I realize that this is like kryptonite to democrats, and that significant effort has been put into diluting the First Amendment during the plague – well beyond 14 days to slow the spread.


Old Books

I need a person to watch me and time me when I go into an old book store. An hour, no more, and said person drags me out with what I have in hand.

Though he is best known for Sherlock Holmes, the work that Arthur Conan Doyle was proudest of was his Ivanhoe-like medieval war/adventure novel, The White Company, about a young hero who goes to join the White Company of archers.

It received a beautiful edition in 1922 with art by N.C. Wyeth

Knife Shows

I need the same thing at a knife show, except,  maybe two hours. I wander more there, buy less,  but there will be a knife calling my name. As a “knife person”, I have more knives than I need.

Some people like edged weapons and some do not. I find them difficult to resist.

When I was a young man, I lived near Gil Hibben (famous knife maker) and my grandfather built a rifle for him. I have a few of Gil’s early blades, before he became famous. I met Jimmie Lyle in Russellville, Arkansas (First Blood Knife) many years ago and we talked knives at a little diner in Russellville, chowing down on some epic good biscuits & gravy. Random memories, but if I go to a knife show, you must extract me after 2 hours no matter how loudly I protest.

I’ve blogged here in the past about how I was at Reserve Naval Special Warfare Group One and was the officer in charge of the knife-off for the then-new SEAL knife. The titanium knife (MPK), made by Rick Schultz (metallurgist) won. He was a small-time knife maker in Mission Viejo, CA who worked in titanium. Great knife. He sold out to an older gentleman who made knives in Anaheim, CA. It replaced the Buck titanium alloy knife. There is a much larger story here but you need to love knives to have it make sense to you. For a knife to be useful to UDT, it must be non-magnetic because they work around and next to naval mines in a combat environment that are often triggered by the influence of steel, in particular. A lot of people don’t factor that in. The SOG (steel) knife did well in the competition and they marketed the hell out of it, but the Multi-Purpose Knife (MPK) won.


And Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.


Jeep Evolution


Some People Call it Dune

I call it Arizona…


  1. I volunteer for Old Bookshop and Knife Show Bouncing duty. I’ll drag you out screaming and kicking, and then hop back right back in to steal your spot and get twice the fun.

  2. While visiting my cousin in Flagstaff Az, or Flag as she is want to say, she took me to Northern Arizona University’s bookstore. What a gem! I found several regional books I had never envisioned. One on the Navaho code talkers, and another on the “Big burn” catastrophic forest fire. Both good reads. I promise to fight off anybody trying to drag you out after only one hour!

    • Flagstaff/Flag is close to me and there are some really cool old bookstores downtown. One in the “ancient” indoor mall (the one downtown, not the one with chain stores by the freeway is on the verge of closing.

    • > I found several regional books I had never envisioned

      Had an analogous experience in Nova Scotia, only it was music. Went to a “record store” and found literally hundreds of Cape Breton fiddling CDs. (Remember record stores? ‘Member physical media?) I love that sort of music (as well as Irish, and Scots — all similar, but NOT the same) and would have filled the car with disks, if only I had the money. But alas I was in my usual state of either grad-school or trainee poverty (I forget which).

  3. On a trip to New England for a totally geeky purpose (telescope makers’ convention, Stellafane) we scheduled a day to walk the bookstores in Boston. Harvard Square and up to MIT. Wrangled a bag with way too many pounds of books onto the airplane for the ride home.

    I wonder if they’d even allow that today. That was before 9/11 by a decade or so.

      • Maybe so, but it’s a pain to get around here in East Massholia. Personally I’ve had much better used-book store experiences in college towns (e.g. Ann Arbor, MI, Madison, WI, etc) than Boston, or Cambridge (MA).

        Recently I spent a couple of days in Portland, Maine and there were quite a few nice used bookstores on the main drag downtown. Unfortunately about half of the bookstores had “masks required” signs, ranging from polite to highly aggressive. By aggressive I mean: Don’t even think of coming in here without a mask. Your stupid complaints mean nothing to me.. This should be no surprise. Portland had its own Occupy! faction, and it was big and aggressive. Plenty of Mainiacs (it’s “The Pine Tree State” damnit, and not the lobstah state) dislike Portland on principle for being coastal, and hate it for being full of left-wing whackjobs. But I had the pleasure of hanging out in a nicely cluttered used bookstore that curiously had the cash register waaaay at the back of the store. Unlike all the others where the owner/clerk sits at the front to prevent people from absconding without paying. Found – and bought – some old SF paperbacks I’d vaguely been looking for, including some British editions.

