Sunday, April 27, 2014

Now This is Fun!

If you're into the history of technology, machine-guns, or the AK-47...

And who isn't? The Gun is a fascinating history of the AK-47, the world's most ubiquitous firearm and most popular assault rifle, by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist C.J. Chivers. I picked it up at Peregrine Books while strolling around downtown Prescott yesterday and I've been tearing into it ever since. He starts by discussing the origins of rapid firing guns, such as the Gatling in 1860s, through the development of the first machine-gun by Maxim in the late 19th century, and... I'm still reading.

Years ago I read and reread The AK47 Story: Evolution of the Kalashnikov Weapons, a much 
more technical volume written by Edward Clinton Ezell. In The Gun, Chivers is constructing a captivating historical narrative that benefits from declassification that has occured since the collapse of the USSR. I'll keep you posted.

In the mean time, if anyone knows where I can score a clean Yugo underfolder for a good price please pen me a note.

Hiding in Plain Sight

Never got around to watching this gem until now...

Our kids loved the animated Disney musical (1991) but stills from the 1946 film by Jean Cocteau, The Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bete) always struck me as pretty cheesy. Wrong, again! Apparently many of its clever visual touches were driven by budget limitations in war time France. We're all the better for it. It's great fun to see how much of it served as source material for what has also become a Disney classic. Definitely worth an hour and a half of your time.  I watched it on TCM, but Criterion offers it in several formats.