Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Small Pointer on Eroticism...

Well, what'd you expect, you pervies? She was a small pointer, and when we built a fire she liked to stretch out in front of it and strike a tasteful, understated yet sexy pose, that's all. Geez, get your minds out of the gutter...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Hypochondriac's Revenge...

Since my creativity is currently RIP, I give you one last headstone from the wacky, wonderful Key West cemetery...

Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm not dead, I'm just resting my eyes...

She, on the other hand, is definitely TU, despite what the headstone says...

Have you ever just not had anything to say? That's been me the past week or so. I haven't really been on the computer, haven't responded much to e-mails, haven't had a decent idea for a blog, a story or a query, haven't been fishing, haven't done any dog training, haven't felt social in any way. I haven't, in fact, done a damn thing beyond the bare minimum dictated by involuntary bodily functions, contractual work obligations, parental duties and the necessary avoidance of spousal wrath.

Maybe it's the weather. My wife has long accused me of being SAD (as in Seasonal Affective Disorder, not my general appearance or mood, although that could be argued as well...) and the past few days has me thinking there might be something to that. What the hell happened to spring? All I see are variations of cold, dreary, and miserable. And wet. But not a good, soaking, break-the-drought wet, but rather a misty, damp, barely-above freezing wet that will - as soon as the weather turns warm again -  put us right back in the middle of what is shaping up to be a pisser of a grass fire season.

Last night I poured myself a glass of good inspiration, grabbed the laptop and sat down in my office writing chair, determined to write...something. Two hours later, no inspiration, and my glass was empty, too. So I just went to bed.

Just been that kind of week. Incidentally, the picture was taken in the very entertaining and interesting Key West cemetery. And what I wouldn't do for a few days in Key West right now, kitsch and tourist-trap tackiness be damned. Just give me a week, two rods, one bottle and a nice, dry bridge to sleep under...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Eat Me, I'm Irish

Happy St. Patrick's Day! The Mallard's been on a spring break hiatus of sorts. Things will be back to normal next week, but in honor of the occasion I wanted to post a photo of the lovely wife's delicious Blarney Stones.

Not being Irish, I have no idea what the hell a Blarney Stone is, but I will eat them until the pan is gone, then I'll crank up the Dropkick Murphys and the Flogging Molly and wash them down with a Guinness*, but only because the bastards - whoever they are -  have stopped importing my beloved Mackeson Triple Stout.

*Actually that's a wishful lie. I'll eat one with a glass of milk and then go back to working my ass off building a retaining wall for our back yard. Because that's what old married dudes do...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Random Friday Yearning

When you're in the "Bargain Cave" income tax bracket, you've got no choice but to make your flyfishing dollars stretch to the elasticity of say, Plastic Man . So I've been slowly trying to cobble together the gear I'll need for my flyfishing experiment from bargain bins, pawn shop finds, clearance racks, garage sales and stealing it from friends (Greg, you'll get that stimulator - or whatever the hell you call it -  I "borrowed" from you when you pry it from my cold, dead fly box).

So when I noticed yesterday that the Cabela's 24-piece All-Purpose warmwater fly assortment was featured in the Bargain Cave for twenty-nine bucks, I bought it, along with a cheap bass popper assortment. The good thing is that since I know absolutely dick about the relative quality of house-brand flies versus the Umpquas of the world, and indeed know dick about flies period (they're all fuzzy, right?) I won't know if they suck or not. All I know is they were cheap, and cheap rules my world.

I don't envy (too much, anyway) the rich, globe-trotting anglers or the well-connected fishing writers their high-end flyfishing gear. And that's a hard admission to make for a guy for whom fishing tackle has always been a huge weakness. Maybe I'm getting older and such things just don't seem to matter as much as they used to.

But I do envy them their experiences, the bastards. And one of these days, one of these days, don't know how, when or where, I want to find myself in some exotic sun-drenched location, a saltwater flat, maybe, or perhaps deep in the rainforest, and I want to be able to utter the phrase (shout it, actually) "He's into the backing!" (provided I ever learn how to double-haul, of course).

