Archive for the ‘Knives’ Category

When guns are outlawed…

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

,,.only outlaws will have ninja swords and daggers.

A local DJ was attacked Friday night in his apartment.

…when he opened the door…who was wearing a ski mask, began attacking him with a Katana sword.
“I didn’t know what else to do, so I just grabbed [the sword] with my hand,” Angel said. “Blood was just dripping down the blade.” Angel said…then pulled out a dagger and stabbed him in the back.

What makes this kind of noteworthy is that the alleged ninja is also the owner of a fairly prominent local bar. (Never been there, but have heard of it: mostly in the context of, “In spite of the name, this has nothing to do with A Clockwork Orange.”)

Intersectionality.

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

At the weird intersection of book collecting and weapons geekery: a facsimile edition of the I.33 manuscript, a legendary 14th century combat manual.

Only £750. And that’s the cheap edition.

I can think of one person whose wheelhouse this would sort of be in: he’d probably buy two copies and resell one, except this is a little outside of his specialty…

(On a totally unrelated note, the Lame Excuse Books web page has been updated, and a new catalog is in progress. Books from Lame Excuse Books make fine presents for the holidays.)

(Hattip on I.33 to Hognose over at Weaponsman.)

At the weird intersection of gun crankery and entertainment history:

There are two things I enjoy doing when Mike the Musicologist and I go to Tulsa (well, three, but the shopping is really the whole point of the trip, so it doesn’t count):

  • Visiting with folks from the Smith and Wesson Collector’s Association.
  • Visiting the NRA Museum table. Especially if Jim Supica is there.

I didn’t see Mr. Supica this time, but we hung around the table for a bit and I picked up a few postcards, one of which contained the following odd bit of history.

I kind of knew Sammy Davis Jr. was a gun owner and collector (probably from reading his Wikipedia entry). What I didn’t know was that Mr. Davis was a serious fast draw practitioner. Serious.

Photo by way of Gabby Franco's blog, linked.

Photo by way of Gabby Franco’s blog, also linked.

That’s one of Mr. Davis’ Colt Single Action Army revolvers. The rig was custom made for him by the great Arvo Ojala, holster maker and consultant to the stars. Mr. Davis was fast enough that he did his own gun work for many of the TV shows he guested on.

Here’s some vintage film of Mr. Davis at work:

Quoting Gabby Franco:

It was said that in a holster-pulling match with fellow enthusiasts Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, Davis was easily the odds-on favorite.

Mr. Davis and Mr. Martin apparently were not the only fast draw artists in the Rat Pack: according to the back of the postcard (which, sadly, I’ve dropped in the mail and don’t have in front of me), Mr. Davis and Frank Sinatra had a fast draw competition with a new car as the stakes. And Mr. Davis won.

“I was beaten by my friend Mel Torme, who also collects Colts.” !!!!

(And Dr. Brackett too? The earth was full of giants in those days: or, more likely, a lot of these folks learned fast draw as a way to get roles in the endless parade of TV westerns.)

I’ll leave you with a short NRA “Curator’s Corner” video about the Davis gun.

George Patton probably would have disapproved of the pearl grips, but Mr. Davis does not strike me as someone who was in much need of external validation, even from a WWII general.

Like sand through the hourglass…

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

According to King Arthur Flour, today is National Waffle Day.

According to Knifecenter.com, today is National Knife Day.

Random notes: March 23, 2016.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Let’s play a little game: fill in the blank in this headline. (No fair peeking.)

New York Police Increase Patrols Around 20 Clubs to Combat [Blank] Violence

Did you say “gun”? Bzzzzzt! Sorry. Understandable, but wrong. We were looking for “knife”. “Knife”.

Police officials said on Tuesday that they would increase enforcement around 20 bars and clubs in New York City with a disproportionate share of the stabbings and slashings that have resulted in a surge in knife violence this year.

I just like pointing out the use of “knife violence” here.

And speaking of things I just want to point out:

The plan called for establishing a site where people could legally shoot heroin — something that does not exist anywhere in the United States.

“There’s never been a paper bag for drugs…until now.”

Sourdough starter!

Some people name their starters: William Butler Yeast, Herman, Sarah, Sky Pilot, Ms. Tippity, Eleanor, Roxanne.

I have to admit, “William Butler Yeast” is clever.

The latest additions to the National Recording Registry came out today.

