Hobbies- everybody has one. The Book Elves have had dozens, and their latest was glass-blowing. I'd seen the cute set-ups they have at places like the Science Museum- a little bunsen-burner-type thing and some glass rods and your kids can make beads and stuff. No problem, I thought. Much better than their previous hobby, carving animals out of stumps with chain saws, I thought. And then they began to talk about blast furnaces and annealing ovens. And then they began to price blast furnaces, and then (priced out of that market) they began looking around for cheaper alternatives. Now, here's a funny, quirky thing about the American legal system: buying a blast furnace, new or used = legal. Purchasing a surplus jet engine off an ex-Soviet Mig-23 fighter jet (NATO code-name "Flogger") from a guy named "Sergei" who you met in an internet chat room on the Soldier of Fortune website = NOT legal.
But before the Book Elves got yet another update to their red-tabbed dossier in a filing cabinet at the Department of Homeland Security, they finished our latest catalog-
CATALOG #346: BOOKS ON GLASS & GLASSMAKING