Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Most Awesome Cultural Gaffe Ever.

From this story in the BBC

Kazakhstan's shooting team has been left stunned after a comedy national anthem from the film Borat was played at a medal ceremony at championships in Kuwait instead of the real one.

The team asked for an apology and the medal ceremony was later rerun. The team's coach told Kazakh media the organisers had downloaded the parody from the internet by mistake. The song was produced by UK comedian Sacha Baron Cohen for the film, which shows Kazakhs as backward and bigoted.

Footage of Thursday's original ceremony posted on YouTube shows gold medallist Maria Dmitrienko listening to the anthem without emotion and finally smiling as it ends.

Coach Anvar Yunusmetov told Kazakh news agency Tengrinews that the tournament's organisers had also got the Serbian national anthem wrong.

"Then Maria Dmitrienko's turn came," he said. "She got up on to the pedestal and they played a completely different anthem, offensive to Kazakhstan."

The spoof song praises Kazakhstan for its superior potassium exports and for having the cleanest prostitutes in the region.

The film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, released in 2006, follows Baron Cohen's character, the journalist Borat Sagdiyev, as he travels to the US and pursues the actress Pamela Anderson. The film outraged people in Kazakhstan and was eventually banned in the country. The government also threatened Baron Cohen with legal action.

As Borat would say...Great Success!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Oh Yes I Did...

Because I came to the realization that, aside from meat procurement, I'm not really into deer hunting like I used to be, and that I'd rather have a yard full of bird dogs than a closet full of deer rifles. So I sold one of the latter and bought one of the former. Damn good trade-off, if you ask me.

He's from Berg Brothers in Minnesota, and I'm ashamed to say we haven't named him yet. For the sad tale you can check out today's Man's Best Friend, and if you happen to have a suggestion for a name, I'm all ears.

Right now he mostly sleeps, craps and howls when we leave him in his kennel, you know, typical puppy stuff, but he is a precocious young man. When he met Jenny he first tried to latch on to one of her boobs, then when that didn't work he climbed up on one of her hind legs and went to town like a tiny little jackhammer. Jenny, ever the innocent one, merely turned around in circles looking confused.

Not so, Tess. He tried latching on to her hind leg and for his troubles got his first taste of what every other dog in the neighborhood experiences when they go sniffing around back there. He's not likely to do that again.

Is he going to make a bird dog? You never know until it's too late, of course, but hope springs eternal and I'm very excited that I'll have two young dogs in the field this fall. And there must be something in the air, because I know several guys who either already have or are getting new pups this spring.

Now all we need are birds...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mallard's On Spring Break...

But not here.

I remain - as I have my entire life -  stuck in Oklahoma, where it has been rainy, cold and miserable the entire week.

But I'm not complaining. We need the rain, and besides, it could be worse. The year my wife and I actually did go to Key West on spring break, the week of our return we got socked with one of the heaviest snowfall events in Oklahoma history. On Friday I was fishing (in vain) on a gorgeous, isolated beach, strolling and casting among the coconuts. On Tuesday I was trying to clear 26 inches of snow from my driveway.

That's when I first started questioning my long-held dream of moving permanently to Montana, and began seriously contemplating the possibility of retiring to a nice, cozy concrete bench under a Florida Keys bridge.

At any rate, apologies for the recent temporary slowdown in blogs and commentary. I'll return to a more normal schedule in a few days.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Here's Another Idea...

I'm not saying I'm seriously contemplating a new publishing venture, but it is quite fun to riff on some of the comments from my Rolling Stream blog post from a few days back, so...

I've been chewing over different hypothetical scenarios, and I've got some thoughts on editorial direction and vision I'll share in a future blog, but since my wife just broke down and ordered our family's first e-reader last night  (I'm still dealing with the feelings of shame, guilt and self-loathing...) delivery systems are on my mind right now, which made me think...

What about taking that original idea of a non-traditional hunting and fishing literary journal that appeals to my fellow 27 weirdos nationwide, and instead of a traditional print mag or a traditional (?) e-zine, instead format it as an anthology and make it available as an e-book download?

I'm not sure how the art would work in that format, but you would then have the option of having it as a print-on-demand print copy as well as the digital version. Heck, with that kind of distribution flexibility, you could even make it a quarterly, or twice a year, or whatever. That would certainly solve some of the thorny distribution issues, but it also raises other issues.

For example, how would copyright work in a deal like that? As a freelancer, I'm completely, absolutely, positively dead-set against any form of work-for-hire or all-rights contracts, and if there wasn't some way for the author to grant first publication rights to the e-book but then retain all other rights, then the idea of an e-book anthology is a dead one, at least for me.

