The electroshock weapon called the Taser, which is typically used by police when trying to control a fleeing suspect, uses an electrical current that causes neuromuscular incapacitation. In other words, if you’re struck by a Taser, your chances of getting away are null.

There have been plenty of controversies involving the device and law enforcement. The most notorious may be the altercation that led to the phrase “Don’t tase me, bro.”The story of how the Taser got its name, however, is an even wackier yarn.

John H. “Jack” Cover, one of the brains behind the invention, named the Taser. (Cover is also a former chief scientist of North American Aerospace’s Apollo Moon Landing Program.)

As a boy, Cover loved reading a series of young adult novels about a character named Tom Swift. One of the books is called “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle.”

Cover named the electroshock weapon after his childhood literary hero. (Do you know what “laser” stands for? Here’s the answer. What about “LASIK?” Here you go.)

Taser is actually not a word, but an acronym for a fictional weapon:

Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle.

Cover added the “A” to Tom Swift’s name. The original character did not have a middle name.

Victor Appleton is the author of the Tom Swift books. But Appleton himself was also a product of the imagination. He was a house pseudonym invented by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a book-packaging firm. The actual authors consisted of half a dozen ghost writers.

 The verb “to tase” was backformed from Taser.

If you think the Taser story is strange, check out what “Yahoo” meant before the Internet company existed, right here.

Construction May Soon Start on Two Hotels in Downtown San Diego.

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News October 20, 2002 By Roger M. Showley, The San Diego Union-Tribune Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Oct. 20–Traveling San Diegans talk of trips to London and San Francisco. Now, those in London and San Francisco are returning the favor. site downtown san diego

The Centre City Development Corp., the City Council’s downtown redevelopment arm, has approved plans for a 461-room Inter-Continental Hotel to be developed by Six Continents, a British chain that also owns the Holiday Inn brand.

Estimated to cost at least $100 million, the 30-story building designed by Callison Partnership of Seattle would be built on a narrow parking lot at Third Avenue and G Street. The typical room price today would be about $200 or more per night.

Also approved was a 235-room hotel by San Francisco-based Kimpton Boutique Hotels in partnership with Padres owner John Moores’ JMI Realty Co. Estimated to cost about $50 million, the 10-story building is being designed by San Diego-based Delawie Wilkes Rodrigues Barker and Bretton Associates. It would be at Sixth Avenue and J Street. The typical room price today would be between $150 and $195 per night, officials said.

If approved by the City Council, construction on the projects could begin next year with completion in 2005.

Both projects have long histories, and both were hailed by local officials and hotel experts.

“San Diego is one of the top markets in the U.S. right now,” said local hotel analyst and developer Bob Rauch.

Reint Reinders, president of the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the hotels would add new brands to the local market and support growing demand downtown.

“We need more rooms downtown, especially as downtown is becoming its own destination,” he said.

The Inter-Continental was the original operator of the San Diego Marriott and Marina when that hotel opened in the early 1980s next to the San Diego Convention Center.

The small, luxury-hotel chain, founded in 1946 by Pan American World Airways, was bought in 1998 from Japan-based Saison Group by the London-based Six Continents PLC.

Previously known as Bass Hotels & Resorts, Six Continents owns, manages or has franchised 3,114 properties with nearly 500,000 rooms around the world.

Besides Holiday Inn and Inter-Continental, the chain includes Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites and several other brands.

Inter-Continental’s return to San Diego also closes the chapter on downtown’s first redevelopment effort. The hotel site is the last undeveloped parcel in the 15-square-block Horton Plaza Redevelopment Project, created 30 years ago to jump-start downtown revitalization.

“We’re in the sunset of that redevelopment project area,” said Centre City Development President Peter Hall.

The big new hotel would occupy a tiny footprint a 56-foot-wide parking strip running 255 feet along G Street. Behind the hotel site is the Horton Plaza shopping center garage; to the west is the Nordstrom department store; to the east, the historic Golden West Hotel.

In an engineering feat that would be interesting for sidewalk superintendents to watch, the hotel would rise 402 feet and extend partly over the shopping center garage.

