that you marvel at their latest "apps." Imagine their envious looks when you haul out this baby and start cranking it. Their iPhones cannot top that! And if they can, you can smash them with your siren.

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