Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One and Done: The 1997 AOL Christmas Special, "The Online Adventures of Ozzie the Elf"

Remember the animated holiday classic, The Online Adventures of Ozzie the Elf? Yeah, me neither.

It came out in 1997. (Here's an AOL Canada press release about it.) It represented some sort of new media synergy, which was all the rage at the time. It features claymation and really dated '90s references.

I never saw the one and only TV airing. I think they had it playing on monitors at one of the AOL employee holiday parties.

Anyway, you can find it on YouTube:

Favorite 80s Christmas Songs (And a Chicken in a Ba-na-na Tree)

As a man-child of the 1980s, I naturally think that '80s Christmas songs are the bestest of all time (boomer nostalgia-driven radio airplay notwithstanding -- suck it, Millenials). Although in recent years, I've managed to avoid most of the trappings of the holiday season, there a still a few favorites I just like to hear:

Band Aid, "Do They Know Its Christmas" (1984) -- To me, the defining, omnibus song of the 1980s, and still my all-time favorite Christmas song.

The Waitresses, "Christmas Wrapping" (1981) -- My first exposure to the Waitresses was "I Know What Boys Like." It made me feel bad. This song was better.

Elmo & Patsy, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" (1984 re-release) -- '80s cheese, but I have to hear it at least once before Christmas. This used to be difficult, before streaming MP3 radio, YouTube, and god knows what the kids are using these days.

U2, "Baby Please Come Home" (1987) -- I don't really think of this as a Christmas song; I can listen to Bono wailing away in it all year round.

Wham! "Last Christmas" (1984) -- This is mid-tier '80s Christmas for me.

'70s Interlude

Donny Osmond "Twelve Days of Christmas" (1979) -- Now, while not technically 80s, this one has stayed with me through the years, if only for the annoyingly stupid chorus:

I was 7 at the time. I saw it live (I would have had to, of course.)

The celebrity Christmas special hasn't really aged well, as Nick and Jessica showed us.

The Pogues, "Fairytale Of New York" (1987) -- I only really got into this song in college, and I don't really think of it as a Christmas song (just like most people don't think of Die Hard as a Christmas movie). This, too, I can also listen to all year long.

Bob & Doug McKenzie, "12 Days of Christmas" (1982) -- Another for the annoyingly catchy chorus. ("And a beer... in a tree.")

Paul McCartney, "Wonderful Christmastime" (1979) -- Christmas light. Kind of a palate-cleanser, with more synth.

Billy Squier, "Christmas Is a Time to Say I Love You" (1981) -- The one thing that really makes this one memorable is my friend Steve lip-synching this for a talent show in high school. He ended it by sliding on his knees. It looked like it hurt.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, "Little Drummer Boy" (1981) -- Kind of an odd one. I know some folks don't like it.

Interlude: 30 Second Hate

I hate Hate HATE Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" (1985). I never liked it. I still don't like it. Although I hope Santa brought Clarence a new saxophone before he died.

John Lennon, "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" (1980 re-release) -- I kind of missed out on the whole John Lennon thing at the time. But I did like the song.

David Bowie & Bing Crosby, "Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy" (1977) -- This is an awesome song, and it doesn't get nearly enough airplay. Even though the setup is pretty bizarre.

The Kinks, "Father Christmas" (1977) -- A staple of classic rock Christmas, it's also a pretty awesome song.

"Keep Christmas With You All Through the Year" (1978). I haven't watched Christmas Eve on Sesame Street in years. It's really good. It made me sad.

Did you know: The Cocteau Twins did a version of "Frosty the Snowman"? (1992) I didn't.

Bonus: 90s and Beyond

Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan, "God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings" (2004) -- The first part swings a bit. I like it.

Mariah Carey, "All I Want for Christmas Is You" (1994) -- This is probably my guiltiest pleasure on the list.

Eric Cartman singing "O Holy Night" (1999) -- *ZZZAAAPPP*

Monday, November 28, 2011

GAO Trolls For-Profit Colleges

For work, I've been having to keep an eye out for reports from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that relate to government contracting and procurement. But GAO  reports on a lot of interesting stuff, so while I wouldn't say I'm reading GAO reports for fun, I'm definitely reading a lot more of them.