Unlike the pastel-colored, mix-and-match 1980s Post-Modern architecture of Horton Plaza, the Inter-Continental would appear very 21st century, with glass, aluminum, curving facades and stepped back upper stories. Hall’s analysts likened the effect to a sailboat on the urban skyline. go to site downtown san diego

Parking would be provided within the existing Horton Plaza garage, and the pool, ballroom and lobby areas would be located in a level spanning the top of the garage.

Isis Hotels of Houston is listed as the developer, with Westfield America, owner of Horton Plaza, as the lessor to Six Continents.

The second hotel deal replaces one earlier announced between JMI Realty and AmeriSuites. Kimpton stepped in to replace the original operator, and the project was slightly enlarged and redesigned. The San Francisco chain operates 36 hotels, all bearing unique names, and 28 restaurants. This would be only the third hotel Kimpton has built from scratch.

“We’ve been shopping San Diego for years and years and years,” said Kimpton chairman and chief executive Thomas LaTour.

He said he tried to acquire the U.S. Grant, Westgate, St. James and El Cortez hotels and even the Spreckels Theatre building, a portion of which he wanted to convert to hotel rooms.

“Every time, we were frustrated by the economics,” he said. “They wanted too much for their old buildings, and people weren’t willing to pay a lot for a hotel room. The underwriting never got approved.” LaTour said a hotel name and accompanying restaurant theme have not been selected.


E-shopping sales surge so far — Black Friday up 26 percent as many eye ‘Cyber Monday’

The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) November 28, 2011 | Mark Jewell On the eve of “Cyber Monday,” online retailers reported an even stronger start to the holiday shopping season than brick-and-mortar stores.

Research firm comScore reported Sunday that e-commerce spending jumped 26 percent on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, compared with the same day a year ago. ComScore reported $816 million in online sales for the day, up from $648 million.

The 26 percent growth rate for online sales compares with a 7 percent retail sales increase reported for Black Friday by ShopperTrak, which gathers data from individual stores and shopping malls. At $11.4 billion, the brick-and-mortar sales total still dwarfs the online total. go to web site cyber monday sales

Thanksgiving is also a big day for online sales, and comScore reported an 18 percent increase this year compared with a year ago, with $479 million in sales.

Online sales also have been strong throughout November. Online sales through Saturday rose 15 percent compared with the same period a year ago, according to comScore, which is based in Reston, Va. Through the first 25 days of the month, online sales have totaled $12.74 billion. this web site cyber monday sales

ComScore said 50 million Americans visited online retail sites on Black Friday, up 35 percent from a year ago. Each of the top five retail sites reported double-digit gains in visitors, in percentage terms, led by top retail site Amazon. Walmart ranked second, followed by Best Buy, Target and Apple.

Next up is Cyber Monday, when many online retailers run promotions for the first business day of the week following Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday sales topped $1 billion last year, making it the heaviest day of online spending ever.

Mark Jewell


  1. taser instructor -  March 19, 2014 - 6:59 pm

    They are not called “tags” they are called “AFID’s”. “Anti Felony Identification Device’s”

  2. Steve Tuttle -  July 10, 2012 - 2:00 pm

    The TASER acronym is correct.

    However, the photo shows a generic stun gun. You need to show a photo of a real TASER brand device.

    Also, there is NO verb “tased.” TASER is registered trademark (and the AP style book should know this). You can’t “bastardize” your trademark by using it as a verb.

    On a sidenote, Jack Cover passed away in February 2009. I had the honor of working with him when we started TASER International.

  3. K9Bear -  December 5, 2011 - 7:50 pm

    Getting tased is required in order to be certified to carry a taser in most police departments. I’m starting my 30th year in law enforcement in south Florida and feel that officers will more likely utilize a Taser appropriately if they have personal knowledge of its effectiveness. I would rather get beat than to ever get tased again. Most bad guys just give up than chance getting tased. Very effective tool in reducing injuries on both sides and saving suicidal individuals from hurting themselves or others.

  4. Francis -  April 15, 2011 - 5:40 pm

    LASER- Light amplification through stimulated emission of radiation.

