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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The 'Two-Dollar Pistol' of Fountain Pens

First let me show you what a two dollar pistol is:




 I first heard about one of these pistols in a short story by Kurt Vonnegut. The main character was declared 'hotter than a two dollar pistol' by an admirer.  During the Second World War, these pistols apparently cost about $2.00 to manufacture, and with the lack of any sort of comfort amenities like grips or insulation I could see how this pistol could get really hot in a hurry.  I can only imagine how painful shooting one of these would be.  Recoil in a smaller caliber/smaller size pistol can be bad; I am sure the recoil from a .45 cal. bullet must be even worse.

There is a fountain pen I have which applies the same principles of economy, expendability and practicality that are found in the Liberator Pistol.  It the Petit1 mini fountain pen, made by Pilot.  It is really cheap and yet writes extremely well, and cost me only $3.80.  It has a fine nib and comes with one ink cartridge.  It is a proprietary ink cartridge, so one must either buy refills or - this is what I did - fill it up with your own ink.  Some folks on YouTube show ways to use the body of the pen as the ink reservoir, but I don't recommend that.

Here is a picture of it:


It has a stainless steel nib, and the ink travels from the reservoir through a small channel filled with a strand of absorbent material that looks like felt.  I know this from watching a video review of this pen; whenever I take things apart they never come back together properly.  I limited myself to adding new ink to the pen.

Here it is next to a quarter to give you some perspective of size.  I don't have big hands; at least not long fingers.  So I can comfortably write without putting the cap on the end of the pen.  By the way, putting the cap on the end of the pen when one writes is known as 'posting' for some reason.  This pen cap actually sits very securely when it is posted, so someone with a larger hand could manage it.


Here it is with the cap off.  I did notice that there was some condensation on the inside of the cap.  Perhaps this is present with every pen and I only can see it because the cap is clear.  It doesn't interfere with the working of the pen.  Of course, whenever I drop a fountain pen, ink ends up in the cap, and usually makes a mess on my fingers, but I don't mind......


Here you can see a sample of my bad handwriting.  The fine nib makes for what I would consider fine writing; this is important when I am writing on medical records.  The ink in it is Noodlers Ink Bernanke Blue.  I bought the pen from JetPens.com.




In summary, this is a nice little pen for writing anywhere.  It is versatile and portable, and writes well for a while even when upside down (occasionally I write things holding the chart up against the wall, and it still works).  The ink flow is smooth with some scratching, but I have never had it burp out a blob of ink on the paper.  The other nice thing is that I would not cry too much if I lost it or stepped on it.



Write Garbage!  Illustration by Jules Feiffer

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Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
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Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."
Amen.

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