GAO Report 12-150: For-Profit Schools
In For-Profit Schools: Experiences of Undercover Students Enrolled in Online Classes at Selected Colleges, GAO looked at 15 for-profit institutions that offered online classes, and found that 7 of the 15 didn't follow their own policies on plagiarism and substandard academic performance.

For example, at College 4, as part of a "Learning Strategies and Techniques" class for a 2-year associate business degree:
"For a written exam that required the student to submit detailed explanations to four questions, the student submitted photos of political figures and celebrities."
I picture an undercover GAO investigator/Redditor, trolling the assignment by sending advice animal pictures.

The student received a passing C-minus grade.

That's the most amusing tidbit I found. The report also looks at admission, financial aid, exit counseling and other practices at for-profit schools.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Don't Vote for the Homosexual (Anti-Gay Smear or Sneaky Tactic?)

 Got this postcard in the mail today:


The front of the no-frills, black and white card says:

Patrick Forrest: Coming Out of the Liberal Closet!
* Patrick Forrest is Openly Homosexual... He was endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

* Patrick Forrest supports illegal immigration reform. He is a Federal Gov't immigration attorney, who worked for migrant farm workers.

* Patrick Forrest worked for President Obama's Transition team.

* And finally, Patrick Forrest has voted in Democratic Primaries.

A liberal Republican, like Patrick Forrest, is a greater threat to the conservative agenda than a Democrat will ever be.

Don't be fooled this November...

The back of the postcard:


The return address says, "Paid for and Authorized by Our Heritage USA, 306 12th Street, Lynchburg, VA 24504, and repeats the "Coming Out of the Liberal Closet," with heavy emphasis on the "coming out" bit.

Our Heritage USA doesn't have a web site I can find, and the Google Maps result for 306 12th Street Lynchburg isn't particularly enlightening.

As to the context of the postcard -- Patrick Forrest, a resident of Reston, VA, is the Republican candidate running against Democratic incumbent Janet Howell for the Virginia State Senate in the 32nd District, which covers portions of Fairfax and Arlington counties.

His campaign Web site doesn't mention his sexuality, though he is listed on the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund site and he's apparently been pretty open about it in news coverage which I hadn't been paying attention to.

As to the second bullet, about supporting illegal immigration reform and being a Federal Gubbmint immigration attorney, I'm not sure why this is supposed to be a bad thing, other than it includes some hot-button keywords.

According to the campaign Web site, he worked for the Department of Homeland Security as lead counsel for the E-Verify program (you know, the program designed to filter out illegal immigrants from employment), so it's kind of a weird attempt to smear based on buzzwords.

The other points seem to be half-truths -- he was on the Homeland Security Presidential Transition Team in 2008 (while working for DHS, hardly a partisan matter). As to the voting in Democratic primaries, Virginia is an open primary state and you don't have to register with a party, so it's another pretty silly smear attempt.

I haven't been paying attention to the local races -- I just assumed that incumbent Howell was pretty safe given the general blueness of the area -- and I wasn't even aware of candidate Forrest until today's postcard.

In my exhaustive Friday night research, I see the Washington Blade had an article yesterday about negative campaigning by the Victory Fund on behalf of Forrest, though previous coverage looked at attacks on Forrest by the other side.

Anti-Gay Smear or Sneaky Political Tactic?

Knowing nothing about "Our Heritage USA," and seeing the Lynchburg VA address, the initial  assumption would be that it's a clumsy attempt by a conservative group to smear a gay candidate.

But then again... this is a general election, not a primary. Given the closeness of the margin of control of the Virginia State Senate, would Republicans throw one of their own under the bus by essentially saying "let the Democrat win" this race?

Putting on my conspiracy hat, I wonder if this might be a reverse-psychology attempt by a Forrest partisan to siphon moderate Democrats away from incumbent Howell. The controversy around the anti-gay message would generate outrage and gather attention to the race, and would at least help with name recognition for the challenger.  Though it's awfully close to Election Day -- you'd think a tactic like this (if it were indeed a tactic) would have been better a few weeks ago.

