It felt good to pick up a fly rod for the first time in three months and get a little.
Peacock bass, always good for what ails ya.
Although this probably isn’t.
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!'”)
I’m reposting an email from Lee Willbanks, the executive director of Save The River, which advocates for the St. Lawrence:
DEC’s proposed new guidelines also make it more difficult for water quality data from outside sources, like Riverkeepers, to be considered by the State when making water quality assessments and plans. We need more sources of data, not fewer, to track and address water quality pollution. Urge DEC to broaden – not narrow the scope of water quality data it uses.
A water quality data blackout is bad for our environment, our health and our economy. Please join us in calling for the restoration of our statewide water quality monitoring programs to 2012 levels of funding, staffing and testing.
subject line: Please restore water quality monitoring programs to 2012 levels
I am concerned about the presence of pollutants in our waterbodies and rely on DEC to test for all the pollutants that impact the health of our waterways. In particular, I am concerned about exposure to the disease-causing pathogens found in sewage pollution. I understand that DEC has recently cut pathogen and pesticide testing altogether and implore you to reinstate testing for those pollutants immediately. Without regular testing and reporting on pathogens/sewage-contamination, public health is put at risk and the sources of pollution are left undetected.
Finally, the revised CALM guidelines include strict limits on the sources of outside water quality data that DEC will use to assess the health of NY’s waterbodies and limits staff’s ability to use their professional judgment in reviewing data sources. In light of the limited resources available to the DEC to gather water quality data, I urge you to reconsider this position and establish clear, attainable guidelines for data collection that can be met by the non-profit organizations, academic institutions and civic groups involved in water testing. Access to more data will allow DEC to identify pollution sources, and take action to remedy them more quickly – saving valuable waterways from slipping into greater impairment from which it is harder and more costly to recover.
Like so many New Yorkers, I consider clean water one of our most valuable resources. Please invest our clean water dollars in a robust water quality monitoring and assessment program that conducts regular and thorough testing of our waterways and utilizes all reliable sources of water quality data.
The ladyfish stupidly hovered in the vicinity, en mass, for an incredible length of time and stupidly chased anything that hit the water. And I stood there, stupidly, and cast to them. It was one of those situations where the hookup was preordained and no patience or skill or even thought was needed to make it so.
This happened during a trip to Florida last December and, knowing it was likely the last time I’d cast in 2013, it proved kind of cathartic.
Tennis elbow, according to the infallible WebMD, afflicts people in their dominant arm when they reach their 40s. That last little fact makes me the most indignant, because even though I’m at the age where any professional athlete not using steroids is retired, I should be able to fish without consequence.
The elbow situation itself is a minor annoyance for the most part, except when trying to cast a fly rod. Or holding the rod while exerting pressure on a hooked fish. So I haven’t been doing it.
This is the longest I’ve gone without casting a fly rod since I first picked one up in 1994 or 95 or whenever. In its absence I’ve been doing some other stuff like:
Watching Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee
Watching Beware Mr. Baker
Playing air hockey.
Not fishing has also made me realize that fly fishing has been my longest continuous indulgence into any one thing. As a kid I read all of Stan Fischler’s columns in Hockey Digest¹ and could name the backup goalie on every NHL team. In my teens I could spend hours stringing traditional pockets into lacrosse sticks and in college I knew by sound the 300 most obscure reggae bands² in the Western hemisphere. I also saw a bunch of jam bands a bunch of times so maybe that counts although those who are obsessed with jam bands are way more into them than someone who would mention it so casually in a one-off reference. (There are encyclopedias.)
Why fishing has had the most staying power, I don’t know. At what point does something we like to do build its own self-sustaining momentum? And at what point does the point of self-reflection about it become beside the point? There are a million other directions to go:
In the end I don’t really need to know why I need to do it³, or if I even need to do it, I just like to do it more than I like to do a lot of other things, and that’s enough. There’s no real reason to explain or justify a fishing injury or what ladyfish are or why someone would stand around for unchecked amounts of time casting to them.
1. This was pre internet so you could only watch a game a week on the USA Network. Hockey Digest was the only other way to stay connected, but–as with anything–the lack of information allowed for more time to ruminate on the information available. For instance, it led to my long held belief that there should be a section called “best players with cool mustaches before mustaches were cool” in the hockey hall of fame. On the first ballot would be Charlie Simmer, Lanny McDonald and Michel Goulet.)
2. This band called Tishan we used to see all the time that was hailed as South Florida’s Premier Reggae Band might be the most obscure, if you’re keeping track. Then again it could be one of the early reggae djs named Tippa Irie.
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.