Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Questions. We’ve got questions.

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Prompted by various things, including recent events and other people’s travels:

  1. Why did the FBI feel compelled to announce they’ve abandoned the search for D.B. Cooper?
    Is it possible they’re playing a long game here?
    “Olly olly oxen free. Come out, D.B. Cooper!”
    “Hi, I’m Dan Cooper.”
    “Hi, Dan. You’re under arrest.”
    “Hey, wait! That’s not fair! You called ‘olly olly oxen free’! No takebacks, you cheater!”
    (I would ask why they were still pursuing him after 45 years – I thought the statute of limitations would have run out long ago – but, per Wikipedia (I know, I know) there’s a John Doe indictment in absentia against Mr. Cooper.)
  2. More of a rhetorical question: I didn’t know there was a Cleveland Museum of Natural History. I don’t think I did, anyway: if I ever went, I was very young. I’ll have to make a point of going next time I’m up Cleveland way. (And it is my turn.)
  3. Speaking of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, why is Balto, the famous Alaskan sled dog who took the diptheria serum to Nome, in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History?
    (I know what the more or less “official” answer is: Balto died in what’s now the Cleveland Zoo. And why was Balto in Cleveland in the first place? Because the children of Cleveland and the Plain Dealer collected pennies to purchase Balto and the other dogs, because they were allegedly badly treated after being sold to a “dime museum”. It just seems odd. If George Kimble had been a resident of Houston, or a graduate of UT, would Balto be in Texas now?)
  4. Have I linked to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History before?
  5. Why doesn’t the CMNH want to return Balto to Alaska? I kind of get the idea that Alaska may have forfeited rights to Balto, given the way that he was supposedly treated. But I’m not sure I blame the state, or Balto’s first owner, for what they did. Also, it was a long time ago in another country: wouldn’t it be nice to give Balto back?
  6. Another rhetorical question: I was unaware of the Balto/Togo controversy. It wasn’t covered in the children’s book I read about the serum run when I was a lad. (In case you were wondering: Togo’s skin is in Alaska, while his skeleton is at Yale.)
  7. What’s Balto’s Bacon Number? The Oracle says 3. But I’m not convinced: if you were voiced by Kevin Bacon in an animated movie based on your life, shouldn’t that lower your Bacon number?
  8. There were three Balto movies?
  9. What was the name of that children’s book about the serum run, anyway? I know it was non-fiction, and I swear it had a blueish cover, but I can’t remember the name. I’d kind of like to find a copy.

It’s not the bullet that kills you…

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

…it’s an allergic reaction to the sulfa drugs they were giving you to manage infection, this being in the days before modern antibiotics.

At least, that’s what a medical professional of my acquaintance told me yesterday; this is not a theory I had heard previously, but I trust this person implicitly. It seems like the one thing we know about the death of the Kingfish is how little we really do know.


For example, this may not be a bullet hole at all: it may be just “an imperfection in the marble”, according to that article I linked yesterday. I’m not sure I agree with their police work there, Lou. It looks awfully strange to be just an imperfection in the marble. But on the other hand, it also seems to be in a strange spot for a bullet hole. If you’re facing the pillar, I’d say it is roughly at a 270 degree angle from the front, almost around to the back side. Maybe someone trying to hide could have been hit there? Maybe it is a hole, but from a bodyguard’s gun?



Expanded context:



One more.

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

I was going to crop and enhance this, but I imported it into Shotwell, took a look at it…and I’m actually kind of happy with the way it came out, unenhanced and uncropped.


Louisiana’s Old State Capitol, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This is distinct from the new State Capitol, which is where Huey was actually shot (more on that later) but the gun and bullets on on exhibit in the old one.

Taken with the little Nikon Coolpix S6500.

Random gun geekery.

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Also: a historical note, suitable for use in schools.

Taken with the iPhone camera, cropped a little, and enhanced in Shotwell:


I like the use of the word “supposedly” there, but that’s another discussion for when I have more time.

And don’t forget who else used an FN 1910.


A little more context on Weiss, Guerre, and the bullets, along with a lot of the assassination mythology, here.

Historical note, of questionable suitability for use in schools.

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Today is the anniversary of Bonnie and Clyde’s death.

I would otherwise have missed it, were it not for this (Warning! Slideshow!) article in the HouChron (Warning! Slideshow!).