A few random notes:

  • You can find the W.H. Stepp version of “Bonaparte’s Retreat” on YouTube if you want to compare and contrast to Copland.
  • I rather like the note on Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, putting it into the context of 1938.
  • I want to hear those two “Destination Freedom” episodes. I haven’t had a chance to go looking for them yet.
  • Dixie McCall for the win!
  • Yeah, I can accept both versions of “Mack the Knife”. You know who did a really good version of that song? Sting, believe it or not, with Dominc Muldowney on the Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill album, which does not appear to be available digitally.
  • As everyone knows, I am not a basketball fan, but I do acknowledge the significance of Wilt Chamberlain.
  • Damn, “Mama Tried” is a great song.
  • I have to agree Carlin belongs on this list, if for no other reason than the legal significance of the “Seven Dirty Words” routine.
  • “I Will Survive” is a good song, but I prefer the Cake version. (I also prefer girls with a short skirt and a long jacket.)
  • One of my coworkers and I have been joking back and forth about how metal I am. This is how metal I am: I’ve never heard “Master of Puppets”. Perhaps I need to fix that.

After action report: Spokane, WA.

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

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

(more…)

Don’t be evil. Again.

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

A while back, I wrote about the Knife Depot and their battle with Google’s Adwords people over selling “assisted opening” knives. The Knife Depot lost their Adwords account because they refused to cave in to Google’s demand that they stop selling (not just advertising, but selling) “assisted opening” knives, which are legal in every state of the Union.

Dan Lawton over at the Knife Depot was kind enough to share a couple of his followup posts with me. Adwords restored the Knife Depot’s account in May, but imposed a requirement that the Knife Depot couldn’t have “assisted opening” knives on any of the landing pages.

Then Google yanked the Adwords account again…this time, because Google has a problem with “throwing knives”.

Could you injure someone with a throwing knife? Sure, in the same way you could injure someone with a baseball, a frying pan, a brick, a bottle, a rabid cat or a slew of other projectiles that can become weapons if paired with malicious intent.
However, a throwing knife is poorly suited for criminal activity. These knives are generally large, making them hard to conceal; they have blunt edges and they’re damn hard to throw with fatal accuracy.

I have no joke here, I just wanted an excuse to post this:

But wait, there’s more! You know who else doesn’t like knives? Yes! Facebook!

But surely Google has learned their lesson, and these policies are being applied equally to all vendors? Unlike the “assisted opening” advertising ban, in which Google allowed big vendors like Amazon and Walmart to advertise those knives, while cutting off the Knife Depot and smaller vendors? Right?

Hahahahahahahaha. Nope. Google is still operating on the same double standard they had back in March – the same double standard that was openly called out by a Google employee in internal communication – and refuses to offer any explanation of why certain vendors are allowed to advertise “assisted opening” knives, “throwing knives”…or “herbal incense”, for that matter.

Thanks to Mr. Lawton for bringing my attention to these posts. And, as a side note to people who want me to write about their stuff, this is the way to do it: Mr. Lawton sent me a nice, personalized email summarizing his posts, politely suggesting that I might want to write about them based on my previous coverage, and even provided some evidence that he’s actually read more of the blog than just that one post. He had my curiosity when I saw the email; by the time I finished reading it, he had my attention.

(For the record, the Knife Depot hasn’t given me anything – money, knives, gift certificates, or anything of value – in exchange for this post. Nor have I asked for anything.)

Speaking of guns…

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

…stolen from my great and good friend RoadRich:

This is why I am such a big advocate of stricter knife control, and most importantly, a ban on assault knives. People don’t need knives that powerful for hunting… what are they planning to do, overthrow the caring, benevolent government? And those clips that hold more than one knife? Those… what are they called, ‘leatherman’ clips? Who needs those for so-called ‘hunting’? What are they hunting anyway, speaker wire and Phillips screws? Ban those too… because if even one person gets stabbed, even while trying to get at the tweezers, it is too many. Too many. Only the Army should be trying to clean a fish or strip a wire anyway.

The only thing I’d add to that is that I’m waiting for the victims of this particular act of violence to show up at a State of the Union address and testify before Congress, etc. etc. etc.

Don’t be evil.

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

This isn’t about Google Reader or Google Keep (though I do like this take on the latter). I ran across this story on the Y Combinator Twitter feed the other day, and this is the first chance I’ve had to blog it; I would like to see it get more attention.

In brief, there is a company called the Knife Depot that sells knives online. I have never bought anything from the Knife Depot, but that’s just because I haven’t been buying a lot of knives online; I certainly have not heard anything bad about the company.

The Knife Depot also had a Google Adwords account, which brought in “a good slice of its revenue”.

