Thursday, November 25, 2010

What We’re Thankful for at the Real Deal Brazil

It’s that gracious time of year again.

We at the Real Deal Brazil have certainly got our own list of grateful fors. So, in no particular order, we’re thankful for the following wildly fulfilling, utterly fantastic stuff:

You. Cuz, gosh, you’re swell. Seriously, you buy our Real Deal Brazil hats, and wear them. You get your friends to buy our hats, and wear them, too. You order ’em as birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, Dad’s Day gifts, anniversary gifts, gifts for Guy Fawkes Day (our hat is great at British bonfires!), even Halloween gifts to yourself. So we’re just all about you, ya big lug, you!

Brazil. Lots of hot people there, often wearing little more than dental floss for clothing. Plus, that Brazil nut is indeed a tasty thing. And as for that Terry Gilliam movie – a hoot! Not to mention they sure can make a nice hat!

Woody Harrelson. The environmentally minded lunatic actor saw something utterly him in our atypical headwear early on in the filming for Zombieland, and requested that our Real Deal Brazil hat be added to his badass wardrobe for the film. Then many, many people obviously saw our hat because of wonderful the zombie-slaying former goofy Cheers bartender and, well, life is good.

Beer. It’s good, too. Well, the good stuff’s good anyway. The other stuff is just beer. Which is still good.

Cocoa. It’s just nice. Cozy. Happy. Especially with those little marshmallows in it.

Irish whiskey. Jameson, Bushmills, OK! Goes really nice in cocoa, and is also very useful for making really bad decisions that later wind up being great stories you can’t tell your kids. Especially since one or two of those bad decisions might actually have ended up becoming, y’know, your kids!

Our men and women in uniform. They do what they do so the rest of us can be who we are, and then too often take that fact for granted. Doesn’t matter what we think about this war or that politician, cuz when you get right down to it, our service men and women live the sacrifice. You sirs and ma’ams just rock!

Snoozing. Screw that Black Friday 4 a.m. shopping mess. You can have your hand-held plasma TV toaster-oven vacuum cleaner with wireless remote. We’re sleeping in instead!

Family. They make us nuts, cuz when you get right down to it, they’re us and we’re them. And what could be better, or worse? We just wish we could figure out how we’re supposed to be related to “Uncle Arnie.” That guy’s a total freak.

Friends. They’re like family, except we can ask them to leave, and they actually will.

Pets. They’re like family, but with fur. Also, they don’t require money for college. Just no goldfish, please! That damn Uncle Arnie keeps putting them in his beer and drinking them.

Cake. It’s cake, after all.

Pie. It’s good like cake, except that it’s pie. And by pie, we mean pumpkin. Or, really, pretty much anything else for that matter. Cuz it’s pie.

Chainsaws. Sometimes, you need to carve up a pumpkin really quick, right? For pie. Also, chainsaws can be used in a pinch on zombies, assuming you don’t have a gun handy, or have suddenly run out of guacamole and the undead are all at once making a beeline for your brains.

Zombies. We love us some zeds! Just maybe not in our kitchen at the end of a holiday party. Because zombies just never want to go home when the night’s over. They eat all the guacamole with their flesh-rotting fingers. They drink out of the toilet and pee right in the potted plants. On the plus side, if the party gets really out of hand and someone feels the need to shoot somebody else, or get busy with, say, a chainsaw, zombies are already dead, so no harm, no foul, y’know?

Santa. An in yes, Virginia, we at the Real Deal Brazil very much believe in Mr. Claus! We also believe that the Jolly Old Elf wears our hat whenever he can get away with taking off that pointy red thing with the big white bob on the end of it. Because why wouldn’t he love our hat? Our headwear is, after all, sanctified fabulous. Or, in this case, Santified fabulous! Plus, our Real Deal Brazil hats and bags make for the coolest present you could hope to find under your holiday tree. Find one there, or put one there, and see.

Space Ghost Coast to Coast reruns. One word: Brak.

Warren Zevon. The late, and unfathomably great. We firmly believe that the guy who wrote “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” (and, yes, “Werewolves of London”) would, if still with us today, be all over our Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat. And even if, by some fluke of fate, he wasn’t, well, we sure wear our own RDB when we listen, often, to his genius music!

Terriers. It’s on FX. That Donal Logue is a funny guy.

The Big Bang Theory. Oh, Sheldon!

Snoopy. As in the dog. He howls and hangs out with a slightly oversized yellow bird and fights World War I air battles atop his doghouse. Plus, he would seem to cook a good Thanksgiving turkey in that Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special we just now watched again for the 183rd time.

