Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Landscaping the Nerd Way - with exotic weapons

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I ought to hold up a sign reading "will swing crazy sharp weapons for food." That's what I did this weekend at my friends' place. His mom has a lake house where saplings continually grow and block the view, so every Spring I head over there with a couple of Nepalese kukris, or a Bowie knife like my Busse Battle Mistress, and we teach those trees a lesson. This weekend we had record hot weather but it was a beautiful day, so Pete & I suited up in work clothes, slathered our arms with Ivy Block and tumbled down the hillside with the weapons favored by Gurkha soldiers and Kachin headhunting tribes to hack down the weed menace.

Axes are clumsy and the blade is small, you can miss your target on a steep hill. Plus they can't be sheathed, while kukris are shaped like a bannaner- some folks call it a sling blade- and are easy to wield. The handle is made for a snap of the wrist and you can sail through 2-3" saplings in one blow sometimes. I have about a dozen of these, but only a few are work knives. Some are too pretty, or collectible, or antiques. I prefer to get kukris from Himalayan Imports, a company with a pristine reputation and an iron warranty. The workers are in Nepal and are well paid, and have rigorous quality controls. Most kukris you find elsewhere are tourist junk; these are made to last. They come with sturdy sheaths and resharpen easily after a day's hard work.

Remember, if it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing. Using kukris to cut down saplings may be overkill, but that's how we do things around here. If you want to see kukris in action, rent these movies:

Never So Few - Frank Sinatra and Steve McQueen (in his first scene-stealing role) are American OSS, leading Kachin tribes in guerilla ops against the Japanese in WW2. It's a bit silly at times but is quite brutal and realistic. Ignore the Sinatra/Gina Lollabrigida romance and there's some good tommygun action. This is where Rambo was set 60 years later.

Gunga Din - Sure it's from 1939 and you get to see Cary Grant fight a Thuggee cult, but the Gurkhas have kukris.

Big Trouble in Little China - When we meet the Three Storm Warriors, they throw kukris in the alley fight.

Resident Evil: Extinction - Milla Jovovich swings a pair of these briefly in a cocktease scene in this forgettable mix of Road Warrior meets Night of the Comet. It's as close as we get to a Fallout movie, and it's better than the first RE movie, but all you'll remember is slinky Milla.


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