        Oh yeah, re overweight luggage. So a couple of years ago I was in Portland, OREGON for a used camera show (and the Tillamook Air Museum, and the Willamette wineries, etc). The vendors had a lot of interesting pieces for reasonable money and I came away with quite a bit of old lenses and cameras. All that metal and glass got put into my checked bag, rollaboard, and Think Tank “briefcase”. Last minute in PDX airport I found a big, heavy bottle of local (okay, WA state) cabernet sauvignon that was engraved with the Portland Timbers’ (soccer/”football” team) logo, an axe, which to me looked more like Thor’s hammer, so I had to have that. (I blame Jules because she enabled my purchase.) Managed to stuff that into my TT bag which was already full of the best pieces from the camera show plus the digital gear I’d brought out to shoot with. When I got home I weighed everything. Checked bag 48 lbs, rollaboard 30 lbs, TT bag 35 lbs. I hauled 113 lbs of stuff on an economy ticket. I feel zero guilt. Weighing about 140 lbs, me and my luggage were still lighter than lots of people alone, nevermind their luggage. Of course the trick with overweight carry aboards (at least on US airlines) is to act as if it’s very light. No grunting or groaning when you pick it up or put it down; always brisk, easy movements; and never never let the airline staff touch your bags.

        • I brought a carry-on full of Interpol label wine (two-buck-chuck with a neat label) from the General Secretariat in Lyon. The bag was searched in Charles DeGaul Intl. and the French version of TSA told me that I couldn’t board with even one bottle (terrorist hazard). I humbly explained that the ten bottles of FINE French wine were for colleagues in the anti-terrorist industry and that I didn’t have a drinking problem that I was willing to identify. After waving credentials and explaining that my people (Lambert is a common name in France) were, after all, French, I was allowed to roll aboard and hoist into the large overhead bin in First Class. It was the French connection (humming La Marseillaise faintly as he searched) that clinched it, not creds.

          I flew back from Mexico City to LAX and my secretary flew with me. She bought. half a dozen of those white plastic food containers, two of which contained mealworms (think maggots) along. The other four were other Mexican food of some sort. I explained that Mexican TSA wouldn’t allow those on the plane. She explained patiently to me (for the fifth time) that they were for her ill mother and that no Mexican boy would deny her bringing them on the plane. We arrived at the search area, she explained they were for mama, and they let her pass without another word.

          • She was bringing mealworms for her sick mother?

            Chanssaud Cuvée Interpol Côtes-du-Rhône
            Well, I’ll be. This is a thing!

            I got the “almost Mjolnir” bottle in the “green zone” beyond TSA. Gone are the days of flying home from SFO or SJC with a half-dozen Sonoma zins, stuff available only at the winery, in hand luggage. Only consolation on that PDX-BOS flight was that I can’t afford proper Oregon Pinots anyway.

          • She called them maggots. They weren’t true fly larvea. They were mealworms. Apparently, they have some curative benefits. I should add that she brought a large shopping bag full of herbal cures to my daughter’s house when I was recovering. Dear woman.

  4. I’ve always liked Wyeth illustrations, particularly the western ones. His Treasure Island and Last of the Mohican stuff was nice as well.

    • Yes- A great illustrator and artist. Wyeth’s picture of two of Robin Hood’s archers getting ready to feather some of the Sheriffs men is a favorite-The greenwood, the ambush position, the tension of the drawn bows, even to the snaky beech roots curling over the ground.

  5. i appreciate good steel, but i’m more function than form. my go-to is still the original pattern k-bar i carried on my web gear as a pfc. i’ve carried many other designs but always come back to her. if it had been expensive, i would have lost it long ago. i found one stuck in a big pine tree in the middle of nowhere on ft.bragg, its grip long rotted off. i always wondered how/why it got there.
    i like the jeep thing. i have a ’51 in the shed, waiting restoration that will likely never get done….he who dies with the most books wins.

    • I have a 48 Willies in the garage and I’m waiting to feel well enough post-surgery to go out there and tinker. It runs, but just.

  6. Need to know going in as the shopper assistant, is that hours here, or on Mars? Gives you a few minutes leeway.

    We have a number sheath knives, but tend to carry the Gerber or Leatherman in that spot. Also have a bowl of EDC depending on what I’m doing or where I’m heading (dinner out and it’s the smaller black ceramic foldable, nicely fits the Wrangler pocket corner.)