Thanksgiving-dinner leftovers. Especially pie. Hopefully, there’s a little of that pumpkin still left …

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Real Deal Brazil in Way-Cool Windsurfing Pics, Part Two

Four blog entries back we posted a great set of pictures of Newport News, Va., Real Deal Brazil fan Glenn Woodell indulging his passion for windsurfing off North Carolina’s Outer Banks … all the while wearing his Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat!

We thought that was plenty cool enough, what with Glenn skimming fast across the waters of the Pamlico Sound with our hat somehow staying perched atop his head, even without the benefit of our Real Deal Brazil Hat Hitch Wind Strap (sadly, Glenn did later lose his original RDB to the salty depths). And the dude wears that tarp hat well! He’s got that whole rugged-individualist thing going hard.

But then we got a note from Amber Malish-Sconyers, the photographer who shot Glenn’s windsurfing pictures, one of which appears again above, and we suddenly realized we had no idea just how cool …

Amber sent us four additional photos of Glenn windsurfing off Hatteras Island (those new pics follow the text here). Seeing them was a bit of a shock after viewing the first set – because in the new set, Glenn is missing a leg.

But that can’t be right! Glenn’s got two legs in the pictures we posted earlier!

Actually, come to think of it, you don’t see his lower legs at all in the original photos. But surely he’s got two legs, right? The guy’s windsurfing, after all. That takes balance and coordination and grace and all that stuff that most of us like to pretend we’ve got in droves, but then, there’s actually a reason most of us didn’t grow up to be Olympic gymnasts, or become the pro partners on Dancing With the Stars

In the new set of pictures, you obviously do see Glenn’s legs. Or rather, you see his one leg. In place of where you readily expect the other one to be is a prosthetic, and a very space-agey one, at that.

Glenn, it turns out, is an above-the-knee amputee. He lost the lower part of his right leg in a car accident back in his 20s.

After several e-mail conversations with Glenn since, we figured out that he didn’t include any pictures that show the prosthetic in part because he intended the photos to be about our Real Deal Brazil hat, and not about him. We’re obviously very flattered by that.

Because yes, including shots with the prosthetic kind of asks people to focus on the prosthetic instead, the upshot being that many of those same folks (including, we confess, us here at the Real Deal Brazil) then find themselves tempted to regard Glenn’s accomplishments on the board as somehow larger than life.

Glenn does, after all, make something that most of us couldn’t do on two legs look ridiculously easy, and he’s only working with half as many full limbs!

This is the same guy who also enjoys drag racing and roller-skating, for Pete’s sake. Not to mention that he volunteers as an EMT with his local hospital, and takes the time to visit soon-to-be amputees to offer positive insight into living with a prosthetic device.

So it really is easy to think of this guy as being pretty extraordinary, y’know?

But don’t, he says.

“I am Glenn who just happens to have five less toes than most people,” he explains, “rather than Super Glenn who overcomes all obstacles.”

OK, so let’s go with this, then: Glenn is a guy who’s actively chosen to turn an adversity into both a challenge and an opportunity, something the rest of us can no doubt draw inspiration from. And in this mad, often inhospitable rush called modern life, inspiration is routinely in woefully short supply.

Which is to say that while we at the Real Deal Brazil are normally more than willing to give all credit for coolness to our uncommon hats, the fact remains that Glenn probably deserves at least a few of those props himself!

Thanks for making our great hat look even better, amigo

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Real Deal Story of Real-Life Recovery

Some adventures we don’t seek. Don’t ask for. Don’t want. Yet it’s these things, of course, that often do the most to define us …

This posting from Real Deal Brazil fan Kim DeVoid Colby of Manchester, N.H., about her husband, Rob, appeared on our Facebook fan page Oct. 24, and gave us real pause:

“Today my husband did something noble,” Kim begins.

Rob, we then learn, was recently diagnosed with cancer, specifically, Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Knowing what treatment he was facing, and that it would inevitably result in temporary baldness, Rob decided to do something proactive. He lopped off his hair – all two feet of it – and donated it to Locks of Love (, the wonderful nonprofit group that provides hairpieces to underprivileged kids in the U.S. and Canada living with long-term medical hair-loss.

And through it all, what was Rob’s biggest concern about himself? Not that he was going to be bald from the chemo. Not even that the chemo, in fighting the cancer, would be brutal on his body. No, Rob’s pressing worry was about his hat. His beloved Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat.

“His one thought … will his Real Deal hat still fit??” Kim writes. “We love your products and while his hat will fit him again ..., he will be hatless until I can make a skull cap to keep it in place. Thanks for being his number one concern while he loses his hair that has been long for 16 years!!! LOL.”

We’ve since received several notes directly from Rob himself. In one he included a few pictures detailing the beginning of his journey with chemotherapy.

In the first photo, above, we see Rob still with his long hair. He’s contemplating, he says, “the vast journey soon ahead of me.

