Saturday, September 24, 2005

Saturday Poetry

James Munro (aka James Mitchell), 1926 - 2002

The sign outside the door said: "Arthur Candlish, Boats." It was an elegant handmade sign of teak, with neat, precise lettering. It looked considerably more valuable than the building it adorned. Loomis stared at the sagging door, the low, grimy wall of unpainted brick.

"You sure this feller's any good?" he asked.

"I'm sure," said Craig, and pulled on a rusty bell chain. It screamed its lack of oil, extended a foot and a half, then contracted back to normal in a series of convulsive jerks as its bell clattered. Loomis liked it. A man in a white apron opened the door. In his hand was a chisel. He looked at Craig, and the chisel's cutting edge no longer faced them.

"John," he said. "Nice to see you. Arthur will be pleased--he's in the office."

Die Rich, Die Happy (1965)

James William Mitchell also wrote under the pseudonyms 'Patrick O. McGuire', and 'James Munro'.

Titles and year of publication:
1) Here's a Villain! (US Title: The Lady Is Waiting) 1957
2) A Way Back (Also published as: The Way Back) 1959
3) Steady, Boys, Steady 1960
4) Among Arabian Sands 1963
5) Ilion Like a Mist (Also published as: Venus in Plastic) 1969
6) A Magnum for Schneider (US Title: A Red File for Callan) (Also published as: Callan) 1969
7) The Winners 1970
8) Russian Roulette 1973
9) Death and the Bright Water 1974
10) Smear Job 1975
11) The Evil Ones 1982
12) Sometimes You Could Die 1985
13) Dead Ernest 1986
14) KGB Kill 1987
15) Dying Day 1988

As 'Patrick O. McGuire'

1) A Time for Murder 1955
2) Fiesta for Murder 1962

As 'James Munro'

1) The Man Who Sold Death 1964
2) Die Rich, Die Happy 1965
3) The Money That Money Can't Buy 1967
4) The Innocent Bystanders 1969

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

End of an era?

Well, it looks as though Kim duToit has hung it up. That's sad, because he was one of my first favorite blogs and he was always (nearly always) worth reading.

I hope everything goes well for him and his family, and that he returns someday.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

LA County Gunstores

Last week, I visited seven different gunstores in one day.


For all that I live in California with its restrictive and nonsensical gun laws, plus living in LA county, gun stores are fairly plentiful and easy to find. The established stores and the newly-opened stores are going to have the same selection of "New! New! New!" guns for the California market that the Internet offers, and that's really not what I'm interested in.

But I can't know what else they have, unless I go there.

Wednesday morning, my primary caregiver duties done for the day, I strolled through the doors of the Pasadena Turner's Outdoorsman...and right back out again, since they had nothing interesting in their consignment section.

Onto Wimpey's Pawn in Azusa, just a quick jaunt on the 210 East to the Azusa Boulevard exit. This was my second time here and I ran straight to the back of the store to cruise the pawned firearms. The handguns seemed to be all new, except for the Taurus 66 (.357 Magnum, 6" barrel) that I had seen last time.

Asked to see one consignment rifle, a Marlin 99 M1 in .22. Also saw a Ruger 77 in .338 Winchester Magnum ($460), a Remington 673 in .350 Remington Magnum ($720) and a couple of still-handsome Remington Nylon .22s.

From there, I ran down the 605 and east on the 10 to the Turner's in West Covina. Finally found it in the Stater Bros' shopping center; Turner's told me they weren't big enought to rate a mention on the marquee on the street. Hmmph.

Nothing worth mentioning in consignment, but I did ask about Mini-14 prices ($570 for the blue steel and walnut stock, $620 in stainless).

That's three gunstores in one morning, so far.

Back on the road again to the north end of the 605 and Gunrunners, in Duarte (sorry, no link--c'mon people, it's the 21st century!). Lots of tasty consignment goodness! Three M1 carbines ($300, 400 and 500--cash price, more for credit cards), and a stainless Mini-14 for only $429, plus several other mil-surps and lever actions. Plenty of traffic coming into this store.

Pushing my luck, I decided to drive to Glendale to check on Gun Gallery (no link, see above). They've been open only for a few weeks, but I couldn't see any inventory changes between my last visit and this one. Hope their advertising plans work out.

AMT Automag II, mmm...

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's back up Pacific to the 134 West and onto the 5--Stevenson Gun Ranch, here I come! What the--they're remodeling?!? No guns for sale for the next 30 days?!? That's just not right!

Finally, my odyssey is almost at an end. One more short drive down the street to Gun World. The store's got customers and a comedian behind the front desk ("Hello, I'm Josh, welcome to my Gun World. Can I interest you in something in 2000fps from a handgun?") Whoa--they're selling or taking orders for FN5.7? Hot diggity!

Gun World has a back room behind the front desk which is just packed with guns, guns and guns--handguns in the locked cabinets, long guns on the walls.

And speaking of long guns on the walls, aren't those Bushmasters? Really nice Bushmasters, but what are they doing for sale in California? I'm thinking LEO-only...but their tags aren't marked that way. Did I miss a legislative change of heart?

Alas, no. The Bushmasters are neutered, er, "modified" to have a fixed, non-detachable 10-round magazine, which is loaded by removing the upper. Very sad, but apparently they sell quite well.

And that was number seven. I'm amazed that I made it to, and through, so many different stores. I suspect I won't need to hit those stores again for a while.



Saturday, September 17, 2005

Saturday Poetry

Theodore Sturgeon, 1918 - 1985

[I]t is enough for you now to know that its most significant effect is to turn on the full analytical powers of the mind whenever fear is experienced. Panic occurs when analysis is shut off. Embarrassment occurs when fear is not analyzed. Hereafter, no truck driver will fear to use the word 'exquisite', no propagandist will create the semblance of truth by repeating falsehoods, no human group will be able to instill fears about any other human group which are not common to the respective individuals of the groups. There will be no fear-ridden movements of securities, and no lovers will be with each other and be afraid to state their love. In large issues and in small ones, the greater the emergency the greater will be the stimulation of the analytical powers.

That is the meaning and purpose and constitution of the ultimate weapon.

"The Traveling Crag" (1951)