Friday, January 15, 2016

I love Chicago architecture!

From 2004 to 2007 I worked in Chicago, in the Loop. One Sunday afternoon in the April, 2005, I took my camera and wandered around. Here are some of my favorite pictures.

The Sweet Spot (my name for it, official name: The Batcolumn). This enormous bat (101 feet) is at 600 W. Madison. I got the sun inside the bat, but missed the sweet spot by a bit, but maybe it's good for a sac fly.


Light and Dark on Wacker


Left to right: Water works, old Quaker Oats Tower and what I call the Jetson's Building


Facing Wacker from across the Chicago River


Looking straight up on Wacker Drive


The Wrigley Building - yes, the clock works


The Merchandise Mart






Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Handling WWII weapons

This past Saturday, I went to a local gun show with a good friend. 

It was dirt cold that morning, and the venue was the auto race track on the southwest side of the city. The paved parking lot was full by the time we arrived a little after ten am, so we had to drive over the ice-covered "grass," which had been previously driven on when it was wet and thawed, and the ruts were like something from the horse and buggy days.

This was only my second gun show ever; I don't own any weapons, but find the show a great place to see and touch WWII weapons. It took a couple of hours to walk up and down the many aisles filled with sellers' tables. 

Here's the list of weapons I got to pick up and examine:

  • Thompson .45 caliber submachinegun
  • British Sten submachinegun
  • M-1 Garand
  • Mauser 98
  • Luger
  • M-14 (not WWII, but still cool)


We ran across a Mauser 98 with a scope (like the weapon Madeline uses in the book Saving Paris). The seller thought it was produced at the end of the war and never issued. The price tag was $10,000! I did not ask to pick that one up!



The only thing I bought for myself was a dummy .50 caliber round. In the pics below you can see just how huge this round is. Imagine 700 of these hitting your aircraft in one minute. The .30 caliber was fired by the honor guard at my Uncle Amos's funeral a few years ago.





I looked for a 1911 Colt .45, but didn't find one. There were lots of .45s, but they were all new(er). Maybe next year.

Real-time Earth and Moon phase