The working thesis is that both I-75 and I-95 feed into the state, so every person in the midwest and the northeast who’s ranging from slightly off to full-on just heads south until they run out of options. Seth Myers’ new bit taps into the evidence supporting that theory, the insane Florida news cycle.
The good thing about the skit, and the continuous stream of news reports that inspired it, is that now people will believe us–we being the people with Florida roots who share personal anecdotes of encounters in this vein, only to have others think we’re making this shit up. (We are not.)
You don’t even need dig deep to experience it, just drive down any stretch of Federal Highway until you come across a Denny’s. Spend 20 minutes inside after midnight and you’re good to go.
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
Esquire calls it one of the seven best articles it has ever published, and with the recent passing of the journalist Richard Ben Cramer it’s been recirculating around.
If you get the chance, check out “What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now?”
It’s pretty awesome.
“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 Horse. The 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.
I used to count fish. Most probably do when they start fishing as a way to catalogue it, or for whatever reason. I stopped mostly after reading Longest Silence–if you did you probably know the exact passage about “trout number seven”–and also because it is a nonsensical way to record a fishing experience.
Looking back on my fishing journals, I recorded a day in the year 2000 where I caught 30 just-stocked brook trout on a river where I paid for a beat. Should that carry more weight than the trip that year down the Rio Hatiguanico in Cuba? The one with the ornithologist who served me rum and helped me hook my first tarpon on fly? By numbers it does.
So I started counting days. In 2008 I recorded over 100 excursions with a fly rod and I knew with the birth of my first child that year that the pace would not last unless I moved to Florida and/or won the lottery. In 2013, I recorded 52. Once a week seems more than reasonable for someone in a northern locale with a full-time job and family, and who is not a guide.
Still, counting days is not a perfect math, either. The year in my head doesn’t add up to the numbers on the page–a notion my wife would find insane¹. Maybe it’s because I turned down as many invitations to fish as times I actually spent fishing–I am probably the king of the “Yeah sounds awesome oh wait I can’t” response. Maybe it’s because of the skunk days I withstood trying to force carp to like me. But likely it’s because much of my fishing time came in clusters or consisted of stolen moments².
Either way, in 2013 I got to be on the water in some of my favorite places in the world in both Florida and New York with some of my favorite people and also got to watch my two daughters catch panfish on little pink Ugly Sticks by the dozen. So, yeah, 2013 was good. And as the great Neil Young sings, “numbers add up to nothing.”
Happy New Year.
1. (And most likely is.)
2. (In the Wordsworthian “Spots of Time” vein.)
It’s not too late to get a copy of The Blitz: Fly Fishing The Atlantic Migration for the discerning coastal fly angler.
I’ll send a signed copy but you can pick it up at the following local fly shops:
Capefish Clothing Company
Bear’s Den Fly Fishing
Fishing the Cape
Orvis New York (Tell Rob I sent you.)
Stone River Outfitters
There are many others not listed that sell it too. This video kind of shows what it’s about. Merry Christmas.