The $4 street umbrella might be a fiscally responsible investment, but it's also a useless one -- anything heavier than sky-spittle, and you might as well baste yourself in puddle water. Take sturdier, sleeker cover under a Davek. Daveks were created by NYC mechanical engineer Dave Kahng, on the premise that other umbrellas looked and acted like a bunch of sissies. His imposing creation is not only Burt Reynolds-handsome, it's loaded with structural improvements, chiefly: Strength: The flexible carbon polymer ligaments won't snap, and the solid steel shaft won't bend, even after a gust of wind knocks you and your shaft onto the hood of a gypsy cab. Stability: The frame has nine ribs instead of the standard 6-8, and will retain its form no matter how thunderous the downpour, or how incontinent the pigeons. Impermeability: The 43" canopy comes in 190-thread-count nylon, which Dave says is the most tightly woven material available. Obviously, Dave has never lost a pencil in Lionel Ritchie's hair. Ease: At the click of a button, you can open it (which is standard) or close it (which isn't). If the umbrella inverts, press the same button, and the ribs'll pop back in place, just like magic. Or mechanical engineering. As proof of its craftsmanship, the Davek comes with a lifetime guarantee. More importantly, when you inevitably lose it, you get your first replacement for 1/2 price -- because while springing for quality once is commendable, anyone who springs twice for the same thing deserves to get pooped on.