This is why transparency and reporting is important when it comes to political financing, kids.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

AOL Listserv to be Discontinued [Effective today, Nov. 1]

[Update -- Nov. 2: The AOL Listserv shutdown has been pushed back to Dec. 1, presumably to let listowner slackers have more time to transition their lists. A notice on the L-Soft web site offers 3 free months of list hosting for AOL-hosted lists.]
Dear AOL Listserv Administrator,

You are receiving this email because you have been listed as the administration for one or more lists hosted by AOL’s listserv service.  We would like to inform you that AOL will be discontinuing the listserv service on November 1st, 2011.  If your list is still actively used, please make arrangements to find another service prior to the shutdown date and notify your list members of the transition details.  If you are no longer actively using this service then no other action is required

If you have any questions, please contact  Thank you.
Technically, I was listed as an owner of a few listserves, but they don't seem to exist any more, at least not any that I could send to.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Forgot My Layoff Anniversary

I forgot the 4-year anniversary of my layoff from AOL: Oct. 16, 2007.

I'd remembered it was sometime in October, though by the time I checked, it had already passed.

It was kind of a big deal at the time.

Layoff day, 2007.

It's still one of the more important milestones in my life. I revisited it in 2009, though in the intervening years, I find I don't think about it as much, nor do I know very much about the company any more.

I do, however, think about the people, as I still run into many former -- and even current employees -- in the area. And not just professionally: Random, everyday places, outside of reunion activities.

This month, it was John Keeling (still at Motley Fool) at the CVS, and then Lisa Namerow (now GM at AOL Music) at Harris Teeter.

Back in those days, I was kind of an accidental connector, mostly because I'd been around for a while. Especially in the heady stock option days, people would move around a lot internally, so after a while, you'd be pretty well networked through the company just by staying in the same place as people transferred around you.

Also back in those days, after people left AOL, they kind of reformed around a few companies -- Washington Post, Discovery or National Geographic. Nowadays, things are more fragmented (and a lot of my friends have pulled up stakes and moved), but it seems that companies folks are gravitating around are Perfect Sense Digital and AARP. K12, too.

Anyway, that's four years gone by.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pictures of People Pulling a Plane

I went to the 2011 Dulles Day Plane Pull on Saturday. It didn't rain. I took a bunch of photos. Most of them involve people pulling a plane (Krystle, a FedEx Airbus A310-221) that weighs 160,000 pounds empty.

If you like looking at the fronts of planes and the backs of t-shirts, there are shots like this:

Team FGM.

Though I preferred trying to see people's faces. This one was from the side:

Note the specific lack of "plane" in this shot.

Team Codgers.

The photos I liked best, I shot from the tail of the plane, looking forward, using the 10x zoom on the Nikon. There still wasn't a lot of plane, but you can see the nose gear:

The best expressions of the day.

There's a few more of this team, some showing less effort, some more.

I like the UPS plane tail in the background.

The Shooting Divas of DMV, an all-woman team.

They seem awful happy.



Team TSA. There were several jokes made about Team TSA being allowed to keep their shoes on.

Every bit helps.

Non-Pully Things

There were also a lot of non-pully things, including an Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger airliner:
The Airbus A380 is quite large.

Danger -> | <- Danger

Strong robot presence (thanks to the Alexandria Police Department.)

There are also a bunch of photos of A-10s, a C-17, B-25 and more hardware from the Alexandria PD.

Finally, I bought a large pizza for $5 as I was leaving.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

9/13/99: Never Forget (Breakaway Day)

Repurposing my entry originally published in 2006: today, September 13, we remember the day where, in 1999, we lost all 311 inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha, when a thermonuclear chain reaction on the moon's Nuclear Waste Disposal Area 2 blasted the moon out of Earth orbit and into Space: 1999:

Sept. 13, 1999: Never Forget

Although we are still dealing with the resulting environmental and geological devastation, we on Earth persevere, and seek to honor the Moonbase Alpha victims: NEVER FORGET:

We Will Never Forget Moonbase Alpha

Similarly, we must always remember the heroism of the Eagle Transport pilots and crew as they tried to rescue the trapped Alphans:
Let the Mighty Eagles Soar

May the victims of the Moonbase Alpha disaster always be remembered:
God Bless Moonbase Alpha

Spread the word with graphic badges:
Space 1999 Memorial Gif: 9/13/99
Space 1999 Memorial Gif: 9/13/99
Space 1999 Memorial Gif: 9/13/99
9/13/99: Never Forget.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

5 Years After Five Years After 9/11

Today's 9/11 remembrances have given way to football (save for the slew of prime time specials on the stations not carrying NFL games), but I thought I'd post my Sept. 11, 2001 memory anyway.

