September 13, 2009

Cease fire in the neighborhood

  A 48-year-old guy we’ll call Uncle Harry is a history buff. He restores and builds replicas of antique firearms. His hobby includes pistols, rifles and even cannons. Sometimes he shoots these vintage weapons, all in the interest of history.
  Uncle Harry recently built a replica of a French and Indian War cannon. That’d place the weapon’s shooting days between 1754 and 1763. Can we agree that’s a really old weapon?
  Uncle Harry spent a lot of time and money building this cannon, even to the point of reshaping a rusted out cannonball so it’d roll down the muzzle.
  In case you’d like some specifications, I can only tell you the two pound cannonball measured 6.25 inches in circumference. Lastly, Harry installed a fuse in the cannon.
  Now here’s the situation: Uncle Harry lives in a real nice neighborhood less than an hour out of Pittsburgh.
  He’s planning to light the fuse and count the time it takes to ignite the powder charge -- but that’s not what happens. Uncle Harry tells the cops he forgot the cannonball was still in the bore.
  You guessed it -- the cannon shoots the two pounder off into the wild blue yonder. Some 400 yards away the antique missile hits a rock then ricochets into the wall of a nearby house. The cannonball crashes through the outer wall, then through an inside wall and a medicine cabinet before it lands in a kitchen closet.
  Big mess -- but fortunately nobody gets hurt! However, you can see the possibilities. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Uncle Harry promises never to shoot another cannon, but the cops bust him anyway, charging him with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. Don’t know what Uncle Harry did during the arrest, but the cops also bust him for disorderly conduct.
  The neighborhood is asking for a cease-fire, and Uncle Harry is being urged to confine his studies of vintage weaponry to watching the History Channel.

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