Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

The ex-presidents are Pez dispensers!

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

Found at Blood Bath and Beyond, and also available from Amazon: Presidents of The United States Volume 8 – Pez Limited Edition Collectible Gift Set.


A better view with some of the packaging removed:


Seriously. How did I live this long without a Richard Nixon Pez dispenser?


All I need now is Lyndon Johnson (who is in Volume 7) and I can do my own remake of Point Break.


(Well, okay, technically, I guess I would also need a Gary Busey Pez dispenser and maybe a Keanu Reeves one, too.)

(“The part of Keanu Reeves is being played by a tongue depressor.”)

(And I should probably get Volume 3 as well, because who doesn’t need Millard Fillmore to go with their Richard Nixon?)

Have you ever said to yourself…

Monday, June 29th, 2015

…”Self, I wonder what it’s like to take photos with a three foot long, 36 pound, $180,000, 1,200mm camera lens?”

Don’t even think about taking a selfie. It will not focus on anything closer than about 46 feet.

I wish this had been a better article. It really doesn’t talk as much about the actual process of shooting with the lens as I’d like, and I’m not all that impressed with two out of three of the photos. But I still think it’s worth linking, even if it doesn’t push all of my photo geek buttons.

(Also, this is a used lens. For the record, and because I’m a Nikon guy, here’s their “equivalent” lens.)

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.


Ironic or not?

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

“Ironic or not?” is a game I used to play with one of my cow orkers at Four Letter Computer Corporation.

During the Great Bobblehead Scandal of 2012, I bought a John Wilkes Booth bobblehead.

I had it on my desk at work until this morning, when I accidentally knocked it onto the floor and…


Yes, Booth broke his ankles. Much like the actual John Wilkes Booth did when he got his foot tangled in the bunting while leaping out of the presidential box at Ford’s Theater.

(Or maybe he broke his leg. Or maybe he didn’t break anything at all in the leap, but his horse injured him later. I’m a little dubious about that story; the evidence for that seems to be “he didn’t run like he had a broken leg”. Well, maybe, but given that he’d just killed the president and was fleeing the scene, adrenaline may have done a great job of hiding a broken leg.)

What really kind of totes my goat is that Booth fell maybe three feet (if that) onto a carpeted office floor. Note to self: don’t buy stuff from “The Bobblehead LLC”.

Ironic or not? Before you answer…

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.


Na na na na na na na….

Sunday, November 16th, 2014








(USS Batfish home page.)

A couple of random notes: November 14, 2014.

Friday, November 14th, 2014

When asked whether disparities in treatment were based on race, gender, rank or nepotism, officers overwhelmingly said they believed decisions about discipline revolved around an officer’s rank and whether he or she was well liked by their superiors in the department. Command-level officers routinely received slaps on the wrist or no punishment, while lower-ranking officers were suspended for similar misconduct, officers wrote.

From the LAT archives, some spectacular photos of firefighters responding to a DC-6 crash.

Former Seattle Sonic Robert Swift has been charged with a gun crime one month after police claim to have seized drugs, guns and a grenade launcher from the Kirkland home where he was living.

What I find interesting about this story is that, with the exception of the standard “junk on the bunk” photo, all the weapons photos are of guns “similar to one police say was seized from Bjorkstam’s Kirkland home”. No photos of the actual guns? Also, heroin dealing must not be that lucrative if all you can afford is a Taurus.

All we want to do is photograph your brains.

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

A brief consumer note for my readers. Many of you know of my interests in neurology, books, and photography.

Please do not purchase this book for me.

Thank you.


Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

The LA Weekly profiles Nick Ut, legendary AP photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner. He’s still working as an AP photographer in LA.

You may not recognize the name, but you’ll know the photo; it is one of the two most famous Vietnam War photos. I won’t embed it, but you can find all over the place, including here.

I’m not generally a big fan of the alternative papers, but this is a swell article. Some pull quotes:

Ut believes in skill, too. But on a deeper level, he trusts in luck and fate. Many photojournalists were killed in Vietnam — 135 total, according to Faas’ count. By Ut’s estimate, 90 percent of the AP photographers who covered the war got shot while there.