Here's the entry I did in 2006, back for the now-defunct AOL Journals product, part of John Scalzi's "Weekend Assignment" series. This will be an edited version, removing dead links and adding a few annotations:

Remembering 9/11

I'm going to use blogger John's Weekend Assignment #128, 9/11, Five Years On as the starting point for this entry, then keep it going.

It starts out a little self-indulgent, hope you don't mind.

Now, I've don't think I've ever blogged about my memories of 9/11. Five years ago, I was the home page programming manager -- I did the content for the main page. Back then, there wasn't much content on the main page (compared to now), but it was still enough to keep one guy -- me -- busy.

I was getting ready to leave my house at around 9am, when I got a call from Gina, one of my co-workers. She'd asked me if I'd been watching the news. I hadn't, so I turned on CNN.

One of the towers was smoking, and the caption said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I let out a laugh of disbelief (there's a Soul Coughing song, "Is Chicago, Is Not Chicago," that starts with the lyric, "A man, drives a plane, into the Chrysler building" -- it was all I could think about).

I told her I was on my way in and turned off the TV. To this day, I'm not sure if I'd just missed watching Flight 175 hit the South Tower, or if it has already been hit. Either way, I'm glad I didn't see it happen live.

The office was just about 15 minutes away. I listened to the news on the way in. Like most people, I'd thought it was some small plane that had hit; as I kept listening, I realized just how wrong I was. I started driving faster.

I pretty much skidded into the parking lot and ran to my desk. I had to get the home page updated -- there were two autofed My News top headlines, but I needed to get the promo spot, as tiny as it was -- as 63x63 graphic with a few lines of text -- updated.

Now, the Internet Archive has some versions saved of from back then (here's 9/14/01 -- you'll need to turn off Javascript, or it will redirect to the current site).

(The Archive shows the non-signed in view of -- back in 2001, we focused on AOL members who were coming from inside the AOL client software, or who signed on from the Web to check their Webmail. Since we were concentrating on members, when we took the other advertising off the page, we left a big honkin' [for its time] billboard ad up on the non-signed in view. That's what shows up in the Archive, of course.)

Anyway, the photo department folks were on the ball, so I was able to publish my promo quickly. I guess I knew that this was important, so I saved a local copy of the page (screen shot below):
We later pulled off all the advertising, including that "Sign on a Friend" text promo, but that hadn't happened yet.
A short time later, we got the word to evacuate and go home. The parking garage was chaotic, and after a few minutes, I just decided to stay; I wasn't trying to be stoic -- I just didn't see the point of going home (sorry, Jeff K.)

I headed up to the AOL Newsroom, found a empty cube with a view of the TV and set up. Looking back, I was just glad to be keeping busy, even if it was ultimately just updating a few lines of text and some photos on a Web page. It kept me from staring at the events on the TV.

I remember at one point, Steve Case came in; he called us all into the News conference room, thanked us for being there and told us keep doing our jobs.

The rest of the day was kind of a blur. We were hearing all kinds of stories -- car bomb at the State Dept., the USA Today building had been hit (it turned out to be smoke from the Pentagon across the river).

Eventually, I went home. I didn't sleep well.

The next few days were all about trying to keep up with the flow of information, and to get it out there. This included a request from Pentagon public information folks to add contact info to the main page, which we did, gladly (the Pentagon is only about 30 miles from here -- lots of folks who work there live in the area):

Like I said, it was just pushing words and pictures around, but I later figured out that a few hundred thousand folks, maybe more, had clicked through to the news and help resources that we'd linked to. Sure, they would have gotten it from somewhere else, but it made me feel less useless.

When the weekend came, I went with a friend of mine to a temporary Salvation Army distribution center that they'd set up in Alexandria to help support the rescue and recovery efforts at the Pentagon. We just wanted to do something concrete, even if it was just taking shopping bags of donations from people and putting them in the right spot in a warehouse so they could be packed up and shipped out.

