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Dear Cool Daddy: There’s something fundamentally mixed up mandating orange tips for toy guns, isn’t there? I mean, paint the tip of a REAL gun orange, then rob a bank with it…right? …from Torchy, in Sioux City
Dear Torchy: I completely agree, and trust me, it’s been done…from gang members to terrorists to bank robbers, it definitely has occurred to them. On the other hand, it does them no good, because there isn’t a police department in the country that doesn’t instruct its officers to regard anything that remotely resembles a gun, as a gun…a real gun…no matter what color the tip. Oddly enough, from the research I did on the net, it could very well be that the idea behind the law is to help children know what’s a real gun and what’s a toy…with the hope that they not mess with the real ones. “Young children can’t tell real guns from toys, and thus shoot their playmates by accident” is the way this theory goes. You think?
The federal law gives several other alternatives…a toy gun can be transparent…or colored in a bright “non-gun” color…and thus not need the orange tip. And besides the federal law, there are state and municipal laws that are even more stringent, so check your “local listings,” as they say. But despite the near universal claim that you can’t own a toy gun without an orange tip, there is debate in some circles. Bear in mind that laws are meant to be confusing, so that its easier for you to break them without meaning to, and to line lawyers’ pockets…but having read the federal law, my preliminary conclusion is that simply owning a non-orange-tip toy gun is NOT illegal. Manufacturing them and selling them definitely is illegal, and transporting them for commerce is as well, but the gray area is when you transport them for private, noncommercial purposes…say as a Christmas gift for your old-fashioned grandchildren who live across state lines.
Anyhow, this all dovetails into my thoughts about toy guns in general…how they were such a wonderful part of our Baby Boomer childhood…for both boys AND girls!…and how that seems to be lost today…most now are neon-colored monstrosities that shoot nerf balls or discs or something. But then I noticed this BB gun advertised in a Walmart circular (above, top)…and comparing it to a real Colt M4 (above, bottom)…well, it really does make one’s heart beat a little faster. And not for nothing, but notice the way they position the orange tip along the maroon border of the ad, so as to obscure its obsequiousness…nice try, sez me…
Dear Cool Daddy: My great grandmother claims Mazda used to make Christmas lights…is she losing her marbles? And if not, how did they go from bulbs to cars? …from Dale, in Dothan AL
Dear Dale: You are overlooking a 3rd possibility: that they were 2 separate companies. As you can see above, there really were at one time Mazda light-bulbs…as well as Christmas lights, below. It was a trademark of the Shelby Electric Company of Shelby, Ohio from 1909 until 1945…by that time they were owned by GE, and Mazda lamps were sold world-wide. In fact, the tungsten-filament bulbs became an industry standard, and the name “Mazda” was licensed by many other companies, including GE’s main competitor, Westinghouse. Thus it was something of a generic name, like Xerox, Kleenex, or Jello. The brand was phased out due to confusion with the up and coming Japanese auto maker, founded in 1920 as a maker of machine tools.
Interestingly enough, both the bulbs and the cars got their name from the same source: Ahura Mazda, the chief god of one of civilization’s earliest religions, Zoroastrianism. Apparently in ancient Persian, Ahura meant light and Mazda meant wisdom, hence the connection to light-bulbs. The automaker also claims it ties in with the name of that company’s founder Juiro Matsuda. BTW, Zoroaster was the founder and prophet of the religion, but not its god…and the name is based on the Greek form of the original Persian, Zarathustra.
Uncle Wiki says Everybody’s Magazine went out of business in 1929. It’s blurry, but the above sure looks like it says 1934…either way…they were still using candles on Xmas trees? Ay caramba….
thus sprach shameless plugs, with an orange tip…
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