June 28, 2006

Potato Guns for Peace

Potato Guns for Peace

Plans for a potato gun

Dangerous things you can find on the Internet [ariel.chico / Flickr]

Scrolling around for potato pictures on Flickr today, we came across these: detailed diagrams for making potato cannons, with instructions in Hebrew. Ariel Schlesinger posted them; he made what he calls his “spudzooka” for an art exhibit in Tel Aviv.

We had to know. What happens when you shoot off an artillery piece in violence-charged Israel and a potato comes out?


Everybody gathered around me [at] a safe distance. I had my protection gear on of course, my really stupid big green ear protectors because I’m really sensitive to loud noise, and this machine makes loud noise.

I explained [to the crowd] that it was very cheap to make. It was only like 50 shekels, which I think is about 12 dollars or something like that. You need plastic pipe, like for plumbing, hair spray, switches, potatoes.

I load the potato, sprayed some hairspray into the chamber, pushed the lighter in and ignited, and of course nothing happened. (Most of the things I build don’t work on the first time.)

Ariel Schlesinger, in a conversation with Open Source, 6/28/06

On Ariel’s third try, it worked, and the potato soared 50 or 60 meters into the sky.

Everybody started to shout ‘Oh we should give [one of these] to the Palestinians! It can be our way of saying — I don’t know the word for it — a demonstration that we’re sharing their problem, that we can identify with them.’

Ariel Schlesinger, in a conversation with Open Source, 6/28/06

Yes, in lefty Tel Aviv, you shoot off a homemade cannon and people actually want to hand them across the checkpoints in a show of solidarity. Go figure.

Audio clips from our conversation with Ariel coming soon.

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  • McGill

    Hailing from Northern Ireland I must tell you that we approach potatoes differently. The famine did not affect us so much. But thats another story. here is the RECIPE for Poundies. Background: the potatoes were harvested in the fall and kept in the dark with occasional (very often as i remember as a child) trips to thefarm cellars to take the “eyes out”. By early s[pring the spuds were just about used up but the new ones were coming in. So we took new potatoes – little weeny ones – and and added flour to puff them up and make the potatoes go further and then we added a couple of eggs and they were whipped and mashed into the potatoes. Then we sat down with the poundies and stacked them into a pyramid on our plates. Then we dug a well and put in home made butter . We covered over the top to make sure the heat was there for melting. Then we took our fresh scallions, used them as straws and sucked at buttermilk. Only then did we tuck in. Awfully good. Buttermilk, poundies and scallions – a superb combination.

    kind regards

    Carmel McGill

    new US Citizen in Providence.

  • Piet

    Please tell that prissy potatohead he’s worse than any Zsa Zsa Gabor (who ate Hungarian potatoes, after all).

    Vichyssoise MUST pronounce the final S!!!