“As with all great adventures, one must make a sacrifice,” he muses on his decision to donate his long-held long hair. “An offering to those who look down upon us and bless or curse the path before us.”

The next two photos, which follow the text here, are post-haircut. In the first of those, Rob is on his way in to beginning chemo at Foundation Oncology and Hematology in Nashua, N.H., about a half-hour’s drive south of Manchester. (“I am still missing the hair,” Rob writes.) In the second, Rob is “all hooked up and getting the stuff pumped into me,” he notes.

Rob has unfortunately been no stranger to health concerns even before the cancer diagnosis. He’s someone who routinely lives with a lot of pain, suffering from reflex sympathetic dystrophy (or RSDS, a poorly understood syndrome associated with compromised immune-system function), fibromyalgia, bursitis and arthritis.

Any of that would be enough to turn a person’s thoughts dark and squarely inward, yet that’s hardly what comes across in Rob’s e-mails to us. Instead, what shines through is his ready good humor: "If I could offer any advice to anyone who has to get chemo," he says at one point, "get a seat near the bathroom. Man, I was peeing every 5 minutes...”

The other thing most apparent in Rob’s notes is his quickness to praise the folks taking care of him, from the oncology doctor who called him on her own time to ask if he had any questions before beginning chemo to the nurse who tried to ease his boredom by teaching him to knit – “which,” Rob notes, “I am doing pretty good at if I do say so myself.”

In fact, Rob simply can’t say enough about the nursing care he’s been receiving. The nurses at Foundation Oncology and Hematology, he says, are “the Real Deal when it comes to helping others.” (We couldn’t have ever said that any better ourselves, Rob!)

“The nurse who is in charge of my treatment went out of her way to find out a bit about my RSDS and Fibro and how my body would react to the treatments,” Rob reveals. “She didn't have to so this, (but) because (she did anyway), they made sure to give me a bit more of the anti-nausea meds to hopefully spare me the extra pain the vomiting would incur.

“It might be the Chemo and me feeling icky and sick,” he adds, “but I'm getting all sorts of emotional thinking about what I have seen (the nurses at Foundation Oncology and Hematology) do for people so far and I've only been there two days. I still have about 4 more months and can only imagine what I'll see.”

Kim is actually in nursing school herself at the moment, and Rob, she says, keeps telling her, "You better get some learning out of this; I want all this crap to amount to something."

The nurses, Kim adds, "are sooo nice there; they keep teaching me more and more."

Rob is right now going through something none of us wants to imagine could ever happen to us, and his concern for others throughout is incredibly admirable, and more than a little humbling. “Noble,” as his wife has put it.

So at the Real Deal Brazil, we’re really honored to think we’re any small part of Rob’s healing process, and wish him our heartfelt best on his path to his own revitalized Real Deal future.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Family That Real Deal Brazils Together ...

Joe Swenson of Boulder, Colo., has been with us almost since we started in the way-cool-hats-and-bags business, the kind of fan who just doesn't quit. Once Joe had become sold on the Real Deal Brazil -- and how that happened is a story in itself, which we'll get to in a moment -- he immediately started spreading the good word, first buying Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hats and then, later, Real Deal Brazil bags, for family members and friends as well. And at every turn, Joe and his family were not only proudly wearing and using our products, but talking us up, to boot! We could not ask for better Real Deal Brazil ambassadors, and we're grateful to the nth degree.

A few months ago, Joe, a self-described "recovering lawyer," sent a new terrific batch of pictures of him and his family doing one of the things they love best, fishing. We kept trying to figure out the best home for these shots, since we really wanted to share them all. So at long last, after having the kind of a-ha moment that made us feel dumb, since it was so obvious -- The blog! Let's put them in the blog! -- we're including them here, in our blog.

The bulk of the photos appear at the end of this text. And in all of these pics, the Swenson family is back, you might say, at the scene of the crime. Huntington, N.Y., on Long Island's North Shore., where they vacation each year at Grandpa's house.

It was there that the family's ongoing Real Deal adventures first began more than two years ago, toward the end of their summer stay in 2008.

It goes like this: Joe and wife Cyndy, plus son Zach, then age 13, and daughter Elle Joe, then 11, were taking a midday walk on the beach. A storm the previous night had littered the water’s edge with the typical flotsam. However, Zach spotted a clump up ahead that seemed out of place. The thing was covered in sand and seaweed, rolling around in the unusually choppy surf. Maybe, he thought, it was some kind of fabric ... ?

“We expected some old, cruddy rag,” Joe wrote in an e-mail to us not long after, “but Zach found a treasure instead.”

It was a hat, the family discovered, kind of like the Indiana Jones one, but way brawnier. The logo on it said "The Real Deal Brazil." The story of how the hat was made was printed prominently inside. “It was like finding a message in a bottle, of sorts,” Joe noted.

