Category Archives: Media

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.

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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.