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#43 :: Semiautomatic Clasp Knife

March 20, 2004

about it prescription ‘popup’, more about ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>He is Russian, I think. Sure, he’s a Mattellian icon made (at least until recently) right here in the USA. But he’s got that Dostoyevskian brow, those sledgehammer fists, and he glows with a fiery red when the morning sun hits my office window. He’s a 6-inch Burger King knockoff with a thumb-lever for a spine. The original Rock’em Sock’em Robots were about 10 inches high, and connected to sets of dual thumb-powered triggers via sleds slotted into a bright yellow thermoplastic boxing ring. When I was 8 or 9, I desperately needed a set in my life, so that I could yell like the boy in the TV commercials, “Hey, you knocked my block off!!!” and then push the spring-loaded, ratchet-mounted skull of cubist plastic back onto those burly shoulders and go at it again. No, my folks replied coldly – as they did with Creepy Crawlers, Lite-Brite, Monster Magnet and just about every other disposable must-have toy – “It’s a piece of junk.” And so it was, according to this review.
dosage ‘popup’,’width=600,height=600,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>The U.S. military detonated at least nine nuclear bombs on little Eniwetok Atoll in the 1950s. They ranged in size from the world’s first hydrogen bombs – the 10.4-megaton twins, Mike 1 and Mike 2 on Halloween, 1952 – down to the smallish 8.5-kiloton Blackfoot bomb, set off on June 11, 1956. These were just a handful of the 1,125 test shots set off by the U.S. over the years. Somewhere along the line, someone must have figured the work at Eniwetok would be worth remembering with a solid little keepsake in the fine tradition of gold retirement watches and Chinese-laquered executive desk sets. Being mostly practical, calculating military men working in the ultra-remote, often storm-swept Marshall Islands, they opted for a windproof cigarette lighter. This particular one surfaced at a swap meet, its rich cloisonné badge all but glowing amid the crap-smeared Vietnam Zippos and Mack gimmes in the vendor’s case. The badge commemorates the member departments in Joint Task Force Seven – Army, Navy, Air Force and Atomic Energy Commission. And the back shows a mushroom cloud rising over a little palm-tree-shaded map, naming the places that were wiped off of it. Bogallua. Engebi. Rujiyoru. Piiai. Japtan. West T-Spit. Libiron. Igurin. And Eniwetok. All are carved in the faux-steel finish, bitten through to the brass case beneath. The embossed base proclaims it to be “HIGH QUALITY LIGHTER” – a Penguin brand Zippo knockoff made in Japan, No. 19531. I can’t say whether that’s its model number, or the issue number out of untold thousands made. But it has served me faithfully, igniting camp fires in Joshua Tree and Sequoia National Parks, cigars and clove cigarettes, etc. at Burning Man and on board the Straylight, the doughty little Hobie Cat I sailed for many years. It is a good, reliable tool, its history throbbing from within as you hold it and flick the wheel. Please do click the pictures. I made them extra-large for this one.
viagra sale ‘popup’, sale ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>Mystery takes peculiar forms. Sometimes it’s the center of war or religious zealotry. Sometimes it’s an upperclass strange-o in a deerstalker hat and houndstooth cape poncing about with a magnifying glass. And sometimes mystery glints from your palm as an almost impracticably small, yet completely functional tool. This might have been a manufacturer’s sample, or it might have been exceptionally useful in a shop specializing in building miniature balsa-wood architectural models. It is exquisitely machined, with a drop-forged, hand-finished body and a cast-nickel set screw that controls the sharp steel ruler’s ability to slide. And it sings – of dado, miter, rabbet, dovetail and joints that might have been.
this site ‘popup’,’width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>My father made this for – I think – my first communion at age 7. He found slabs of ebony, hand-joined and -finished them, and sliced a little block of ivory from one of the elephant tusks that he had come by in the antiques market on London’s Portobello Road. Upon this, he painted the Alpha and the Omega – symbols of the unending holiness of Christ, and to the top he affixed a little brass picture-ring so it could be hung. It stayed over my bed for many years, and remains among the most achingly beautiful pieces of art that I own.
tadalafil ‘popup’, viagra order ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>These have the feel of a Hammacher-Schlemmacher wannabe – a must-have gadget for the avid sports fan or optics freak. You can picture him sitting there with a pair of ’em on at Dodger Stadium, replaying the braying marketing boilerplate in his mind between innings – “Hundreds of uses! For birdwatching, auto racing – and at any sporting event, enjoy the sensation fo being right on the field!” He reaches up to fiddle with the diopters, swiveling the well-greased objectives to bring the pop fly into sharp focus in the precision-ground glass lenses. Congratulating himself on his savvy purchase, he turns to his buddy – Hey, did you see (extreme blurry closeup of nosehair) GAAAAHHH!” They came in a hand-stitched leather case lined with red felt.
‘popup’, ask ‘width=500, more about height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>Miranda turned 2 last August, and we had a pirate birthday party – little eyepatches, telescopes and riches for all. The stuff is flashy, shiny gold pieces, cast-molded and plated with the same mirror-bright stuff they put on lowrider hardware. The inscription is beyond cryptic: AVAG CO BEPSIG CHINA a declaration of fealty to the hollow-eyed, corkscrew-maned ur-Grecian god thereon. These things are all over the house now.