There were more a lot more people than they needed, people who just wanted to help. They didn't turn anyone away.

I knew what I was doing was just busy work, but it was gratifying to see so many people who wanted to help, and so many people who were donating stuff. That's one of the things that I want to remember most -- people wanted to help.


I think that for this 5-year anniversary of 9/11, there's a reemphasis on remembering what happened that day. Maybe it's because of the movies that have come out recently, or the troops abroad at war. Here are a few things that are going on around the Web and blogosphere:

* The 2,996 Project is a tribute to the victims of 9/11, where volunteer bloggers are posting memorials for each one of the 2,996 victims. They've already gotten at least one blogger for each memorial, and they're going around again.

AOL Journalers participating in the project include>Andi, Raven, Gigi, Donna, Jackie, Delaine, Barbara, midmofreeper, Christine, Kathy, Nat, Cindy, Millie, Kathy; there are a bunch of others -- many will be posting their tributes on Monday.

* Al Tompkins over at Al's Morning Meeting takes a look at how some of the changes felt immediately after 9/11 did or didn't last over the long term.

* AOL Book Maven blogger Bethanne Patrick highlights some of the books about 9/11

* As I mentioned, you can use the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine to search to find Web pages before, during and after 9/11 (or most other dates after 1996).

* You can remember 9/11 by donating over at Network for Good; also, you can make a pledge to help via (you can also check out profiles for on both AIM Pages and MySpace.

* Also, search for more blog content on 9/11 on blog search engines, Technorati, AOL Journals, Feedster and Sphere.

I'll be updating this entry with more links and resources, so please feel free to leave me a link in the comments.

Thanks -- Joe

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Smartphone, Dumb Things

I have a new cell phone. A smartphone, in fact.

For those of you who know me, you'll know that this is Kind of a Big Deal. I use cell phones until they die. My second-most-recent phone was so busted I had to Liquid Nail the battery to the case; the smartphone replaces one I've had for 4 years, and the only reason I finally upgraded is because the screen was so busted from being sat on, that my workaround for reading text messages (zooming the screen and scrolling) didn't work any more:


So I finally gave in and got an HTC Evo 4G. I note with perverse glee, that days after I got locked into a new 2-year contract, the news came out that the Evo 4G will be discontinued this fall.

It seems perverse to do an unboxing for a phone that's been out for over a year, so here's a very uninstructive photo of the new phone and the old one:

New HTC Evo 4G and old Samsung M610
  • Battery life, or the lack of it, was the biggest shocker. I've got 2 replacement batteries now to have as spares, and am getting 2 more. They may or may not explode when used. I'm also getting used to the idea of having multiple chargers, carrying one around, and using a car charger with regularity.
  • Size and weight:  I'm still afraid of dropping the damn thing (cases are also on order) -- it's not really a one-hand phone. It's still pocketable, though, and am working on expanding my cargo pant wardrobe. I already have one clip-case holster too many on my belt.
  • Apps: After downloading an orgy of apps, I'm still figuring out which ones I actually need to use. I'm also trying to customize the widget and icon lineup on HTC's Sense interface so that the ones I need are where I need them.
  • Swype is neat, but there is absolutely no chance that I'll be texting while driving. It's just not workable.
  • The camera is really nice. One-handed photos are tough, due to the touchscreen button and because I keep putting my finger over the lens. I haven't used the front-facing one for anything yet.
  • Audio volume for phone functions (both handset and speakerphone) is way low. I know my hearing isn't great, and there's a software fix that could blow the speakers, but we'll see.
Other than that: I know it's really a palmtop computer, not a cellphone. As expected, my use of social and location apps has been getting more interactive (with my mostly-broken phone, it was a one-way, transmit-only experience.)

On the down side, phone sex is going to be a lot less interesting:


Pints of Guinness and Fountains of Wayne

Sunday was interesting. As threatened, went to O'Sullivan's for brunch, where I started with Guinness and Eggs Benedict, and ended with a Black and Blue:

Guinness layered over Blue Moon.