Other than some fraying around the brim, which only added to the hat’s rugged character, the dense recycled-truck-tarp fabric appeared unmarred by its mystery seafaring adventure. So after rinsing the hat and shaking it off, everyone tried it on; fittingly, it fit Zach perfectly.

“Now he’s the envy of the entire family,” Joe said.

And soon enough, Joe had bought RDB hats for Cyndy, Elle Joe and his own brother, as well. And also, yes, one for himself. But that really was just the start, and we've long ago lost track of how many more he's picked up since!

In the note accompanying this great batch of family-at-fun photos, we received an update from Joe on how he now uses his Real Deal Brazil Iguape messenger bag: "I tried the Bag as a Briefcase in my alter-ego life as an Attorney," he wrote us, "but The Bag was too cool for the Courtroom. It works perfectly as a Surf Tackle Bag, it's original purpose set out by its designers, I am sure."

But of course, Joe! Whatever fantastic way you happen to put it into service is absolutely the way we intended it be used.

Our ongoing thanks to you and your family, for being so dang Real Deal, every step of the way.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Real Deal Brazil Hat in Way-Cool Windsurfing Pics!

At the Real Deal Brazil, we get a whole lot of cool pictures from fans of our distinctive, each-one-one-of-a-kind hat. Sometimes, we get a slew of photos from just one person, and then have to decide on one or two of the bunch to post at our Facebook site, just to keep the size of the galleries down, and to keep from overwhelming potential viewers.

But then, every now and again, we get a batch from one person that's just impossible to whittle down to one or two photos – the whole set is fantastic! Such is the case with these shots from windsurfer Glenn Woodell of Newport News, Va., the bulk of which appear below this text. We weren't about to pick. So we're putting them all up here instead!

Glenn sent us a terrific note along with the photos:

"I have been wearing one of your tarp hats and it's the best hat ever. I even bought one for my dad. I have been wearing it for everything for the past year, especially while windsurfing. Unfortunately today while I was windsurfing in the wind and waves from tropical storm Nicole, I got tumbled in the big shorebreak and my hat got ripped off my head. I let go of my gear and went after my hat but after getting hit by another large wave I lost sight of it forever. I searched for almost an hour after that to no avail. So I am going to have to order a new one. I got my first one while on Hatteras Island, NC but I can't wait to go back so I'll order one online but with the strap that you now sell. :)

Thanks for making such a cool hat."

Our thanks backatcha, Glenn, for being such a cool guy wearing our cool hat!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How The Real Deal Brazil Recycled-Tarp Hat Saved All of Humanity. A True Story.

What follows is sort of long. But give it a few minutes. Because doing so could just save your life.

To begin with, you should know that at the Real Deal Brazil, our own zombie-killing bona fides run far deeper than just our being the hat worn by that wildass Woody Harrelson in Zombieland.

Because we at The Real Deal Brazil have prevented the worst of all possible things, something of cataclysmic awfulness, something formerly just the realm of horror flicks and fantasy fiction. We have, you see, recently foiled an insidious global plot to enslave us all – by turning us all into zombies. Real ones. We’re talking full-on zombie horde here, with horrible oozy dead people lurching around lusting after the tender sweetmeats of the still-living, plus the usual stuff going boom, societies collapsing, the human race going out like a light, etc., the whole apocalyptic ball of wax. This is all true, of course, else we wouldn’t be telling you about it.

We should mention here that we didn’t do all of this on purpose. But accidentally saving humanity still counts! Cuz while most of you have been busy going to work, or maybe beating the Metropolis level in Halo 2 or finishing a crossword puzzle, we, on the other hand, have made it so nearly everyone alive is not now lumbering around soulless, in rags for clothes and with one eye hanging out of their heads, trying to eat the mailman’s brains, while one of the few remaining living human beings – decked out, no doubt, in one of our fabulously protective Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hats! – tries to blow all your undead brains out with a sawed-off Smith & Wesson loaded with chopped-up construction nails. Your welcome.

We don’t, however, suggest you try confirming any of this. It’s just not safe to do that! The People Who Control All the Stuff You Always Secretly Suspected Was Controlled by Someone Who Would Kill You if Ever You Learned About It will surely track you down, toot sweet. These pitiless evildoers will then arrange it so you yourself might quickly qualify to become a zombie, so to speak. See, these are just bad people. Truly awful. So it’s best to simply trust us on this one, OK? We’re heroes of the highest order, after all, which automatically makes us very trustworthy.