It's just a cool phrase, and it evokes everything I love about fishing: the adventure and excitement, the power of the fish, the uncertainty, the fear. And if I get the opportunity to someday shout it to the heavens (other than when I practice it in front of the bathroom mirror) I won't give a damn what brand of reel the fish is destroying, just as long as I'm there to watch it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Getting To Be That Time...

As I was walking down to the mailbox this morning, a neighbor starting up his truck elicited shock gobbles from two different toms skulking around the neighborhood. It won't be long before the crazy, lovesick bastards will once again be attacking the sliding glass door on the back porch, strutting endlessly in the yard, crapping everywhere and generally making a damn nuisance of themselves.

That and $3.50 a gallon gas is almost enough to make a guy forget travel plans and instead just stay home for turkey season. Gobble, gobble...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

When Hipsters Duck Hunt, circa 1957

An interesting Fifties-vintage clothing ad featuring a Chesapeake Bay retriever, a sneak boat and one seriously dapper dude. The hunter's steely-eyed gaze rises toward the duck-filled heavens, or whatever the model (obviously a disciple of the method acting school of retail clothing modeling) imagines  duck-filled heavens to look like.

Meanwhile, the chessie is staring directly at his real master with a look that says "Another take? Are you shitting me? When the hell can I get out of this boat and away from this tool? Because I'm just about ready to bite off this dude's nuts."

Of course, on the other hand, maybe I shouldn't mock. Could you imagine an ad like this running today? Would today's ironic hipster embrace yesterday's earnest hipster fashion? Or would that be too ironic? WWRCD? (What Would Rivers Cuomo Do)...

Coincidentally, this is exactly how I dress when I go duck hunting...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Take the Gun AND the Coe-nnoli*

Only in Oklahoma. I'll say that again, because it bears repeating: Only in Oklahoma. First  Hillbilly Handfishin' and now this. Sigh. Take my state, please...

From this story in the Oklahoman

A self-proclaimed “redneck” stole a David Allan Coe country music album and cash from a CD Warehouse store in Oklahoma City last week, according to a police report released today.
The man walked into the store at 4001 N Pennsylvania Ave. about 4:20 p.m. Thursday and asked a clerk if he knew where the David Allan Coe CD was, an officer wrote in the report. The robber followed the clerk to a shelf, the clerk handed him the CD and they walked to a register.

The robber pulled out a chrome semi-automatic pistol and demanded money from the clerk, according to the report. After the clerk gave him the contents of the cash drawer, the robber said, “I'll take this (CD) too. I'm kind of a redneck.”

The robber made the clerk get on the floor, then walked out of the store and got into an older model cream-colored Lincoln car with a spare tire on the trunk, the officer wrote. The clerk and a witness described the robber as a white man in his mid-40s who is about 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighs about 220 pounds and has shaggy light brown hair and a full beard. He was wearing a camouflage jacket with the sleeves rolled up and blue jeans.

Any commentary from me would be completely superfluous. This one stands on its own...merits?

*with apologies to the Godfather and Sarah Vowell

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Really Crappie Day

Chad's Excellent Flyfishing Discovery Year, in which this diehard metal-chunking, baitcaster-loving basshead attempts his redneck piscatorial pursuits wholly with the fairy wand, kicked off yesterday when I snuck off for a twenty-minute lunchtime sanity break at the local state park pond/trash dump/teenage copulation pit.

It's a nasty little hole, but I can be over there in literally less than a minute, be casting in less than three and back to the house in time to eat a sandwich and get back to work in less than thirty. For that kind of convenience I can overlook the slimy water and wormy-looking unemployed (rather than underemployed like me) guys in wifebeaters sitting on the bank with their Chinese Zebcos propped in the fork of a limb jammed into the mud, watching yellow bobbers while they diligently and completely un-ironically work their way through a case of PBR.

And I'll be damned if I didn't (alliteration alert) finally find a fun way to catch crappie. They're a useless but delicious little fish, and unless I specifically want to eat them, I rarely fish for crappie because I can achieve the same sporting effect by snagging a little bit of slimy moss.