There may have also been a Baby Guinness in the mix, which would explain why I missed the opening act of the Fountains of Wayne show at the Birchmere.

One good thing about going solo to shows at Birchmere, though, is that you can get there an hour after the doors and still get a seat right up front:

Fountains of Wayne frontman Chris Collingwood.

Of course, that doesn't help when your new (refurbished) camera dies after two shots because you forgot to check the battery.

I ended up using the new smartphone; this is the least unusable shot, when the band pulled up a few ladies from the audience to shake their maracas during a song:

Was it Mexican Wine? I forget.

Brightest Young Things has a writeup, which mentions the cover medley in the middle of Radiation Vibe, featuring Peter Frampton's Do You Feel Like I Do; Mad World; and Blue Oyster Cult's Burning for You... though it notably missed the starter, Wings' Jet.

Another notable moment was when bassist Adam Schlesinger called out a guy recording video with a Flip mounted on a table, noting that he'd be getting great shots of the back of head of the guy in front of him.

Later, after noting the fellow had apparently gotten kicked out for violating Birchmere's "no video" rule, Schlesinger apologized, saying that in this age of YouTube, he wasn't trying to get the guy ejected, and invited him to come as their guest for Monday's acoustic show.

Speaking of acoustic, the band played an acoustic-ish take on Stacey's Mom to start out their encore.

It was a good show -- I picked up their new album to give a deeper listen (I hadn't realized they'd switched labels to Yep Roc), as well as a few t-shirts.

On the way home, I stopped by Galaxy Hut to catch a bit of the karaoke. It was not that crowded towards midnight, though I wasn't tempted to try singing any FOW songs (they're out of my very limited range, anyways.)

I'm not usually a Sunday drinker; between brunch, the show, and the post-show, it was not a very restful and recuperative way to end the weekend.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Oops, We Did It Again, Again

I'm not sure how we did it, but Turning Kicks won the FXA Kickball championship again:

Spring 2011 FXA Kickball Championship Trophy

This happened a few weeks ago (see the full photo set.) I had a fairly solid game, including diving to catch a foul ball and ending up doing a forward shoulder roll. (I made the catch.)

Also, I gave myself another raspberry sliding into second (not as bad as previous years' versions, though):

A week with a Tegaderm bandage and it's all better now.

In fact, my only major blunder was not getting the digits after talking to the two blonde lawyers from the team we played in the semis, after the game at Carpool. (Even though one lives in Manassas.)

Between the diving, sliding, and shots, I was pretty banged up the next day.

A championship retrospective:

July 2011

November 2010

July 2010

July 2008

Monday, July 18, 2011

Joelogon Photo Hunt

I got a Google alert a few days ago that one of my Creative Commons-licensed Flickr photos was being used in a Forbes blog entry, "Moody’s Threatens America’s AAA Credit Rating, Blames Debt Deadlock." Here it is:

Now, as I am not White House photographer Pete Souza, it's pretty clear that I didn't take this photo. However, the photo on the White House Flickr stream carries the "U.S. Government Work" license (that is to say, it's public domain), though the photo description has an additional disclaimer that says as an official White House photo, it should not be used in a way that "suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House." In either case, we're cool.

(As a reminder, I saw the photo in a GovExec story, and submitted it to Fark with a headline, "Photo surfaces of President Obama refusing to shake the hand of a disabled janitor," which still makes me giggle.)

Looking around regular Google and Google Image search, I did find a few other recent photos being used (and properly attributed, thanks). Here are some (not including a bunch that show up in spam blogs):

[Update: Although I mentioned proper attribution, I forgot to explicitly mention that nearly all of my Flickr photos are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0), which means that as long as people attribute the photo and flow the license down to any derivative works, they can use it, even for commercial purposes. However, other things, like model rights, still apply.]

IMG_4262The Washington City Paper used one of my falafel photos for story about Amsterdam Falafelshop and its franchising strategy.

DSCF2708Here's a photo of Swami Yohmami from the 2007 DC Fringe Festival, used by the Washington Post's Apartment Showcase blog entry about the 2011 Festival.

Here's my friend Dave, illustrating grill mastery in a blog entry, The Man’s Guide to Grilling (that Every Woman Should Know)

IMG_3395On a prosaic note, here's some of my (long-gone) soda cans in a blog entry about soda consumption.

