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About Mark Harris

Mark, who feels uncomfortable referring to himself in the third person, was taught to shoot at age 5 by his father. Mark grew up, or at least increased in age, in east central Indiana. After realizing that he was not going to become an astronaut, he attended design school and spent 25 years in commercial printing before a trip to the emergency room convinced him to abandon this folly. The online purchase of a holster led Mark to OpticsPlanet where he is happier than any person has a right to be, except that his wife refuses to let him buy a dog or a motorcycle. She is, however, pretty darn cute, according to Mark.

Here are my most recent posts

28 Oct

Why My Friday Was Better Than Yours

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Grab a compass and maybe pack a lunch, because this blog post goes in a lot of different directions, and covers a lot of ground. 

On Friday, October 16, my Team was in lovely Middleton, Wisconsin visiting the fine folks at Vortex.

My teammate Mike’s turn for blogs was the following week and by every right he should have been the one writing about the experience while it was fresh in his mind.  But out of kindness to me, plus my notes on the annual performance review and possible vandalism to his vehicle, he wrote about something else that week – and left …

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01 Oct


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I like oddball stuff.

When I pull up to a 4-way stop, I don’t want to see three other cars like mine.  I drive a Swedish car – until recently, a Swedish station wagon.  I carry a fountain pen.  I had a Betamax VCR, I still have a LaserDisc player, I had a Commodore C64 and an Amiga 500. Somehow I picked Blu-Ray over HD-DVD, but I still have my MiniDisc player and I currently own Apple products.  And that’s why I own a Ruger Charger.  It's an oddball.

I spent a short time working at the largest firearms retailer …

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02 Sep

Fuzzy Wuzzy Was A Reticle

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I'm 55 years old.  Youth may be fleeting, but immaturity is forever.  I’m starting to notice the posts in forums where people are complaining about how some optics – notably red dot optics – don’t go well with astigmatism.  I don’t have astigmatism myself, but I’m paying closer attention to these things than I did in my invincible 20s.

Astigmatism isn’t a catchy phrase that that guy from Top Gear would say, but rather an optical defect in which vision is blurred due to the inability of the optics of the eye to focus a point object into a sharp …

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07 Aug

The Dry Run

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Today, we’re going to talk about some very old optics – but first, a backstory – or actually three backstories.

Backstory number one:

When I was but a wee lad and got to spend the night at my aunt and uncle’s house (Foy and Oscar), there were a couple of things that I really looked forward to.  One was their parakeet, Billy Boy, one was the cherry tree in their back yard where i would eat until sick, and – the biggest thing – getting to sleep in the bedroom of a genuine war hero – my cousin Ernest that …

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10 Jul

I have a Hank-erin’

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My Dad was one of those people who believed there were two kinds of music – country and western.  Three, maybe, if you count gospel.  Anybody who is a fan of older country music knows that cheatin’ is a recurring theme in many songs, just ahead of drinkin’, pickup trucks and dogs and Mama.  An ideal country song would be something like “My dog done stole my pickup truck, but this beer shore does taste good. And ah love mah dog more than mah cheatin’ wife but I love Mama the best”, or words to that effect.

Hank’s “Your Cheatin' …

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10 Jun

With Apologies To Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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In the spring, a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of – bratwurst.

As regular readers of this blog have noticed, I tend to take the path of least resistance.  I let people in front of me in traffic.  I prefer a screw top bottle over a cork.  I don’t always make the bed, because I’ll be back in it in the evening.  If I just leave the satellite on Spike TV, it doesn’t matter where the remote is, Cops will be on soon.

And this is how I have come to cooking dinner on our camping stove for the …

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07 May

Finding Direction In My Life

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I’m going to jump the gun a bit here, and talk about a new product that we will be carrying shortly, the Garmin nüviCam™ LMTHD.

One typically wouldn’t think of a GPS unit as an optic, but the fine folks at Garmin have combined a couple of different product categories with their new nüviCam™ LMTHD – the categories of dash camera and GPS unit.

Why I’m interested:

I had the unfortunate experience a couple of weeks ago of saying goodbye to a trusted friend of 10 years – Erik the Silver, my 2005 Volvo V50.  Either I drove over an …

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30 Mar

A Dashing Good Show

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When I first moved to Chicago 30 years ago, my friends Tim and Kathy would come up from our shared hole-in-the-cornfield hometown in Indiana to visit me at my rockin’ third floor walk up bachelor pad near Wrigley Field.  One of the things I really enjoyed was the question they always asked me upon arrival.

Kathy would jump out, ring my doorbell (this was pre-cellphone) and I would jump in the car with Tim and we would circle the block until a parking spot opened up.  Then we would all go up to my aforementioned bachelor pad, and the question …

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23 Feb

Fog Off

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I wear glasses.  It is winter in Chicago.  A poor combination, at best.

It’s 7 below this morning (actual temperature) and if I have to walk any distance at all – from the car into a store, say, I have two choices when I get inside.  I can A> keep my glasses on and see absolutely nothing because they fog up, or B> take them off and see absolutely nothing, because I need glasses to see.

Since it looks a little goofy (and can be painful) to walk around with opaque lenses, I normally take them off and stand still …

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21 Jan

Don’t Hate Bucky Because He’s Beautiful

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I get a lot of grief around here for my taste in matching firearm accessories.

One of the three AR’s I have is my tuxedo rifle, sort of how like Mr. Lester Polfus (better known as Les Paul) had his tuxedo guitar, the Les Paul Custom.

The Les Paul Custom made its debut in 1954 after the successful Les Paul Goldtop. Les Paul himself suggested his namesake guitar needed a new and classy finish that would go well with a tuxedo on stage. From that point on, the Les Paul Custom Blackback was referred to as the "white tuxedo".

While …

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