But with the little six-foot three-weight and a Clouser minnow, it's actually kind of - dare I say - fun, in a way that catching them on even light conventional tackle never was. I caught four in quick succession and you can bet your ass I'll be back over there next week with a little more time and a stringer...

It 'aint Montana, but it's what I got...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gun Trading: A Cautionary Tale...


Greg over at Shotgun Chronicle had a nice post yesterday about Miroku shotguns, specifically the Charles Daly-branded Mirokus that were imported back in the sixties and seventies. Miroku still makes shotguns for Browning, but Charles Daly is, alas, no more, except for a few of those horrid Turkish autoloaders you sometimes still see floating around, but I don't consider those plastic-and-pig iron travesties shotguns...

I do, however, have a superior-grade Charles Daly Miroku 12 gauge almost exactly like the one Greg linked to in his post, except mine has much nicer wood and lacks the gold-filled engraving. It's a great gun, but my acquisition of it is a cautionary tale to anyone who thinks newer is automatically better...

...Fade to gun store. A man (perhaps not me, maybe a fictional composite...) walks in with a Springfield 1911 he recently traded for. He got into it really cheap, super cheap, and is looking to turn that liquidity into shotgun steel. He walks over to the rack and spies a new O/U leaning there amongst the mass-market junk.

"Hmmm, what's this?" the man says to himself, and as he picks it up he realizes it's a very, very nice superior grade Charles Daly Miroku. Twelve gauge, 28-inch tubes, mid-rib bead, nice wood with a fair bit of figure to it. Blueing is 100 percent. Finish is 100 percent. Bores? Like chromed glass. The gun is so stiff he has trouble breaking it open. He takes off the fore-end, breaks down the gun, looks it over, wipes away the ancient, crusty grease and becomes convinced that this gun, made sometime back in the mid-seventies, has never been fired outside the factory.

"So what's the story on this one?" I - I mean the man -  asks the shop owner.
"Guy brought it in yesterday," he replies. "He said his dad bought it new but he doesn't think his dad ever used it."
"Really? Why'd he get rid of it?"
"He wanted to trade it for one of the new Charles Daly over-unders."
The man - who by this time is in full-on scheming, horse-trading mode - knows he can't exhibit the slightest emotion or the shop owner will be on to him. But upon hearing this stunning revelation, he can't help himself.
"You're shittin' me? Really?"

Now at this point I must explain that this scene may have taken place a number of years ago at a time when the Charles Daly name was still a going concern and was being put on a series of uber-cheap Turkish-made over-under shotguns that are best left undescribed. The fact that someone would be stupid enough to actually want one of them in the first place, and then would be so colossally, monumentally stupid as to trade a pristine, unused (unused!) high-quality Japanese Miroku for said Turkish piece of shit simply buggers the noggin'...

"Nope," the shop owner continues, "he said he wanted a newer shotgun with (wait for it, wait for it...) choke tubes."
"Hmm," the man replies. "So did he trade it straight across for one?"
"Nope, made him give me a hundred dollars boot."

At this point I must explain that my local shop owner is a ruthless and cunning bastard who would screw the eyeballs out of a tethered goat if it meant coming out on top in a gun trade. And what he had just done to this poor, clueless schmuck bordered on the criminal. It was brilliant.

"Hmmm," the man says. "What you gonna put on it?" A dangerous question. I - I mean he -  had to feign casual disinterest. One whiff of desire, one subtle indication that I wanted this gun and the shark would smell blood in the water.

"Oh, I don't know," says the shop owner. "We don't really move too many used over-unders." This was true. "I was thinking maybe four, five hundred bucks."

Now it was my - I mean the man's - turn to smell blood. That was a stupid cheap price. Just the week before he had seen a nice but well-used Miroku superior grade in a shop in Oklahoma City with a $900 price tag on it. The shop owner had just tipped his hand that he didn't know its true value and would probably be interested in a trade. Time to make the move.

"I've got this Springfield here I might trade you straight across, out the door."

