Waste Of Time

Prompted by several men of my acquaintance, I succumbed to the hype and watched the Reacher  show on Amazon’s “Prime” channel yesterday — yeah, unto the entire first season so nobody could accuse me of missing the good part or the ending, or whatever.

What.  Bullshit.

Apart from an insanely-ridiculous plot with more holes than a mesh facemark, the entire premise of the show (stolen wholesale from the Then Came Bronson  TV series of 1969-70, only with ultra- violence added) is at about comic-book level, i.e. aimed at the nine-year-old boy mentality.

Loner comes to town, finds rampant injustice, fights against it (literally), kills everyone, wins in the end.  Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider  did it better and more convincingly, in two hours.

I am getting so sick of people fighting in movies, landing what would be crippling blows in real life, only to jump back into the fray and land equally-devastating blows on the opponent.

Pro tip:  when someone is head-butted in the face, the result is a broken nose, broken jaw, broken cheekbone (or all the above), and temporary befuddlement if not outright unconsciousness.  In almost every fight scene in this foul waste of time, the fighters would land not one, but several head-butts on each other, with seemingly no ill effects on either.  Even worse, after the fight was over, nobody showed any ill-effects — no bruising, no fractures, nada.

In one risible fight, Our Hero Reacher gets hit not once but seven times in the ribs with a crowbar.  I hate to spoil the secret, but one blow in the ribs with a crowbar is Game Over — broken ribs, punctured lungs, organ damage — and trying to block the blow with a forearm ends with a broken arm.  And worse, when we see him later (in a predictable sex scene which made me howl with laughter, so awkwardly was it staged), there were absolutely no signs of him having been in mortal combat but a few minutes earlier.

I also think the Desert Eagle was loaded with .22 LR bullets, so little did it recoil.  Please.

Finally, the casting.  Uh huh:  a 6’5″ musclebound protagonist with a steely stare?  Shrimpy dwarf Tom Cruise was more convincing in the movie version, because at least he could hide in a crowd if he had to.   This man-mountain would stand out on Muscle Beach in L.A.

One-dimensional:  the character, the plot, the bad guys, everything.  Oh, and answer me this:  mid-summer in a small town in Georgia, and nobody’s perspiring outdoors?

This show is quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever seen on TV, and any future series is going to be roundly ignored, with prejudice.


I’m not often envious of what other people do or have, but I’ll make an exception for this guy and his toy:

We used to have a 30′ Scalextric track layout in the basement of our Chicago suburban home, but in subsequent homes we never had the space available to set it up again.  And unlike Our Hero, we only had a few cars, which we’d race against each other by class, so to speak:



Great fun.

More Difficult Choices

Last week’s post on aircraft provoked more comments from Readers than just about any other piece at this blog.

So this week I’m going to do something quite different.

The scenario:  you are going to do a road trip in Italy which will more or less follow the old Mille Miglia race course.  It will not be a race — in fact, you will end up driving quite slowly, stopping to enjoy all the wonderful views and other attractions along the way.  The only stipulations are a.) that you are in your early thirties, and b.) that whatever car you choose for the trip will be mechanically sound (i.e. no breakdowns).

To make it even more interesting, whichever car you choose will involve a mandatory traveling companion of similar vintage, and your choice therefore requires you to pick not only the car, but the companion as well.  You may not choose or substitute any outside the pairings as listed.

Choice #1:   1958 Lancia Aurelia B24 and 1958 Sophia Loren

Choice #2:  1968 Morgan 8 and 1968 Grace Kelly  

Choice #3:  1967 Austin-Healey MkIII and 1967 Gina Lollobrigida


Choice #4:   1965 Ferrari 330 GTS Spider and 1965 Suzanne Pleshette   

Choice #5:  1959 Corvette and 1962 Ann-Margret 

Choice #6:  1958 Mercedes 300 Roadster and 1958 Elizabeth Taylor

One choice, and one choice only.  Enjoy the trip.

Update:   I fixed the date of the Corvette, and of Ann-Margret just a little (she would have been 18 in 1959, shuddup you pervos).

Also: what part of “you’re not going to experience car trouble” was not clear?

From The Mailbox

I like getting letters such as this one from Longtime Reader Topcat1957:

I don’t know if you’re a knife guy (besides the obligatory Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting knife, which all men with chests need), but here are a couple of mine from a S’Affrikin maker, Arno Bernard. Good bunch of guys putting out quality knives. A little pricey, but worth the money, I reckon.

The top one is a handy little field knife (Fin and Feather) with African blackwood and warthog tusk scales. I don’t hunt anything bigger than quail anymore, and only fish for brook trout, but this will make short work of both.
The bottom one is a small utility knife, also finished in warthog tusk.

Great Vulcan’s testicles, but those are exquisite.  I had no idea that warthog tusks made such lovely handles [makes note to ask Doc Russia and Mr. Free Market to get me a couple on their next African safari together].

I am not really a “knife” man — I own barely more than three dozen in total, and only a couple thereof are of comparable beauty/value withal — for the simple reason that I regard knives (even more than guns) as tools.  As such, I use them and wear them out.

Yes, I do have a couple decent ones, such as the Big Guys:

…the Little Guys:

…and what I refer to as the “Working Class”:

…along with sundry bayonets, pen knives and utility knives.

But none of them even begins to compare with Topcat’s two.  Hell, even the elephant-hide sheath for his little knife is sublime.

I welcome all similar offerings from my Readers on their fine cutlery…

Crossing America — 2021

Time to play this game again.

The Challenge:  You have the opportunity to go back in time, arriving on the east coast of North America circa  1650 in the early spring, and your goal is to cross the North American continent, taking as much time as you need.  When / if you reach the Pacific coastline, you’ll be transported back to the present day.  Your equipment for this journey will be as follows (taken back in the time capsule with you):

— enough provisions for the first five days’ travel
— a backpack containing some clothing essentials
— a winter coat, raincoat and boots
— waterproof sleeping bag
— an axe, and a small sharpening stone
— a couple knives
— a box of 1,000 “strike anywhere” waterproof matches
— a portable water filtration system
— a set of topographic maps of North America
— binoculars and a compass
— a current U.S. Army First Aid kit
ONE long gun (shotgun or rifle) and 200 rounds of ammo (but no scope;  and no interchangeable-barrel rifles like a Thompson Center Encore or Blaser;  drillings are acceptable, but you still only get 200 rounds of ammo, total)
ONE handgun (and 400 rounds)
ONE rimfire gun (either a rifle or handgun, with 500 rounds).

Yeah, I changed it up a little.

Once there, you’ll be given a horse, a mule and a dog or two — but apart from that, you’re on your own.  Remember you’ll be traveling through deep woods, open prairie, desert and mountains.  You may encounter hostile Indian tribes and dangerous animals en route, which should be considered when you answer the following questions (and only these):

1.  What long gun would you take back in time with you?
2.  What handgun?
3.  What rimfire?

Unlike previous surveys, I’m not going to tabulate the answers;  just have at it in Comments.  Reasons need not be given, as the choices will pretty much speak for themselves.  If you must  justify your choices, keep it short (as I have with mine).

Oh, and one last thing:  you can’t keep your previous choices of firearm;  you must find new ones.  So in my case, for example, I can’t pick the 1896 Swedish Mauser and Ruger Redhawk .357 revolver from last time — so my own new choices are below the fold.

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