At the Fun Show this past weekend I found myself wishing that I had bought a Russkie M38 carbine back when they were practically giving them away. I think the wholesale price was thirty or forty bucks there, back in the late Nineties/early Aughties; some wholesalers had to be actively discouraged from throwing a couple in the box with every order.
Instead I picked up a Hungarian-made M44 with the fruity folding bayonet, which turns an otherwise light and handy carbine into something with all the grace and balance of a 3-foot length of 4x4 lumber. And now the M38s are bringing around two bills.
As an aside, Joel over at TUATK had an interesting post on the term "the gun culture", contrasting it with the lack of a corresponding term for owners and users of other tools or possessions, such as an "axe culture" or a "milk crate culture". It's a reasonable objection, I suppose.
When I rode a motorcycle for my daily transportation, the bike was a vehicle. It got me to and from work, fetched the groceries, and was an ordinary, everyday part of my life. It also meant I had something in common with other motorcycle owners and, more specifically, the very distinctive subculture of motorcycle commuters. We had a lot of shared experiences: Having to to dress in such a way as to arrive looking presentable at work no matter the weather, and hauling groceries on two wheels (A gallon of milk is no big deal in a Civic; it's a very big deal bungee-netted on the pillion of a 600cc sportbike.)
I read motorcycle magazines and hung out with other motorcycle riders and yes, there was a motorcycle culture, and I didn't feel that it made me a worse person for being part of it. Conversely, I knew other people who owned motorcycles who only used them for transportation and never went riding for pleasure or hung out with other riders, and that was cool, too.
What gets my hackles up are comments like the one left by commenter Johnathan at Joel's place, who says it's quite one thing to own guns for the necessity of protecting one's home and hearth but "[i]t is quite another thing, however, to glorify the use of weapons, to associate one's image with them, to devote so much mental energy to thinking about them and discussing them with reverence."
Nothing personal, Johnathan, but get bent. Unlike Professor Tolkien's character, I do love the bright sword for its sharpness and the arrow for its swiftness, and I am not ashamed of it one damned bit. I'm sorry that you have been bullied by the society around you into thinking that owning weapons is some slightly shameful necessity, to be borne only until the lion lies down by the lamb and we can beat our swords into plowshares in the sweet by-and-by, but I've got news for you: Your heaven is not mine. If I can't take my pistol, I don't want to go.
There is nothing wrong or shameful about appreciating finely crafted machinery simply for what it is, studying the history behind it, or enjoying the mastery of its use. And guess what? That motorcycle can even do useful stuff, like taking you to work, too.