Silence, as the shop owner's scheming lizard brain ponders the offer, calculates his profit.

"OK, I can do that," he replies. And so I - I mean the man - walks out the door with the Miroku, the latest link in that long daisy-chain of screwings known as a gun trade. He thinks "boy, I really got to him." Meanwhile, the shop owner, who despite having the man get to him will still make money on both ends of the deal, sits at his counter and thinks "boy, I really got to them."

And the poor, ignorant dude who started the whole sordid process sits on an upturned bucket out in a dove field somewhere, watching others shoot as he looks at the useless hunk of metal and wood in his hands, screaming "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH MY GUN? WHY WON'T THIS FRIGGIN' THING WORK RIGHT?"

But hey, at least it's got choke tubes...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Difference Between Smarts and Intelligence

I'm an intelligent guy. I'm also poor, which means I'm not very smart.

But this girl...

...may be intelligent or she may not. But she's smart. Very smart.

From the New York Daily News
Sarah White, a 24-year-old psychology buff, conducts online therapy sessions in her birthday suit. The naked therapist's unique approach to helping people solve their issues has, she says, aroused interest from dozens of suffering New Yorkers.
"For men especially, who are less likely than women to go to therapy, it is more interesting, more enticing, more exciting," said White. "It's a more inspiring approach to therapy."
White begins her sessions with her clothes on. But as the hour-long appointments heat up, she gradually sheds all of her duds until there's nothing left to take off.
"Freud used free association," she said. "I use nakedness."
The initial sessions, which cost $150, are conducted via a one-way Web cam and text chat. Once she develops a rapport with a client, she'll move on to two-way video appointments via Skype and even in-person consultations.
White said her roughly 30 clients are an eclectic mix of college students with sexual issues, middle-aged men with relationship problems and even a couple of women who just enjoy chatting with a nude peer.
A freelance computer programmer, White said she got the idea to perform therapy sessions in the nude after being uninspired by the theories she learned as an undergraduate psychology student. She conceded that naked therapy is not approved by any mental health association. And she is not a licensed therapist.

A $150-an-hour striptease marketed under the guise of a "therapy" session? Damn it, that's brilliant. And she's getting all kinds of national press out of it. Book deal, anyone? Reality show?

 But every time I hear a story like this, about someone who's identified a niche, a schtick or a gimmick, some savvy hustler who hops on the the prevailing zeitgeist and then rides it all the way to the bank, I just get depressed. Why? Jealousy, of course. I mean, it obviously helps that she's pretty hot, but she identified a unique way to generate income and publicity and went after it.

I never could do that. I'm just not smart enough. No matter how intelligent I believe myself to be, I'll never be smart enough to convert the shamelessness and chutzpah that's demanded of modern success into riches.

Damn my ordinary looks and my tasteful and understated aesthetic sensibility! I knew they'd always hold me back...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happiness Is New Decoys

Includng two dozen divers and two dozen standard-size mallards.

Sadness is new decoys in March...and not having a boat in which to carry them.

Stupid Literature Games

A few pithy quotes from a favored author I've been re-reading a lot of lately. Won't say who but I'll give you a few hints as to the book. Yes, it's a lame post, but my brain is tired and I really, really need to go fishing...

1. Abstract Expressionism.

2. Sateen Dura-luxe.


"If anyone has discovered what life is all about," Father might say, "it is too late. I am no longer interested."

"Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?"

"And what is literature, Rabo," he said, "but an insider's newsletter about affairs relating to molecules, of no importance to anything in the universe but a few molecules who have the disease called 'thought.'"

Winner gets a temporary (alas, always temporary) sense of smugness...

*** If you're wondering, no, it doesn't have anything to do with hunting, fishing or dogs...

*** Out of curiosity, I just Googled a couple of my clues and immediately came up with the answer. You know, sometimes the Information Age is just a damned joy killer. Isn't there any useless and/or obscure information out there any more that you actually have to work for? Whatever happened to the thrill of discovery? Kids these days are doomed to a life of unearned instant gratification...