Pulled mostly so I can plug Requiem: By the Photographers Who Died in Vietnam and Indochina; haunt your local used bookstore for a copy.

…three months after he took Kim Phuc’s picture, he was hit in the leg by mortar fire. He was on his way to visit her. Her house, unfortunately, was located near an entrance to the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of supply routes used by the Viet Cong. After the mortar shell blew up, Ut noticed holes in his camera. Then his shirt. Then his thigh.

Young photographers today, who “shoot 15 frames a second,” exasperate him. “Too fast. Picture lousy. One frame. Show the best picture. That’s how I learned. Look for the picture first.”
Besides, “If you come back with 500 pictures from one assignment? Your boss will yell at you. Too many! Who wants to look at all those pictures?”

Today, the 35mm Leica M2 camera with which he shot Napalm Girl is in a museum — the Newseum, in Washington, D.C.

Gratuitous Leica for the win! (I do wish the Weekly had gone into more detail about what Ut uses today. But then again, this isn’t an article targeted at professional photographers.)

Gratuitous gun porn (#4 in a series)

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

For reasons I can’t fully explain, I’ve wanted a revolver chambered in .45 ACP.

When I went to my first S&WCA convention in Sturbridge, I was able to shoot one at the Smith and Wesson Shooting Sports Center. The gun I rented was a Model 625 JM. (The “JM” is for “Jerry Miculek”, who shoots for the Smith and Wesson factory team. The 625 is the gun he used to fire 12 shots in under three seconds, including a reload.) Model 625 revolvers show up used fairly frequently, and I’ve been tempted by them. But either I’ve not had the ready cash, or haven’t quite been able to overcome my bias against shiny guns. (Also, many of the used ones I’ve seen have these kind of pastel grips, for want of a better description, and those also turn me off.)

I think my affection for the .45 ACP revolver has something to do with being drawn to the oddball and unusual. With most revolver cartridges – your .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special/Magnum, etc. – the cartridge has a rim around the bottom. When you go to unload your revolver, there’s a little metal piece (“extractor star”) that catches the rim and pushes the cartridge out of the cylinder. With most automatic pistol cartridges – 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP – the cartridge doesn’t have a rim, so there’s nothing for that bit to catch on, and the cartridge remains stuck in the chamber until you push it out with something like a pencil or cleaning rod.

This wasn’t a big deal until World War I. The military couldn’t get 1911 automatic pistols fast enough to supply everyone who needed a sidearm. Their other choice was to issue revolvers, but they didn’t want to deal with the logistics of having both an automatic pistol and a revolver caliber. They wanted revolvers that could easily use the same .45 ACP cartridge that the 1911 used. One of S&W’s engineers invented something called the “moon clip”, which comes in “half” and “full” moon variants. Cartridges snap into cutouts in the clip (a half-moon clip has three cutouts, a full moon clip has six), and then the clip is loaded into the gun. When you go to unload, the extractor star catches the moon clip and pushes it, and the fired cases, out of the gun. Moon clips are basically a primitive form of speedloader. Not that it matters that much in a defensive gun, but they are also a lot cheaper than a speedloader. (Amazon will sell you an eight pack of full moon clips for $8.95 with prime shipping. A single Safariland speedloader will run you about $11 to $16.) And there’s very little that can go wrong with a moon clip; it’s just a piece of stamped metal with no moving parts.

(Side note: you can also get revolvers and moon clips in 9mm and .40 S&W. There’s also been a trend towards moon clips in some of S&W’s .357 Magnum revolvers.)

Here’s a video from YouTube that explains how moon clips work. And no, I’m not just dropping this here for my own reference.

After the jump, more words! More pictures! You can do anything with words and pictures!


Bonus gun porn.

Thursday, June 19th, 2014


Model 34-1 with 2″ barrel, next to pre-Model 34 Kit Gun for comparison purposes.