  5. Judith -  January 27, 2011 - 4:28 pm

    In NYC, for a police officer to use a TASER or stungun, he/she must have been tased. Every male police officer who was tased: screamed, clutched his chest, and fell down; every female officer who was tased, silently clutched her chest and fell down. The mantra became: “TAKE IT LIKE A WOMAN”!

  6. SMM -  January 25, 2011 - 6:38 am

    Who would have guessed? That addition of the middle initial is of course cheating a little, but still…!

  7. Meg -  January 23, 2011 - 1:06 pm

    When my brother and i were in about third grade we found a bunch of old “Tom Swift” novels in our school library and read them. “Tom Swift” was a fairly badly written and stereotypical 40′s sci-fi series; in fact it’s where we get the phrase “swiftie” today, to denote a bad pun on an adverb, but the books were good for one thing–they came before today’s crazy world that i’m growing up in and from my standpoint they seem to be kind of innocent. It seems ironic and almost terrible that a weapon designed solely for causing horrible pain could be named after a simple series of innocent kid’s books from a more genteel–in some respects–if not necessarily less cruel, world.

  8. holycow -  January 22, 2011 - 4:07 pm

    cool… i want one

  9. Eyewitness -  January 22, 2011 - 3:33 pm

    I did not read all the responses, so this comment may be redundant. In differentiating the TASER from a Stun Gun, I have not noticed anyone included this additional information:

    When a TASER is fired at the target from a distance, the discharge also widely scatters minute, identical plastic chips called ‘tags.’ They are about the size of confetti. Each cartridge loaded into the TASER also carries a payload of these tags, as many as several hundred per shot. When even a single tag is recovered from the incident scene, it will provide an audit trail as to where the manufacturer fabricated that cartridge, where and when it was sold to a vendor, and who the consumer was who bought it. It makes use of a TASER vitually impossible to walk away from. The tags are as unique as a serial number on the shooter themselves. I am not aware of any grey- or black market TASER cartridges fabricated without this unique identifyer embedded in the product. The lesson is implicit: It is impossible to TASE someone anonymously.

  10. Fill -  January 22, 2011 - 9:12 am

    In some law enforcement agenciecies, such as the CHP, it is not required, but if you’re a man with any dignity you submit to getting tazed, like my brother did.

  11. bender's forge -  January 22, 2011 - 5:02 am

    at least they don’t have to be shot before qualifying to carry a sidearm!:)

  12. Ferret -  October 18, 2010 - 7:38 pm

    Waldo Pepper: Not only that, but some of them conflict with the other 90% of posts. Well, at least he got an answer.

  13. Alibia S. -  October 14, 2010 - 5:07 pm

    Wow, I had no idea, sooo cool! I want one!!!

  14. Jordan -  October 14, 2010 - 2:57 pm

    That was so cool!

  15. ms.karma -  October 13, 2010 - 10:40 pm

    i’d love to have a taser for self protection. i would carry it everytime i go out especially at night. but i guess no one’s allowing me to have one. :P

  16. Matt -  October 13, 2010 - 6:50 pm

    It is true that you have to be tazed. You also have to be shot, strangled, beaten with a club and on top of that watch CNN for seven days straight (without sleep, or food, or water, in a quiet room, preferably a cell) if you’re going to be a cop. I should know, because a father of a friend’s uncle told me.

  17. Waldo Pepper -  October 13, 2010 - 5:06 pm

    Well Nathan, you win. Here are 1001 responses to your question. Sheesh.

  18. Lefty -  October 13, 2010 - 4:41 pm

    I would love to own a taser!! That should be a must have now a days!!

  19. S8terchik -  October 13, 2010 - 3:47 pm

    This is so cul

  20. Jenny Le -  October 13, 2010 - 2:49 pm

    like lolz this is like coolz

  21. huhhuh -  October 13, 2010 - 2:47 pm

    what the hell is wrong with people this days, jesus, btw this has nothing to do with the article

  22. kipper -  October 13, 2010 - 2:45 pm

    Whatever happened to the guy who interrupted the political meeting at that auditiourum. He should be heralded as a hero and the Tea Party folks use him as their poster child.

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