Category Archives: Media

The Top Two Songs Involving Corduroy Fabric

Yesterday I spent a lot of time listening to the Pogues, which is something to do on St. Patrick’s Day among other days. The song “Poor Paddy¹” came on.

In the song, Shane MacGowan references corduroy britches  nine times. It struck me as an intriguing cultural reference in that the only other song I can think of that mentions the fabric is NWA’s “Dope Man.”

In “Dope Man” Eazy-E mentions them only once. At the song’s four minute mark he says, “I’m the dope man yeah boy wear corduroy, money up to here but unemployed.”

These are the top two songs to my knowledge that involve corduroy². Both songs have the same hardness to them, of the working man trying to get by in less than ideal labor conditions. So what does corduroy have to do with that?

Luckily, Google provides ready answers for surface grazers, expedited by the magic of autofill.

No less an apparel authority than  Brooks Brothers³ calls corduroy the “cloth of the king,” before noting that during the Industrial Revolution, it became the go-to fabric of the working class, or as BB tells it, “poor man’s velvet.”

A more in depth history of corduroy can be found at V is for Vintage

This accounting describes it as having a “velvety feel making it durable yet soft to touch.” It also makes reference of using corduroy to sew “trousers” for soldiers, mountaineers and factory workers and those in “ink-based trades.”

So corduroy rightly has context within the two songs, and its strength as a material has afforded it venue in other pop culture mediums(4).

In any event, I own one pair of corduroy pants but several works of the Pogues and NWA and Eazy-E, so I’ll keep attuned to any other possible commonalities.

And, in case you were wondering about the justification for this, there is corduroy in fly fishing.

1. (It’s a traditional song, “Poor Paddy Work on the Railway,” documented by Carl Sandburg in American Songbag.)

2.(The Pearl Jam song  titled “Corduroy”  never actually mentions corduroy and, vocally, Eddie Vedder sounds like he may or may not be taking a dump. Who can say?)

3. (Brooks Brothers titles its clothing advice page, “Of Rogues and Gentlemen.” I can imagine the scrubbed salesman at the retail shop trying to play up the rogue angle to some accounting consultant from Deloitte. And, in hearing this, the consultant daydreams of the gang at the 19th hole saying, “He’s such a rogue, he played the entire round from the gold tees.”)

4. (Corduroy gets more play on Seinfeld in the form of swooshing pants. So do velvet, Gore Tex and cotton. Side note, the Yankee’s cotton uniforms episode has one of my favorite random Seinfeld bits, where George reads aloud, “Wade Boggs says, ‘What a fabric!’”)

Home: Cheyenne River

HOME: CHEYENNE RIVER

This is a post about the Kickstarter Campaign of my friends Richard and Heather Steinberger. Heather’s a talented writer and Richard is a talented photographer and they happen to be married; they take their daughter in tow and cut wide swaths around the globe chasing their interests. And they always seem to come back with compelling words and pictures.

For the past eight years they have been heavily involved in the  Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, particularly the Cheyenne River Youth Project. They both became closely attached to many people in the Lakota Nation and inspired by the jaw-dropping beauty of the land.

Two years ago they decided to collaborate on a photo-essay book project that will celebrate Cheyenne River. They are looking to publish it themselves, raising the money to print and distribute it via Kickstarter.

I’m posting about it because I have no doubt it will be a work of art and a worthy book and therefore worth the investment.

HERE IS THE LINK TO THEIR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN

Two Hours Vaulting: Monty-Python and the absurdist sketch based in historical fact

“We’ll have two hours digging, two hours vaulting, and two hours sleeping, ok?” This is one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite Monty Python Sketches: The Society For Putting Things On Top of Other Things. I first watched it at my friend Roland’s house when we were 14 and we’d break out that line, among others, at random as it has had applications during almost any absurd situation from high school well into adulthood.

But what I didn’t know as a 14 year old was that the bit had historical context from actual events in World War II. That realization of context made an already funny sketch even more so.

I was reminded of this after stumbling across an obituary of a former RAF bomber pilot who served time in the Stalag Luft III prison camp, the site of  allied POW escape attempts made famous in the movies The Great Escape and The Wooden HorseThe latter is the story of the vaulting.

