1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.

1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.
A view through the wheel. The black, horizontal line is the axle, the single largest forging to that time.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Monday, July 28, 2008

Knucks


My latest obsession, knuckledusters.
As I've mentioned earlier, I've always been drawn to knuckle-knives.
The knucks by themselves were a different story. I always drifted toward the common belief that they're "thug's weapons".
The past few years however have shown us that there's a far more potent and terrifying force wielded by the thug-in-chief; the executive signing statement.
Here's a hypothetical, as aforementioned idiot would say:
Walking through the food court of a mall, would I arouse more suspicion and fear if I were carrying;
A. A fearsome set of "brass knuckles"
or
B. A framing hammer
Folks who've recently remodeled may of course choose the wrong answer.
Actually, a knuckleduster would virtually guarantee a talk with those "protectors and servers" and you would be lucky if it were only confiscated.
The hammer, no one would look twice at.
Which is the more "deadly weapon"?
These things have been around forever but have largely been under the radar.
Historical examples and references are all over but there's no coherent "arc" of history. No beginning, middle etc.
While the swords, knives and guns have grabbed all the attention, these have just slogged along in the rear, the unloved bastard children.
Just for the record, I reject the wisdom that one hears so often; the belief that the knife is "man's first tool".
My feeling is that the first tool improvised by our hairier ancestors would have been the hammer, known in my old military vernacular as the BFR (Big Fucking Rock).The impulse to break something is more basic and primitive than the one to cut.
So, the KD is a logical extension from that magic time when one of out cave-dwelling predecessors said "When I hit Fred with a rock in my hand, he stayed out a lot longer."
Enough silliness.
To The Wayback Machine.
Introducing "The Boxer of Quirinal".
According to "Gardner's Art Through the Ages", the warhorse of art history, this is a very late Hellenistic sculpture (circa 50 BC), probably of a specific fighter.
One of the things pointing to a date closer to Roman than Greek times is what the old bruiser is wearing on his hands.
When I first saw a picture of this guy, my first thought was "early boxing gloves".
No, these interesting fashion accessories are examples of the cestus.
When the Greeks used them first they consisted of leather thongs that supplied support to the fist. There was some move toward their making the punch more effective but it seems to have been a minor priority.
The concept was expanded upon by the Romans who never met an ugly spectacle they didn't like.
In the "circus" part of the "Bread and Circus's" world the need gradually evolved for a little more pizazz, a little more punch, a little more blood and mayhem in the boxing events.
So, what better move than to start larding up the old cestus with some hardware; nails, spikes, sheets of lead and iron. The show must go on.
Our boy pictured above; let's call him "Al" is sporting what appears to be three sheets of lead (?) with finger loops, all tied together and laced onto his hands.
If it was indeed lead, each "fist-load" would have weighed-in at around two pounds or so, thus making Al's blows memorable to say the least.
Checking out the fist-target that is Al's face tells us that, in his day Al had caught more than a few cesti on the old snot-locker.
He's become, in the words of Dave Courtney, Britain's "Celebrity Bouncer" and career criminal, "A six-foot, flat-nosed geezer".
We'll be referring to Mr. Courtney again later.
He has a nice lucid take on self-defense that'll expand on in our later discussion of...
KNUCKS

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