The story here is expectedly dark and twisted, traversing oceans and spanning continents, and involving, of course, shadowy ne’er-do-wells with unlimited financial means and hard-to-pronounce names jam-packed with consonants and very few vowels. But mostly it’s about a guy named Ted, a laid-off Coney Island Tilt-a-Whirl operator from Jersey City prone to lousy judgment, and with a fashion sense straight out of a Nick Nolte mug shot.

This whole thing actually went down only about a month ago. Really, it was just that recently, and you hadn’t so much as the faintest idea, right? Scary stuff.

It happened like this: Ted, resplendent in an ocean-blue nightmare of a shirt excruciatingly detailed with orange parrots and blood-red hibiscus blooms, was camping out at his cousin Tony’s Hamilton Square Condo, on the opposite side of Jersey City from Ted’s own rent-free room in his parents’ single-story walkup. Tony had a steady state job, and sometimes his ex would even let him keep his 9-year-old son, though mostly, no. It was a few minutes after 11 p.m. on a Friday, following two solid hours of Ted and Tony slamming Jaeger shots with Heineken chasers every time someone on MTV said “yo!” A hammered Tony had just turned in, scheduled to pull a double the next day working a turnpike tollbooth. (You can safely check this last detail. Call the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. Ask if they’ve got a guy named Tony working for them. They do. You’ll see.)

With Tony off to bed, Ted made a beeline for his cousin’s fridge; per usual, there was nothing good to eat in there. And Ted had a sudden yen for a salami-and-cheese sub, though he probably should have just settled for a couple slices of Tony’s bologna. Good sense, never in overabundance with Ted anyway, was right then in particularly short supply. Because he was actually a whole lot more hammered than his cousin (Ted had taken a shot even when someone on MTV said “you,” reasoning that it was still “yo,” just with an extra letter). But how was he gonna make it the dozen blocks south and half a block west to Esperanto’s Pizzeria before they closed at midnight? Ted couldn’t see blowing his unemployment on a friggin’ cab ride, y’know? Of course, if he’d just checked with the restaurant to begin with, problem solved; Esperanto’s has free delivery. If he’d checked, which he didn’t.

And so it was that Ted set out from Tony’s precariously perched atop Tony’s kid’s nuclear-green BMX bike with the big silver sticker that said “CHAOS” on it. Ted’s knees came up so high he could barely keep his balance, but sometimes you just want a nice salami-and-cheese, so what the hell, y’know? Ted also nabbed a Heiny for the road, plus that crazy-cool Real Deal Brazil hat his cousin had bought online after seeing that effed-up zombie flick with the bartender from Cheers in it. And damn if it didn’t make him look kind of cool, too – in an out-of-work-carny-in-a-loud-Hawaiian-shirt-and-swim-trunks sort of way. Seeing himself in the hall mirror reminded Ted he really needed to ask his ma to do some of his laundry soon. His swim trunks were the only thing by way of pants that were sort of clean when Tony had dropped by to pick him up earlier. Up until then, Ted had just been kinda laying around in his underwear.

Ted got his directions fouled up from the start, wobbling out of Hamilton Square going north. A few blocks and a poorly chosen right turn later, and he was pedaling due east on 12th Street, coming up short on a slowing Sunoco gas truck. In another what-the-hell moment, he grabbed hold of the truck bumper with his left hand, figuring the driver would be going slow through town and Ted wouldn’t have to pedal any more for a bit. He was already badly winded. It was all he could do to hold his beer in his right hand and still keep a grip on the bike handlebar, too.

It occurred to Ted a bit too late that he was now, in fact, headed straight into the Holland Tunnel, unseen in the truck shadows. As the lanes converged down to two and the driver started speeding up, Ted had the sudden presence of mind to freak out a little, letting loose of the bumper. Confusion gave way to terror as Ted found himself squeezed between the two lanes of westbound traffic, which were actually moving at a pretty good clip for the tunnel. Gritting his teeth through the horn blats and eff yous, Ted pointed the bike just as hard as he could, straight down that blessed centerline. There was nowhere else to go but forward.

After what felt like hours of frantic peddling – it was actually right at 17 minutes – Ted glimpsed the tunnel exit just ahead. The relief that overcame him caused him to lose all focus. “Oh, God!” his mind screamed, upon realizing he’d just drifted too far left. “Oh, Jesus! I’m dead! I’m dead!”

Ted wasn’t aware he’d maneuvered himself into a brief lull in left-lane traffic. Immediately, he jerked back wildly to the right, his spastic movement launching him straight over into the other lane instead; Ted’s head came just inches from colliding with the souped-up Impala then passing fast beside him. So it seemed almost like a dream when he heard what later he was pretty sure was a car grinding against the left tunnel wall behind him, then a sound back to his right like metal being pounded apart by giant hammers. But all that was drowned out by an unholy explosion, followed then by sudden wave of heat pressing against his back like a furious fist. “I shoulda just had the bologna!” Ted’s mind howled. “I shoulda just eaten Tony’s freakin’ bologna!”