The Knife Depot sells what are commonly known as “assisted opening” knives. These are not switchblades, but knives that can be opened with one hand by applying pressure on a part of the knife. (The Knife Depot blog has a good video explaining the difference between “assisted opening” and “switchblade” knives.) Obviously, “assisted opening” knives are very useful things if you’re missing an arm, or frequently operate in situations where you only have one hand free, or have certain physical disabilities, or just like knives.  “Assisted opening” knives are legal pretty much everywhere in the United States, including New York City (in spite of what the criminals who run NYC believe).

However, somebody in the Google Adwords department got bent out of shape and told the Knife Depot: either stop selling “assisted opening” knives, or lose your Adwords account.

Note that Google didn’t just say “you can’t advertise these knives using Adwords”. Even if the Knife Depot agreed not to use Adwords to advertise “assisted opening” knives, Google would still yank their Adwords account if they continued to sell those knives on their site.

The Knife Depot, being good and honorable people, told Google to take their Adwords account and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

“So what?” you say. “Google is a private business and can set whatever policies they want for Adwords. Why get bent out of shape over this?”

Here’s why: at the same time Google was threatening the Knife Depot, Google continued to allow Adwords advertising of “assisted opening” knives from other vendors. Like Amazon. And Wal-Mart. And Bass Pro Shops. I believe Google is still allowing Adwords advertising of “assisted opening” knives from those vendors, based on the results of a Google search for “Kershaw knives” done as I was writing this post.

Yes, this is hypocritical and evil. So much so that the Knife Depot blog entry quotes an email from a Google employee who called out the policy discrepancy, requested an explanation of why other vendors were allowed to use Adwords and the Knife Depot was not…and never got a reply.

I’ve had it in my head to do a post about Android/iPhone based on some things said in recent podcasts. I may still do that, though time has sort of gotten past me. The key thing that bothers me is that some people seem to prefer Android/Google because “Google does a better job of knowing about me”, without realizing that’s a problem. You are giving your information to a company that, to be polite, hasn’t proven it can be trusted with it. The Knife Depot is just example #947 of why Google hasn’t proven that.

I commented to someone, back a decade ago, that we didn’t have to worry about the government or big corporations invading our privacy without our consent; we’d happily give up our privacy for 75 cents off a box of Pop-Tarts. It is worse than I thought ten years ago; now we’re giving up our privacy for…what, exactly? A substitute notepad application? A free copy of The Da Vinci Code?

“…a community of knife geeks”

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Just noticed in the LAT (sorry): a profile of Jonathan Broida.

Mr. Broida runs a shop in Venice (California, not Italy) called Japanese Knife Imports. But:

Walk into his shop as a novice and he won’t just sell you a knife. He’ll want to sit down at the low table in the center of the room, preferably over genmaicha tea served in a lovely ceramic tea bowl, made by his wife Sara’s family in northern Japan, and explore your relationship to knives. Call him a knife shrink. What sorts of things do you like to cook? How are your knife skills? What kinds of things do you cut? What sort of cutting board do you have? What other knives do you own? How comfortable are you with sharpening your own knife?

Mr. Brodia used to be a professional cook, and caters to that community.

With a degree in Asian studies, he had started cooking for a living, and at one point went to work in Japan. There, he asked his chef to show him how to sharpen his knife. Big mistake. Soon he was expected to sharpen everybody’s knives, he says with a laugh. But he learned, and he got better at it.
Every chef he met had a different technique. But they were still chefs who sharpened knives, he explains, not professional knife sharpeners. And there’s a big difference. As he got more interested, he sought out craftsmen who could show him more. During that process he found father-son professional sharpeners who were the best he’d ever seen. And he still goes back every year to work with them.

And that’s the key to his shop. He’s less interested in selling you a knife:

The most important thing, he says, is knowing how to sharpen. He can do it for you, but it’s better if you learn yourself. “There’s always a level of disconnect with your tools if you don’t sharpen your own, and that bothers me.”

This is one of my many character flaws. My father tried to teach me to sharpen knives on a whetstone when I was younger, but I didn’t have the patience to learn. These days, I think I could sharpen a knife if I had to, but I have a lot of trouble holding the knife at a constant angle. I’ve tried various gadgets, but what I end up doing is taking my knives to a local knife shop or the gun show when they need to be sharpened. That’s the lazy man’s way of working; I feel like I should be better than that.

And, interestingly, Japanese Knife Imports has a YouTube channel with sharpening demonstrations.

I’m not going to California any time soon (I don’t have a passport, so I can’t travel outside of the United States), but this place sounds like somewhere I could drop a lot of money fast.