monday search term safari LXXII.

zotac ion itx d geforce 9400 intel atom

I’ve been using a PC built on that motherboard as my main desktop system for a month now, and I’m really impressed so far.  It’s whisper-quiet, being entirely convection-cooled, and it sips power (a mere 30W at full load).  For everyday use, I can’t tell much of a difference between this box and the Core 2 Duo system on Robin’s desk.  Once in a while, you’ll know the Atom is no quad-core system, especially when you’re watching a flash-heavy web page while trying to do something else, but overall, it’s a capable little rig.

The built-in GPU (GeForce 9400) is the same chip that’s in the Mac mini, MacBook, and lower-end iMacs, and it’s plenty fast for most older games like TF2 and World of Warcraft.  Call of Duty 4 will play, too, but you have to dial down the graphics goodness a bit, and it can get a bit chuggy when the action gets thick.  Overall, however, it’s a surprising amount of graphics power in a tiny system that needs no fan and uses half the power of the light bulb in my desk lamp.

how horrible is hell

Well, I don’t believe in the existence of such a place, but if it did exist, it would have to be something different for every inhabitant, because “horrible” is generally a subjective property. 

My favorite interpretation of Hell is  a Dan Simmons short story called "Vanni Fucci is Alive and Well and Living in Hell".  It basically involved a bunch of big screens set up all over the Seventh Circle of Hell, all showing a televangelist show eight times a day.

commandments and amendments

What are “Two things that have absolutely no relation to each other”?

(The Ten Commandments and the Bill of Rights actually contradict each other whenever they do address the same thing.  For starters, the First Commandment and the First Amendment both address freedom of religion, but end up at diametrically opposed positions.)

real m41 pulse rifle with live ammunition

The M-41A in “Aliens” was a prop. A cool prop, but a prop.  It was rigged together with a Thompson M1 submachine gun, a Remington 870 shotgun, the outer receiver cage from a Franchi SPAS-12, and a whole lot of resin parts for the shell that tied it all together.

The closest thing anyone’e ever come to inventing anything as futuristic as the M-41A is the Heckler & Koch G11 caseless rifle, which I actually got to fire when they did troop trials with it back in the late 1980s.

becoming a parent mean giving up life

Well, if you define “life” as “being able to go partying all weekend”, then yes, it means giving up that life. 

For me, parenthood has meant being able to look at life from a new perspective.  You learn lots about yourself, and you rediscover the neat little details in life we tend to overlook as grown-ups.  You can’t help but share the fun of a two-year-old who has just discovered how to blow dandelion seeds off the flower.

pelikan m205 blue demonstrator

That’s a nice little pen.  I love the chrome accents and ice-blue color scheme.  I never bonded with the more conventional M200 (the base for the M205), because the black plastic and fake gold trim just makes the M200 look like a cheaper version of a more expensive pen.  (It’s still a nice pen even in the classic trim, though.)

The M205 looks more like a standalone model, and there’s something neat about the 1930s tech in modern chrome-and-translucent-plastic packaging.

garand hold open device

The bolt hold-open device on an M1 Garand rifle is called “the user’s thumb”. That’s how we got the gun-related injury commonly called the Garand Thumb, which is what you get when you don’t pull it out of the breech fast enough after inserting an en-bloc clip.

(Technically, it does have a proper bolt stop, because the bolt stays back when the rifle is empty. It just gets deactivated when a new en-bloc clip is in the action, and the Garand bolt will close as soon as that clip is pushed into place.)

fernspaeher beret

The Fernspaeher beret is maroon (because it’s an airborne branch), just like the berets of the German paratroopers, commando troops, and army aviation units.  The badge on the beret is what’s unique to each service, and the Fernspaeher one looks like this:


The stuff inside the wreath: an eagle (signifying airborne ops), lightning bolts (for signal and communications), and crossed marker flags (for reconnaissance.) The little device at the bottom center of the outer wreath of oak leaves is a German flag.

parker 51 dot system

The Parker “51” usually has a date code at the bottom of the barrel, right by the clutch ring.  It’s a one-digit code for the year (“1” for 1951 or 1961, for example), and it may be surrounded by up to three little dots.  When they started a new year at the factory, they put in a number die with three little dots surrounding the year digit.  Every quarter, they’d remove one dot with a file.  Three dots around the number mean the pen was made in the first quarter of that year, two dots mean second quarter, and so on.  (You can tell the decade by the revision of the pen—there were no vacumatic filler “51”s made past 1948, for example, and the aerometric “51” had three distinct revisions.)

best way to keep badgers off property

You put up little signs around your place.  They should have a clear pictogram of a raccoon, a slash mark through the pictogram, and the words “THIS IS A RACCOON-FREE ZONE” underneath.

(That should work at least as well as the “DRUG-FREE ZONE” signs they put on schools, or the “NO GUNS ALLOWED” ones on the entrance doors of stores opposed to legal civilian gun toters.)

origin of fifteen bean soup

Some dude was eating twelve-bean soup one day, and said to himself, “You know what?  There just  aren’t enough beans in this soup.”

Or maybe it was a culinary arms race between two villages in Spain, each famous for bean soup.  “Ah! Villarriba just developed a fourteen-bean soup!  We here in Villabajo simply must top that.  Find another kind of bean, amigos!”

alphasmart neo word count

Press CTRL+W, and you’ll get a word count on the screen.

pens of 1941

In 1941, the Pens To Have would have been the brand new Parker “51”, or the swank Parker Vacumatic.  In Europe, some of the popular pens at the time were the Pelikan 100 and some iteration of the Montblanc.