And then Ted and his little green bike were spilling out into the cool air of Canal Street in lower Manhattan, just feet ahead of a careening metal fireball that finally scraped and skidded and slammed into a mangled heap against the left guard wall.

By then Ted had become blind terror itself. Scooting down every side street he chanced upon, he finally came to an exhausted halt at a stoplight about 15 minutes later, more sober than he’d ever been in his life, and with his heart beating about two feet in front of his chest. Ted found himself then on Catherine Street, the heart of Chinatown, with a tiny wrinkled woman in an oversized straw hat trying to sell him a live chicken. He started laughing in a gasping sputter, then promptly burst into tears. Only later, after scarfing down an egg roll that tasted like a grease fire, did Ted realize he’d left Tony’s wearing his cousin’s favorite hat, and that hat was now no longer atop his head. Tony was going to take a pretty dim view of this. Also, come to think of it, Ted had Tony’s kid’s bike, too. And then there was that whole thing about a car that apparently had, y’know, blown up behind him. And all he’d freakin’ wanted was a freakin’ Italian sub, y’know?

It took Ted much of the rest of the night, but he managed to pedal all the way down to Coney Island. He still had a couple bucks left, and when the parks opened in the morning, he was gonna ride the Tilt-a-Whirl.

Cut to about eight months prior, to the tiny Eastern European country of Banglivoria, a place you’ve never heard of because some – including the citizens of Banglivoria themselves – insist it doesn’t even exist.

Banglivoria is less a distinct country than it is a ferociously guarded private theme park of bad, worse and worst – imagine a Disneyland for the world’s tyrants, terrorists and thugs, for those ex-CIA goons who killed Kennedy and the NASA jokers who faked the moon landings, for the bloke pretending to be Paul McCartney, for former Third World despots and Illuminati New World Order-ites, for blood-diamond profiteers, Facebook spammers, horse thieves and beyond. Also, Simon Cowell, ex of American Idol. The tiny Balkan country’s ruling elite decided, upon carving out the place in the mid 1980s from hinterlands its neighbors had no use for once a certain outlandish selling price was established, that it was far more profitable to auction itself to the highest bidder than to bother with such vagaries as the global economy or such bureaucratic claptrap as taxation.

In Banglivoria, they don’t return phone calls, and all mail addressed there comes back stamped “SORRY, NO SUCH PLACE.” Though appearing on no map and not recognized by any other country, Banglivoria is, in fact, very real, the world’s most secretive, and permissive, service economy. (Think Vegas, but with a thick accent and Texas-size bollocks.) For the right price, your every nasty little wish is their very willing command.

It was here that a small summit of the world’s most powerfully and imaginatively corrupt met to discuss a plot to bring about the kind of global domination usually only boasted about in Superman movies with a young Gene Hackman. Turn the people of the world into nonliving, breathing zombies, the thinking went, and then turn those zombies into slaves for us, the world’s most powerfully and imaginatively corrupt.

“Oh, please,” you yourself may now be saying. “That’s all just more silly movie talk.” Oh, if only. If only!

Offer a bunch of godless scientists some fat cash incentives and killer stock options in the expanding Asian market, a mention in People magazine of having once dated Adriana Lima, a catered dinner with Leonard Nimoy and an open bar, and just watch how long before humanity isn’t drooling all over itself in hunger for a taste of its own flesh is all we’re sayin’!

These science sellouts began by extracting the potent alkaloids from what’s commonly called devil’s weed (scientific name datura stromoniom, the basis of the Haitian voodoo paste known as the zombie cucumber) and infusing it with select DNA strands swiped from hemodialysis blood from Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, the crusty eye deposits of several South American three-toed sloths and liposuction leftovers from unaging pop icon Cher. They then added a couple shakes of powdered human pineal gland, two jiggers of Vicks Nyquil and roughly 17 ounces of that artificial maple syrup flavor in Jimmy Dean’s Chocolate Chip Sausage & Pancakes on a Stick, irradiating the whole horrid brew with a highly focused blast of Strontium 90. And voilĂ , liquid-evil concentrate.

This undeath-dealing concoction was to be unleashed into select urban water supplies worldwide by simply pouring it into any sink, shower drain or toilet. Once drawn back to the water-treatment facility and then piped out again, the life-corroding compound would, even after heavy filtration, chlorination and massive dilution, begin to fulfill its despicable purpose, with just a few seemingly innocent sips from a glass of tainted water turning a living human being into an ambulatory enslaved corpse with a raging case of the cerebellum munchies. As in first you’re dead and then you’re not, and then it’s all “Zombie, fetch me my slippers” and “Zombie, go overthrow the government” and “Zombie, tell me you love me.”