While the photos are worthwhile, I’m kind of annoyed by the captions: some them, and the article, refer to the ambush taking place today, while other captions refer to it taking place May 24th. Wikipedia (I know, I know) backs up the May 23rd date, as does Jeff Guinn (from what I’m able to tell).

There’s one photo in particular that I like in that slideshow: the one of Alcorn, Hinton, Gault, and Hamer (number 19).

And I was hoping that I could visit the shooting site when I’m in Louisiana in a few weeks, but I sat down and did the math: sadly, it’s over three hours each way from Baton Rouge to Gibsland, and that’s just not going to work this trip.

(I know I’ve mentioned it before, but Go Down Together still gets an unqualified endorsement from me.)

Good news, everyone!

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Liberace is back!

Well, more specifically, his cars are back. The Liberace Garage at the Hollywood Cars Museum is displaying a group of them.

You may remember that at least some of these cars were on display at the now tragically closed Liberace Museum.

Imagine a rotting Elvis shopping for fresh fruit…

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Today’s Statesman ran an AP article on the decline of Elvis mania in Las Vegas. I think this is the original.

Low attendance numbers were also to blame when the Viva Elvis Cirque du Soleil show at the Aria casino-hotel was cancelled in 2012 after a two-year run. That’s a much shorter shelf life than most of its sister shows. The longest-running one, Myste’re, started on the Strip more than two decades ago.

It’s left the Strip’s largest casino operator, MGM Resorts International, without any Elvis-themed shows, attractions or weddings. Rival Caesars Entertainment Corporation still hosts tribute acts and weddings, but a spokeswoman said few of those getting hitched ever choose the official Elvis packages.

Elvis impersonator Ted Payne, 54 said business has slowed dramatically since he started taking photos with tourists for tips just six years ago.

“When I first started out, I wouldn’t get out of a bed unless I (could) make at least $150,” he said. “Now, these days, $50 is a great day.”

Others say the market was oversaturated by Elvis impersonators for so long that the appeal burned itself out here, even as Elvis’ reach grows internationally.

I have no joke here, I just like saying “oversaturated by Elvis impersonators”.

First Liberace, now Elvis. Is there no sense of history in Vegas?

(Subject line hattip.)

After action report: Spokane, WA.

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

The Smith and Wesson Collector’s Association annual symposium was in Spokane this year.


I’ll be your huckleberry…

Friday, June 5th, 2015


…cheesecake, that is.

I’m on the road, so expect sporadic updates. I would say that I’m in an undisclosed location, but it turns out my hotel is within a very short walk of a certain university. I didn’t plan it that way (it also happens to be the convention hotel), but it does amuse me how this worked out.

One more photo. I took this last night, after I finished dinner and while I was waiting for the hotel shuttle.


After action report: Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Monday, November 17th, 2014

I’ve sort of hinted at this, but now the full story can be told.

Mike the Musicologist and I went on a road trip to Oklahoma the weekend of November 8th.


Blogger, with occasional tank.

Friday, November 7th, 2014


Hey, if Lawrence is going to do it, I’m going to do it. (Though technically mine is not a selfie.)

Edited to add: Okay. This is absurd. The photo imported off the phone and into Shotwell in Ubuntu displayed upside down using Google Chrome and the WordPress interface. I flipped it 180 degrees using WordPress. Now it displays correctly in Google Chrome and Firefox under Ubuntu, and on the Kindle…but displays upside down on two iPhones. What is going on here, he said, slamming his head against a wall?

Edited to add 11/11: Okay. Now that I’m back home and can use iPhoto, let’s see how this comes out.

You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

This post over at the PJ Media site got me curious: can you purchase a Red Ryder BB gun from the Christmas Story House gift shop?

Yes. Yes, you can.


  • $65 is way high.
  • It does not have a compass in the stock.
  • While a 20 year old man can go down to his local gun shop and legally purchase an AK-47, AR-15, or Winchester Model 70 chambered in .458 Winchester Magnum, the Christmas Story House gift shop appears to want you to be 21 years old in order to purchase a Red Ryder BB gun from them.
  • “State statutes and/or local ordinances prohibit the sale and possession of bb guns/air guns in some areas. We are unable to ship bb guns/air guns into New Jersey; Chicago, IL; Morton Grove, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; Buffalo, NY; New York City and its boroughs: Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island City, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The NYC zip codes affected are: 100xx-104xx, 110xx, 112xx-114xx, 116xx. Orders with shipping addresses with in these areas will not be processed. An adult signature is required at delivery.”