    Need to put The White Company on the must read list, Andrew Wyeth painted my growing up spot, Bucks County, PA. Apples-Tree.

    Side note: Dem’s “retiring” is up to 26….8 term Ed Perlmutter (CO). What do these [not Muscle Shoals] swamper’s know? Rear-end saving before the big November fall? Can’t tell from the flyover cheap seats.

    • Retirement in that context allows them full access to spend campaign funds in their war chest in any way they choose (same if they’d been voted out) and allows them to line up the next political appointee job. It makes sense if you know you’re out. You want to get the plushest pork-job that you can get from your cronies. One day you’re in Congress, the next you are shoehorned into an open seat in a board of supervisors a road commissioner with a lot of grease coming your way. Politics.

  7. Scarthin bookshop, Cromford, Matlock is one of the best old bookshops near me. Comes in at #6 in the top ten old bookshops in the country. It’s a higgeldy-piggeldy crooked old stone house over 4 floors that sits in front of a river. There are loads of tiny rooms each dedicated to a book section and some with old armchairs so you can sit and read. There’s even a cafe like Grandma’s kitchen. You could spend days in there.

  8. Jeeps have a near cult following. From my years in the car biz, I found the quality to be lacking depending on what manufacture had control of the name plate.

    60-70’s my purchase dollars were spent on International Travelalls. Their big problem was rust, especially in later years. I’ve owned many different vehicles over the years but never a Jeep. The one I regret selling was a 1984 Mitsubishi Mighty Max 4×4 Turbo diesel that never once got stuck. It pulled out more than one Jeep that was stuck.

    Knife? My K-Bar and Gerber multi-tool. Too lazy to learn more, I guess.

    • I drive a 2007 Toyota FJ, which I like better than any Jeep. I have “built it” beyond normal and there is some original FJ left in it. Maybe half. But it’s a decent machine.

      • One of the better vehicles you can purchase, IMO. First editions required premium gasoline and owners who ignored that had problems.

  9. Ah yes, Arkansas knife makers… There are some GOOD ones there. I have a couple of Graham’s knives and one Shoemaker knife. Had a Jeep Scrambler, kept throwing u-joints. Finally got a GOOD shop to look at it, and the entire drive train had a 6-7 degree bend between the clutch plate and the rear end. The entire frame had been torqued at some point!

  10. I’ve never owned a “real” Jeep, just two Grand Cherokee Limiteds. Pretty competent off-road for a big luxo-barge, and the AWD was amazing in bad weather.

    We’ve got a great used book/record/CD and used stereo gear store here in town called the Bizarre Bazaar. I’ve taken in boxes of books to sell and give them. They’ve got a huge selection of “FREE! Take Me Home!” books where most of mine went, and a very ecelctic selection inside the store where some of my other books (Monkey Wrench Gang and Hayduke Lives, for example) wound up.

    I’ve got a few knives and a ‘hawk, but never really “got into” knives except for utilitarian purposes.

  11. Those two knights with the two-handers or bastard swords, stupid. Totally stupid.

    And here’s why.

    High-guard, where the sword is above the shoulders, should keep the sword still in front of the face.

    Mid-guard, where the sword is held around the level of the chest, still keeps the sword in front of the body.

    Low-guard, where the sword is held waist high or lower, also keeps the sword in front of the body.

    Get the point? Literally? Keep the frickin sword or any weapon in front of you. It does no good staying behind you. You can’t block anything with the sword behind you (in a two-person, facing each other battle.)

    And it takes a lot of energy to pull the sword forward past the midpoint. Keep the weapon forward of you and do the body rotation and use that energy of the body rotation to power the weapon.

    Other than that, I love Wyeth’s work. My mother has a children’s stories series called the “Bookhouse Books” that are lavishly illustrated much like the work of Wyeth. The books are collections of stories, with each book set for an age range. Excellent work.

  12. Boston and NYC used to be Book Heaven.

    They have declined greatly over the last 30 years, due to high bandwidth and the Electric Rectangle Curse.

    I find the best bookstores and most per-capita now exist in the boonies.


    • There used to be some good used book stores in Honolulu. Those that I recalled went out of business. One became a loan shark (check-cashing business), another became a pawn shop, another became species of exotic dance joint.

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