The inaugural test site had always been a foregone conclusion. New York City. Of course. Because the world would simply overlook the widespread manifestation of zombie traits as just another example of what typically passes in the Big Apple as native charm. Then, by the time the wretched truth was fully understood, the new zombies would already, in essence, be breeding their own, in their inevitable quest for untainted human flesh.

Bingo, the start of your basic zombie apocalypse.

Ten lead-lined vials of the vile solution were shipped into Newark on a pallet of Chinese plush toys that themselves would have sent any working Geiger counter into a whacked-out conniption fit. The vials were to be shepherded into New York City by a former Geffen Records executive, the same guy who had signed pop super-group ASIA back in the ’80s. An unrepentantly evil man, and already something of a zombie himself, when you get right down to it. Once in the city, he’d drive a block in any direction to a Starbucks where, following a quick latte, he’d pay a visit to the bathroom, shut himself in the stall and basically flush humanity straight down the toilet.

The driver had been uneventfully navigating his black Lexus eastbound through the Holland Tunnel when, just within sight of the exit, he was startled by some moron in an atypical hat and an impossibly loud shirt furiously pedaling a kid’s bike straight down the centerline. The bicyclist himself then appeared startled, jerking the bike headlong into the driver’s path before overcorrecting in an arc that nearly sent him into the side of another car bearing up hard on the right. With one arm up as if to block the feared collision – and what the hell was that in his hand? A beer? – the guy on the bike promptly knocked loose his hat and dropped his brew. The hat, tumbling over his left shoulder, bounced atop the hood of the Lexus and up against the windshield. The driver impulsively flipped on his wipers, which promptly hung up on the sturdy fabric of the Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat, jamming the twitching blades and blocking all forward visibility. At once blinded, the driver involuntarily yanked down on the steering wheel, and the Lexus struck the left curb at a hard angle, its wheels catapulting upward to be pinned against the metal pedestrian barricade. The fireworks display of sparks from rims grinding against steel caused an immediate chain reaction in drivers to the rear; slamming brakes brought traffic to a standstill amid a sea of fender-benders. In the minutes to come, the stalled New York and Jersey drivers, exceptionally skilled in the art of verbal offense, found themselves with that rare stage worthy of their talents. You couldn’t get an eff you in edgewise.

Things for the Lexus were meanwhile getting worse. The metal barricade collapsed, slamming the left side of the car against the base of the tunnel wall, where the torque from the spinning wheels jerked the vehicle even further left, flipping it onto its hood. The Lexus careened then like a pinball across the tunnel, rocketing off the right wall and hurtling back left again to go skidding straight out into Canal Street. The gasoline pouring from the car’s cracked tank about then found its opportune spark, converting car, beheaded driver and dark cargo into a blast of blistering energy that finally slammed to a mangled halt about five yards beyond the tunnel’s mouth. And just feet ahead of it all was Ted, pumping the pedals on Tony’s son’s tiny bike and staring straight ahead with all his earthly might.

Wow, huh? It just kind of staggers the imagination a bit, doesn’t it?

Just think of it: If Ted had set out that fateful night wearing just any hat, where would the rest of us all be about now? On our way to ordering the new McBrains Sandwich at McZombie’s and using splinters of our former neighbor’s bones to pick at our crumbling teeth, that’s where!

So at the risk of stating the obvious: Without our heroic Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat, the world as we know it would be on its way to a blunt, brutish life of continual undeath. A tragedy of almost inconceivable magnitude, to be sure, and averted by us, the humble folks at The Real Deal Brazil.

But please keep in mind that the formula for that toxic zombie-making concoction is still out there, in the hands of those who would so willingly enslave us all into a life that is little more than death on rotting feet. So in the interest of your own continued existence as a free and living being, go out into this troubled world only with a head armed for battle, and a hat that says, “Bring it!,” even to the worst of all possible fights. Do not venture into life’s great, uncertain adventure without first donning your very own Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat!

Good luck out there, brave pilgrim. And, by the way, you’re welcome.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

This Halloween, Don't Go Zombie; Go "Zombieland" Zombie-Killer!

Need a quick zombie fix?

There’s an iPhone app for that (actually, there’s a whole slew of ’em). And that’s just the tip of the funky corpse, of course. The living unalive are cropping up in gory, oozy glory pretty much everywhere lately, from the legion of Zombie Walks spawning worldwide to the University of Baltimore’s much-ballyhooed fall 2010 course in zombie lit, to letting you gross-up photos of yourself as flesh-flapping zed-heads, to that green-blood-zed roommate on Comedy Central’s devilishly delicious Ugly Americans, to the AMC channel’s new The Walking Dead series, launching this Halloween night, to ... .Yet when Barnes & Noble starts hawking a cutesy zombie plush toy (“Zombie Buddy,” with little Xs for eyes and toting a bag of candy corn), could it be that all this post-deadification has maybe lurched a bit too far beyond the bodiless grave, out into the fickle mainstream still choked with last summer’s plastic Twilight vampire fangs? (Coming this Christmas: Zhu Zhu Zombie Pets! Don’t scoff; it could happen.)

