“It’s dollars… to doughnuts… that our state fair… has the most vehicle-mounted surface-to-air short-range aircraft suppression systems in the state!”

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This afternoon, Kate and I visited the Kimberton Community Fair, where Kate had entered a quilt — which won a red ribbon! Hurrah! And that’s without sneaking any whiskey into the mincemeat. There are pictures on her blog. Congratulations! And congratulations too to Kate’s cousin Dina, whose lemon meringue pie took a blue ribbon. This is part of a knit- and quilt-blogger movement to get involved in state fairs, which I think is awesome!

On the way in to the fair, there was a National Guard Avenger missile system set up, which is a pod containing eight surface-to-air Stinger missiles remotely controlled with a pair of joysticks and a gun camera, all turret-mounted on a humvee. There was, of course, a line of nine-year-olds waiting to swivel the turret around, rocking the humvee on its suspension, and look through the monochromatic green display (number one question: “what happens if I push ‘fire?’”) This was a piece of technology that was, at once, really cool and horrifically menacing, and the juxtaposition of this war machine with excited fairgoing kids was a total Verhoeven moment.

In the picture at left, you can see that the kid has swiveled the turret around to point directly at himself, and is checking out his portrait in the gun camera. In the picture at right, his younger brother is attempting to track an airplane(!)

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