Apparently the POWs at Stalag Luft III were a sporting set, as this article from Sports Illustrated details. Between soccer, rugby and golf, the addition of a gymnastic vaulting horse might not have seemed so far fetched. Still the idea of using vaulting as a cover for digging escape tunnels from a Nazi POW camp with spoons while under the watch of Luftwaffe guards is, on the face of it, insane. And ingenious and maybe the most ballsy thing I’ve ever heard of involving sport (where failure is the threat of execution).

Here’s a youtube link to the sketch if you’re so inclined.

BOOKS: 50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish

Some of the places I’ve been fishing vicariously, like the White River via Steve Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher JournalOthers, like Henry’s Fork and the Deschutes and the Fryingpan, have been rolling around in my head since my fly-fishing infancy. Still others, like the Farmington and the Neversink, are almost in my backyard. And then there are the few, like the Bow River and Lake Taneycomo, where I’ve actually fished.

So after going through all 50 carefully selected and thoroughly vetted destinations compiled by Terry and Wendy Gunn, I don’t think of 50 Best Tailwaters to Flyfish so much as a book as it is a call to action. What have I been waiting for and, now that I’ve been thumped in the chest by this book, how can I apply what’s been given? Because the collaborators in this book, like the aforementioned Dally or the legendary Joe Demalderis of the Delaware,  have given us a lot.

Overall, 50 Best Tailwaters to Flyfish is an incredible reference for fly anglers, and also a reminder that fly fishing can take you just about anywhere you want to go, if you let it.

50-best-tailwaters-cvr-final

The Two Best Will Ferrell SNL Sketches Ever

With all due respect to the famous “cowbell” skit, which incredibly mixes Christopher Walken, Blue Oyster Cult and banded bottom shirts, there is another VHL Storytellers parody involving Will Ferrell that’s even better:

Neil Diamond: VH1 Storytellers

And, as long as we’re going down this road, there’s another I’d put up there with any of them. As Mr. Tarkanian, the Angry Boss. (Note with appreciation the little dance he pulls off at 3:04.)

Striped Bass and Cataclysmic Space Rocks

The website space.com has an article up detailing the lasting effects of the interstellar object, estimated between five and miles in diameter, that crashed into earth at the spot now known as the Chesapeake Bay Crater.

Without this epochal event, there is no Chesapeake Bay and no striped bass fishing as we know it today. Stuff to think about, walking the beach.

FULL ARTICLE

STEPHEN KING: The Important Part is the Story and the Talent

I work for a magazine that was once solely traditional print but now the paper mag is one part of it: The centerpiece of content delivery across many mediums.

 

I’ve collaborated on a hardcover photo essay book, contributed to the first two Pulp Fly ebooks and done some work for websites and paper pubs as well. Some of the paper ones are dead now but some of the websites are too¹.

 

Writers as a group tend to swing on a pendulum between inspired and despair, and also to complain a lot about the way things aren’t.²

 

But it’s not such a bad thing that there are a million ways to get words out there if you want to, whether things get sorted out the way you want them to go in this transition or not. As Stephen King says at 2:52 of this clip, “The future’s gonna be what the future’s gonna be.”

 

As for today, I’m going to look for inspiration from the past.

 

¹Most of that work is lost to the wind except for the ones I boxed up for posterity that my kids will throw out one day.

²My all-time favorite excerpt on writers and writing is this one from Charles Bukowski.

The Fine Art of Screaming

In Murray Hill there used to be an Irish bar called Clery’s that had six-dollar pitchers for happy hour. The broke 20-somethings from the publishing house would migrate there after work because you could have a good night for $15–two pitchers plus tips and a dollar for the jukebox.

The jukebox must have been upgraded with a timely 90s hit package, because it had Nirvana’s In Utero placed incongruously close to the Counting Crows. Our buddy Bob-O always put on “Scentless Apprentice” and loved how it stopped many patrons mid-conversation. It might be the best screaming song ever.

There’s an art to a good scream in a song, where it’s not just a scream for screaming’s sake and in a way it adds musicality to it. A good scream is different than a call and response or a “Hey” shout (my two favorites in that category being “Punch You in the Eye” and “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love“).

The good scream might be words but it also doesn’t necessarily sound like it is, as evidenced in here:

There’s also what would be better described as spoken word screaming, perfected by Captain Beefheart:

(Who no doubt was heavily influenced by the original, Howlin’ Wolf.)

There are a ton of bad screaming songs, so much so to give the scream a bad name, but the good ones light you up in a way that other songs can’t touch. When Bob-O played it at Clery’s it had a better effect than we could have hoped for.