So this Halloween, enlisting in the ratty ranks of costumed rotting meatbags isn’t, alas, all that likely to set you apart. (Oh look, a zombie and, hey, there’s a second one and, over there, it’s … another freakin’ zombie.) Wanna have some real fun instead? Then suit up to go hunting the increasingly ubiquitous undead. Go zombie killer. Go as Tallahassee.

Pulling off the amped-up Panhandle-cracker look of the quintessential Twinkie-lusting zombie-whacker is easy, actually. It’s all about a great, big dose of attitude and the right hat, and everything else is just the plastic wrapper on the Twinkie. And by right hat, we mean, of course, our own Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat, the same headwear worn by Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) in the 2009 box-office/2010 DVD smash Zombieland, as he shot, stomped, stabbed pummeled, sheared, etc., the ravenous undead. “Nut up,” as Tallahassee himself would say, “or shut up.”

Tips on tapping into your own inner Tallahassee? Check below. You dirty little zombie killer, you!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Field & Stream" Spotlights Real Deal Brazil Recycled-Tarp Hat

We've certainly said it before: Our uncanny recycled-tarp hat his hit some true high-points, press-wise, in its still-young life. Today, we're compelled to say it yet again!

We've waded deeply in the mainstream: Reader's Digest gave us a great nod last year, as did Entertainment Weekly.

We've scored huge with the Web-crawling crowd: BoingBoing.Net, the self described international "Directory of Wonderful Things," was emphatic, saying of our hat: "This thing is just great!"

Reviews have, in fact, spanned the cultural divide; we've received raves in both Tattoo magazine and on, the world's top green-products blog. We've even become a staple subject on a prominent online forum devoted to the act of being a sniper. If we're gonna be in that group's sights, we're obviously much happier being loved rather than hated!

Then late yesterday, we hit another very cool press milestone, getting positively reviewed in a popular blog on the Field & Stream magazine site, reaching an increasing segment of our customer base, the avid fisherman.

That's a snapshot of the page at right.

One of blog writer Joe Cermele's comments from the piece just kills us: "I would sooner wear this hat made well by a small company with a unique idea than just stroll into Wally World and buy a Gilligan hat or something." Beat that.

Which is to say: Thanks, Joe. We're honored as all get-out!

If you'd like to see some of the varied comments that readers have posted along with the article, visit, and scroll to article's end. At last count, there were 21 comments, including a couple great ones from Joe himself.

Here are just a couple, as a sample:

Posted by er1128: "I bought one of these hats in April and it has withstood this brutal South Texas summer admirably, even through all the rain we have at this canvas is fantastic. I have put it through the ringer in the past 3 months and not only does it help to keep cool but it is a lot more comfortable than my old straw cowboy hat."

From Del in KS: "That is a cool looking hat and just what I need so sent my order in a moment ago. "

From highrack: "Love the hat, I want one."

We hear ya, highrack! And we thank you, too.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Real Deal Brazil: A Geocacher's Hat of Choice

From angling to alpining, hiking to hunting, kayaking to kicking back, camping to canoeing, gardening to gun-shooting, traveling to tailgating, hoedowning to hoisting a few, zombie killing to just killin' time, our Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat is the hearty, hardy headwear to beat! And now you can add modern-day treasure hunting to that growing list of livin'-large leisure pursuits.

We've been hearing more and more frequently how our hat just fits in with the whole geoacaching idea, and how geoaching fans are constantly praising our rugged headwear to fellow cachers. About a month ago, in fact, we found ourselves happily mentioned in yet another geocaching forum, (Thanks, TeamThom!)

So today we added a new photo gallery at our Facebook site ( dedicated to the increasing number of geocachers who've adopted our Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat. The photo here, of Chapel Hill, Tenn., geocacher Brad "Monkeybrad" Simmons, was taken during a geocaching trip to Florida's famous gator-filled swamps in early 2010.

For the Muggles among us -- not non-wizards a la Harry Potter, but non-cachers, in geo-speak -- geoaching is an intriguing outdoor activity in which a GPS device is used to find "hidden treasure" stashed in often out-of-the-way spots around the globe. Geocachers tend to be environmentally minded folks; their "cache in, trash out" motto means they spend a bit of time cleaning up the site after finding their cache.

We're thrilled to be part of such a cool and clever pursuit, the swag that tags along!