April 18, 2006

Train of thought

Smedley Butler, The Fighting Quaker

Kate noted that a whole bunch of us are turning 40 right about now. Heard about a friend who celebrated the big 40 at a geothermal spa in the cascades, and that everyone was drinking gimlets. Happy birthday, Dave!! The story made me look up 'gimlet' at my favorite website, Wikipedia:

A gimlet is a hand tool for drilling small holes, mainly in wood, without splitting. It was defined in Gwilt's Architecture (1859) as "a piece of steel of a semi-cylindrical form, hollow on one side, having a cross handle at one end and a worm or screw at the other".

A gimlet is always a small tool. A similar tool of larger size is called an auger. The cutting action of the gimlet is slightly different to an auger, however, as the end of the screw, and so the initial hole it makes, is smaller; the cutting edges pare away the wood which is moved out by the spiral sides, falling out through the entry hole. This also pulls the gimlet further into the hole as it is turned; unlike a brad awl, pressure is not required once the tip has been drawn in.

The name "gimlet" comes from the Old French guimbelet, probably a diminutive of the Old English "wimble", and the Scandinavian wammie, to bore or twist; the modern French is gibelet.The term is also used figuratively to describe something as sharp or piercing, and also to describe the twisting, boring motion of using a gimlet. The term gimlet-eyed can mean sharp-eyed or squint-eyed (one example of this use is Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, who was known as "Old Gimlet Eye").

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimlet"

This guy turned out to have an interesting life story:
Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881June 21, 1940), nicknamed "The Fighting Quaker" and "Old Gimlet Eye," was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps and, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. Butler was awarded the Medal of Honor twice during his career, one of only 19 people to be so doubly decorated. He was noted for his outspoken non-interventionist views and his book War is a Racket, one of the first works describing the military-industrial complex. After retiring from service, Butler became a popular speaker at meetings organized by veterans, communists, pacifists and church groups in the 1930s. Butler came forward to the U.S. Congress in 1934 to report that a proposed coup had been plotted by wealthy industrialists to overthrow the government of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.


At April 18, 2006 4:56 PM , Anonymous Tim said...

Wow. he's my new hero. I love wikipedia too. I even contributed to two pages: Mussolini and Aluminum. It is fun to watch my changes get edited and moved around.

So the gimlet got its drink because it is sharp and piercing? (and gets you twisted?)

At April 18, 2006 10:30 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

The gimlet is a small tool, but still effective; no pressure is required once it has entered the hole. For some reason I thought a gimlet was also a tool used by sailors to untie knots, but I just learned that the tool I was thinking of is called a marlin spike.
What part of the aluminum article did you write!?
I've been meaning to ask you, Tim, who used to paint professionally. When I paint with a roller, sometimes fibers get loose and stick to the wall, marring the finish. What causes this and how to prevent? Should I stop buying cheap rollers?

At April 20, 2006 7:24 PM , Anonymous Tim said...


Germany became the world leader in aluminium production soon after Adolf Hitler's rise to power. By 1942, however, new hydroelectric power projects such as the Grand Coulee Dam gave the United States something Nazi Germany could not hope to compete with, namely the capability of producing enough aluminium to manufacture sixty thousand warplanes in four years.

The outside link at the end of this paragraph leads my nice page about the grand coulee dam, which I extracted from a book called Cadillac Desert.

At April 20, 2006 7:32 PM , Anonymous Tim said...

no matter how cheap your roller cover is, it is unlikely it is shedding bits of itself into your paint. more likely is that this is bits of crap in your paint.

but... a more expensive roller cover will make you happy in many ways. It holds more paint, and your arms will be less tired when you are done cause you won't be pressing as hard.

I just read that first use of a nice wool one of these could shed fibres and they recommend wrapping it in masking tape and peeling the tape off to get those fibres off.

At April 22, 2006 9:18 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Now I have been thinking about aluminum all day!
Thanks for the tip, I will try that next time I paint.
Is there an easy way to clean rollers?


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