IMG_4878LAist used my photo of a stingy tip on a New Year's bar receipt for an article about tipping.

IMG_1136cropAnd last for now, a blog highlighting feel-good stories from DC used a Metro station photo to illustrate Home of the Fare Deal.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Hollywood Guns Exhibit at the NRA's National Firearms Museum

Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, I was coming back from Fairfax and stopped off at the NRA's National Firearms Museum, which I hadn't been to since just over four years ago.

(It being Rolling Thunder weekend, there were a bunch of folks in town to ride. Clearly.)

The core exhibits were about the same, though they upgraded both the info kiosks and the website -- the kiosks are now touchscreen and a lot easier to use, and a good portion of the collection is online and searchable, so you can theoretically use your mobile browser to get information on any given firearm, without having to run back and forth to the info kiosks.

You can see full set, National Firearms Museum, Fairfax, VA, 5/28/11, where I mostly tried to take photos of items I hadn't seen before.

Below, though, are photos from the special exhibit on Hollywood Guns, featuring real guns, rubber guns, and other props from famous movies.

By far, this is the best presentation of movie gun and poster:


It's the Reservoir Dogs poster, featuring Harvey Keitel's Mr. White's 9mm Smith & Wesson 639 and Steve Buscemi's Mr. Pink's 9mm Smith & Wesson 659, with the actual guns placed in the spots where they appear as held by the characters on the movie poster. Tres cool.


Next, Keyser Soze's Smith & Wesson 6906 from The Usual Suspects -- note, in the scene where it's used (and not by Kevin Spacey, as the card notes), it's held gangsta-style (sideways).


Tom Cruise's .45 Heckler & Koch USP from Michael Mann's Collateral. I still think the ending is bogus -- there's no way Jamie Foxx's taxi driver Max would have outshot Tom Cruise's hitman Vincent.


Sir Alec Guinness's Obi Wan Kenobi's lightsaber from Star Wars. This is the second lightsaber in the museum, with the first being Luke's lightsaber in the main collection (which I believe is misidentified on the site).


Javier Bardem/Anton Chigurh's suppressed 12 gauge Remington 11-87 semiautomatic shotgun from No Country for Old Men.


Johnny Depp's Thompson .45 submachine gun from Public Enemies.

Also, Christian Bale's Mauser Sporting Rifle and a Winchester Model 1907.


Die Hard guns, including Bruce Willis's MP-5 (converted from a HK-94) and Beretta 92 (also used by Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon and Alan Rickman's HK P7. Also seen: John Wayne's suppressed Mac-10 from McQ (which I haven't seen) and Denzel Washington's 9mm Browning Hi-Power from American Gangster (which I've only seen on basic cable).


Clint Eastwood's Remington 1858 New Army .44 revolver from Pale Rider, with cylinder-swapping goodness. (By the way, what happened to Sydney Penny?)


Andrew Dice Clay's .38 Smith & Wesson Model 38 from The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, which, thankfully, they are not rebooting (as far as I know).


Rubber Beretta 92FS from Lethal Weapon.


Clint Eastwood's .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 29 from Dirty Harry.


Guns from The Departed, including Mark Wahlberg's Beretta 92FS, Jack Nicholson's 9mm Beretta 84, Matt Damon's .45 Sig Sauer P228, and Leonardo DiCaprio's .32 Walther PPK.

Also seen: Anton Chighur's suppressed 12 gauge shotgun from No Country for Old Men.


The Wild Bunch guns, including a A1 Browning belt-fed machine gun and a rubber model of William Holden's 9mm Star B.

Also seen: Baby Nambu from Letters From Iwo Jima.


Heath Ledger's sawed-off, cut-down Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun from The Dark Knight.


HK UMP .45 submachine gun from Terminator 3. (The NRA museum listing photo shows an MP5, though.)


And last, but not least, Nathan Filion's Malcolm Reynold's pistol from Serenity, a modified .38 Taurus revolver inside a brass shell.

There are a bunch of other movies that I didn't take, mostly Westerns. See the full set from the museum here: National Firearms Museum, Fairfax, VA, 5/28/11