What they didn’t have yet were disposable ballpoints, a circumstance which deprived them of a cramp-inducing writing experience, along with the opportunity to add billions of the nasty little things to landfills every year.


And that’s it for this Monday, folks!  Tune in again next week, when we comb the blog stats for answers to questions nobody actually asked me directly…


17 thoughts on “monday search term safari LXXII.

  1. R.A.W. says:

    If you put up a “no raccoons” sign, will it keep out badgers?

    • Marko Kloos says:

      Not only will it not keep out raccoons, it will also not keep out any badgers.

      • Matthew Carberry says:

        Having neither of the former in Alaska, I am curious if the sign would be equally ineffective against, say, wolverines or even marten.

        If so, the broad flexibility of said sign almost makes it a bargain, even considering its utter lack of practical utility.

        • Brian Dale says:

          OK, then it’s simple. Post the No Raccoons signs around your property. As long as you do it in Alaska, it’ll keep the badgers out.

  2. Bob says:

    Ok, so what was the H&K G11 like to handle and fire?

    BTW- I still like the idea of a “Chipmunk” sized .22 Kid sized Martini Rifle, but since Martinis aren’t made anymore it’s completely impractical…. And since nobody asked me, I figure if you started with a used Toz 35M or similar Hammerli model pistol, rebarreled it to carbine length, fitted it with a custom stock, and add iron sights, you’d be all set.

    • Marko Kloos says:

      Surprisingly heavy for its size. Very low recoil. Noisy, sharp report. Amazing cyclic rate in three-round burst mode. Weird bolt handle…you had to turn it like an egg timer or parking meter knob to charge it.

      I liked the ability to carry 150 rounds ready to go on the weapon. You could have one mag in the rifle, and two on the rails to either side. With the standard mag pouches, each trooper would have been able to haul 450 rounds battle load, at roughly the same weight as our 100 rounds loadout for the G3.

      The optical sight wasn’t anything fancy, but quite a bit better than iron sights. Easy to score perfect range scores with it. All in all, I liked it a lot, but it was never issued widely in the end. Something about the cost of the unification, and all those hundreds of thousands of AK-74s we inherited from East Germany.

      • Nomen Nescio says:

        you had to turn it like an egg timer or parking meter knob

        okay, i remember turning knobs on parking meters. egg timers, too. but kids just getting their licenses the last several years will have no clue what you’re talking about.

      • Marko, would you consider writing up a detailed user report on the G-11 for a future post? You’re the first guy I’ve run across who actually fired one of those things.

      • Reuben says:

        Dang Marko,
        I wish I could lay claim to doing something as cool as that. I’m pretty sure I’m not even cool enough to read about doing something as cool as that.

    • Tam says:

      BTW- I still like the idea of a “Chipmunk” sized .22 Kid sized Martini Rifle, but since Martinis aren’t made anymore it’s completely impractical….

      Stevens Crackshots aren’t too hard to find or terribly expensive, and they still make the Favorite.

      • Bob says:

        Agreed they are inexpensive and the Favorite is still available, but both are Swinging Block actions not Martini actions, and have a slower lock time. Also both are larger and heavier (36.75″ overall, 20″ barrel, 4.25 lbs.[current model Favorite]) than the Chipmunk (30″ overall, w/ 16″ barrel, 2.5 lbs.).

  3. Grant says:

    “Or maybe it was a culinary arms race between two villages in Spain, each famous for bean soup.”

    I can hear it now: “Senor Presidente, we must not allow a BEAN SOUP GAP!”

  4. Assrot says:

    Off topic but I just wanted to say that I thought your article in Blue Press about Thunder Dome was great. (Yes, I’m a little behind on my reading.)

    My kids and grandkids came to visit me this past weekend for an early birthday party so I enlightened them with your article. They all enjoyed it for the most part. I do have one son-in-law that is somewhat of a bliss ninnie.

    Anyway, thanks for the great article and happy birthday. I have a feeling our birthdays are on the same day of the year although a couple of decades apart.


  5. Joat says:

    “For starters, the First Commandment and the First Amendment both address freedom of religion, but end up at diametrically opposed positions.”

    I went to a catholic high school, in one on the religion classes they tried to make the argument that the commandments were equilavant to rights:
    Thou shalt not kill == you have the right to life
    Thou shalt not steal == you have the right to property
    It more or less works for those, but when she got to the first commandment:
    Thou shalt have no other gods before me == you have the freedom of religion.
    I had to argue, I did find out that ex-nun’s don’t hit all that hard, and I didn’t even get into the question can I have some gods under that one?

    • Wild Deuce says:

      I don’t know about commandments being equivalent to rights. Amendments are about enumerating rights while commandments are about enumerating individual duties and responsibilities.

      The Ten Commandments were also meant to condemn mankind or show him that he cannot make the grade and is therefore in need of redemption. Man is still free to obey or disobey but is not free from the consequences.

      The First Amendment simply restrains government.

  6. Rob says:

    The guy looking for the “garand hold open device” may be looking for the “thumb saver” device. I see them advertised in the Shotgun News.

  7. LabRat says:

    If our kitchen is anything to go by, I have the feeling fifteen-bean soup originated in the kitchen of someone with a whole lot of mostly-cashed-out bags of dried beans of different sorts.

Comments are closed.