But if there were some way to work out art and rights issues, what do you think of a literary quarterly distributed as an e-book rather than a traditional print mag or e-zine?

Then, of course, there's the issue of funding the project. Obviously there would be some costs associated with soliciting, choosing and editing the stories and art, then putting it all together and formatting the final product, but I would think the lion's share of expenses with such a project would be raising enough money to pay the chosen writers a decent rate for their stories.

Would Kickstarter funding be enough seed money to cover production costs and writer fees for the initial issue, and then I simply hope the money raised from paid e-book downloads would be enough to keep the ball rolling, albeit slowly? Or would it be a one-off issue? Who knows? But it's fun to play "what if" isn't it?

So what do you think? Good idea? Bad idea? Take a critical whack at it, and don't be kind.    

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mallard's Infinite Playlist: The Breeders, Drivin' On 9

In honor of (and in clear copyright violation of, so please don't sue me, man...) Steve Hickoff, who in addition to being a fellow setter lover and turkey and waterfowl hunting maven who writes for all the major hook-and-bullet mags (including a damn good blog on F&S's sister pub Outdoor Life), is also an alt-rock songwriter who pens songs for and hangs out with former Pixies.

How cool is that? Who says all us redneck bubbas are boring and predictable?

I tried to find some decent bootleg Breeders concert footage of Steve's song, but unfortunately most of it sucked, so I had to settle for this admittedly clever driving scene mash-up.

Now that I know Steve is tight with Kim Deal, the next press hunt we find ourselves on together I will be expecting the full, unexpurgated story...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Rolling Stream?

One of the pipe dreams I've always had (along with opening up a used book and gun shop, living under a bridge in the Florida Keys, training a QAA field trial chessie, building a time machine so I can travel back in time to see the Pixies in concert, and spending an entire fall on the road, Jim Fergus-like, bird hunting across the country) is to publish my own little alternative hook-and-bullet magazine.

I've always been a big believer in the old adage "look at how everyone else is doing something, and then figure out a way to do it completely differently." And that's exactly how I'd like to create my 'zine.

You take some classic counter-culture weirdness; 70s-era Rolling Stone, a little Mother Jones, then mix it with some literary gravitas, maybe a dash of Paris Review, some early Gray's Sporting Journal and Sports Illustrated, and a little vintage 60s and 70s Playboy and/or Esquire, and then throw it all in a blender with an equal measure of the classic Big Three sporting mags from the same era, hit the puree button and what you end up with is my magazine, sort of a sporting New Yorker, but just a tad stoned, and minus the pretentious assholes.

You know, the kind of magazine that would publish the type of authors that sporting magazines used to publish. And no, I'm not talking about Corey Ford, Robert Ruark, Jack O'Conner, etc, etc, ad nauseum. Don't get me wrong, I love those guys. I have most of their books. But I'm talking about modern writers, edgier writers, as opposed to the more traditional outdoor writers we tend to wrap in standard-issue nostalgia.

Wouldn't it be great? No "how-to" for simpletons, no 200-word feature stories for the ADD demographic, no stupid graphics - in short, no abandoning of print's story-telling strength for the folly of trying to emulate the web. Just a weirdly eclectic blend of many different but equally wonderful styles, all hewing to the simple premise of great writing, great photography, and the primacy of the word as expression and art.

And it would, of course, be a colossal failure. It'd appeal to, oh, about 27 weirdos nationwide, while at the same time completely alienating virtually every traditional demographic from which it drew inspiration. Cool and unusual ideas often don't make good business models. Good business models don't often inspire and excite, which is why we're saddled with the choices we have. Ever it was thus.

But a dude can dream, right?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Size Doesn't Matter...

But taste does. My first fish of 2012 isn't exactly a giant, but give me a dozen more like him and I'll be happy.

My bumbling, stumbling, hilarious (for those watching), wildly incompetent and hopelessly curse-filled flyfishing year has begun. I'm ready for my tarpon now. Or at least a few more fish than I caught on the fly last year, when I had many moments of weakness and frustration, moments which caused me to skulk back to the baitcaster like some piscatorial reprobate.  

Caught on my beloved, wonderful (and inexpensive) little St. Croix 6-foot three weight, bought on a recommendation from Tim Romano, and the little Sage I traded my brother out of a while back.

Spring's almost here, and although the dogs and I are sorely missing hunting, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to breaking out the rods, the turkey gun and the okra seed. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Start In Loving A Dog...

I don't usually link from here to the stuff I write for the Field & Stream website, as it's (mostly) a different audience, different vibe, different style, different topics and pretty much different everything else.

Today, however, I'm going to make an exception and link to my latest Man's Best Friend blog post, just because I think it's pretty damn cool.