As I say, I have no idea what it means. It’s plastic – a toy.
order ‘popup’, visit this ‘width=500, ask height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>It’s the size of my fingertip, the weight of a nickel and it was created millions of years ago when a tiny ocean-crawling invertebrate settled irretrievably into the mud. I seem to recall this was a gift – or it might have been something I plucked from those huge baskets of similar fossils on a road trip through Moab or Flagstaff or Albuquerque, a token of forays into the desert and a reminder of my own fragility. Unless I destroy it with a hammer, this fossil will be around for aons longer, suspended in the inexorable act of existence, a stinging rebuke to all our vanities of alleged immortality. We’ll die in a few decades, you and I. These words, and all who can understand them, let alone those who can read them, will be gone again and the stone creature will remain.
illness ‘popup’, ed ‘width=500, case height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>I wish I knew more about this object, which came with the chain it was probably sold with close to 80 or 90 years ago. The font for the numbers, the filigreed bezel, the fluted face all speak of a time that won’t be seen again, a time when going out to a nightclub meant dressing to the nines – from bleached spats to silk top hats. This was probably an aspiring, young, single man’s dress watch – nickel, not silver, with a little rectangle on the back un-etched and free of pretensions of insignia or declarations of passion. It runs beautifully, if a little fast when not kept tuned.
tadalafil ‘popup’, viagra ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>My 4½-year-old son is completely obsessed with robots. It may have started with the elaborate robot costume I made for his birthday two Halloweens ago, perhaps it’s the huge volume of vintage science fiction illustrations I leafed through with him countless times when he was 2 and just getting into looking at pictures. But he wants to watch robots, control robots, build robots, be a robot. He just started putting shapes together as drawings about six months ago, and lately he’s been drawing lots and lots of robots. Most are fairly elaborate, with multiple wheels, claw-like arms and oscilloscope faceplates, all jangly energy. These three are about an inch and a half high each, scrawled on scrap paper given to him at school. There’s a wonderfully simple primitivism to them. Cave drawings of a digital boy.
pills ‘popup’,’width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>At some point, some oil company magnate (whose name has been lost to the fog of time) decided what the fellas really needed was a trinket, a memento of their work on the rigs. He had some machine shop run off a few hundred of these tiny oil drill bit models in brass, had ’em soldered via swivels to cheap chrome-plated tie bars, and given out. This is a tiny, mechanically meticulous object smaller than the tip of my pinky, made by a machinist with deep affection for detail. The three toothed, conical bit components spin independently, and in unison when the whole thing is rotated as it would be when screwed into the hollow end of a drill and shoved into the ground or sea bed. The tie bar itself is cheap, almost an insult to the craft and care that went into the bit, which glitters and whirs when you twirl it.
sildenafil ‘popup’,’width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”> His visage bright, his jaw grimly set, the Chairman gazes toward the West with a stony wisdom and strength, against the sunburst iconography of a Communist flag. This was bought at Mao Zhedong’s tomb in Tienanmen Square just three years after the murderous defeat of the student uprisings. With prim efficiency, uniformed guards ushered lines of tourists through the tomb, past the suspiciously lifelike corpse (or effigy) of the Great Leader and out into the gift shop, just as they had done for the years since his death. It is laser-etched glass rimmed with cheap goldtoned pot-metal on a flimsy chain, the sort of trinket a younger teenager might wear to look modern yet correct. Dozens more hung beside it, glittering.
drug ‘popup’, page ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>I can’t say for sure where this came from. A household with two young children in daycare sucks in playthings, gifts, books, hand-me-down clothing, Happy Meal toys, popsicle sticks and arts-and-crafts detritus with the gravitic pull of a dwarf star. This appeared somewhere among the flotsam and jetsam one day, glinting up from the back seat of the car amidst books, cast-off clothing, sippy cups, used wipes and apple cores. It is a non-biodegradable red plush ball less than half an inch thick, flocked with fine hairs of holographic diffraction film – the sort of thing one can probably buy by the scoopful from huge bins at Michael’s. It is instantly disposable, yet will probably be around in one form or another long after this server is shut down and these words erased upon the demise of their author. It is a kitsch cockroach, with the manufactured power to outlast the collected cultural works of humankind.

Or maybe it’s just a fuzzball.
treatment ‘popup’,’width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>Gerber makes wickedly sharp blades. The serrated one, mounted in a teflon-hinged block of sculpted steel, is among the keenest tools I have ever laid hands on (pocketknife #1 – current, collection since age 6). I became addicted to clasps just a week after lugging around a then-new Kershaw and pointedly *not* losing it out of my pocket on a massively busy trip in and around the Black Rock Desert in mid- –Burning Man. A good knife is for carving grilled meat, cleaning battery terminals and picking teeth.

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