Winslow Homer, Adirondack Lake, 1892, Fogg Museum, Harvard University.
There was once a time when even literati, like E.B. White, writing for the hoity-toity New Yorker were not above relishing memories of hellgramites and bait hooks; of vacation lakes, black bass, and canoes, of tricks in running hit-and-miss engines.
It seemed to me, as I kept remembering all this, that those times and those summers had been infinitely precious and worth saving. There had been jollity and peace and goodness. The arriving (at the beginning of August) had been so big a business in itself, at the railway station the farm wagon drawn up, the first smell of the pine-laden air, the first glimpse of the smiling farmer, and the great importance of the trunks and your father’s enormous authority in such matters, and the feel of the wagon under you for the long ten-mile haul, and at the top of the last long hill catching the first view of the lake after eleven months of not seeing this cherished body of water. The shouts and cries of the other campers when they saw you, and the trunks to be unpacked, to give up their rich burden. (Arriving was less exciting nowadays, when you sneaked up in your car and parked it under a tree near the camp and took out the bags and in five minutes it was all over, no fuss, no loud wonderful fuss about trunks.)
Peace and goodness and jollity. The only thing that was wrong now, really, was the sound of the place, an unfamiliar nervous sound of the outboard motors. This was the note that jarred, the one thing that would sometimes break the illusion and set the years moving. In those other summertimes, all motors were inboard; and when they were at a little distance, the noise they made was a sedative, an ingredient of summer sleep. They were one-cylinder and two-cylinder engines, and some were make-and-break and some were jump-spark, but they all made a sleepy sound across the lake. The one-lungers throbbed and fluttered, and the twin-cylinder ones purred and purred, and that was a quiet sound too. But now the campers all had outboards. In the daytime, in the hot mornings, these motors made a petulant, irritable sound; at night, in the still evening when the afterglow lit the water, they whined about one’s ears like mosquitoes. My boy loved our rented outboard, and his great desire was to achieve single-handed mastery over it, and authority, and he soon learned the trick of choking it a little (but not too much), and the adjustment of the needle valve. Watching him I would remember the things you could do with the old one-cylinder engine with the heavy flywheel, how you could have it eating out of your hand if you got really close to it spiritually. Motor boats in those days didn’t have clutches, and you would make a landing by shutting off the motor at the proper time and coasting in with a dead rudder. But there was a way of reversing them, if you learned the trick, by cutting the switch and putting it on again exactly on the final dying revolution of the flywheel, so that it would kick back against compression and begin reversing. Approaching a dock in a strong following breeze, it was difficult to slow up sufficiently by the ordinary coasting method, and if a boy felt he had complete mastery over his motor, he was tempted to keep it running beyond its time and then reverse it a few feet from the dock. It took a cool nerve, because if you threw the switch a twentieth of a second too soon you would catch the flywheel when it still had speed enough to go up past center, and the boat would leap ahead, charging bull-fashion at the dock.
Yes, There Is A â€˜Sexy Women Holding Carpâ€™ NSFW Calendar And, Of Course, Itâ€™s Gotta Be From Germany
The calendar is the brainchild of a certain Hendrik PÃ¶hler, a native of Germany who sells equipment for carp fishing for a living. To get these priceless pics, photographer Raphael Faraggi runs the shoots in France over four weeks. He is assisted by â€œtwo competent caretakers,â€ who are charged with cleaning and polishing the carpsâ€™ scales before they are given to the models for the big pose.
â€œThe idea for the calendar was to bring two of the greatest hobbies of men, fishing and women together. I remember the day when I was fishing with my friend and at the spot next to us were two hot girls fishing. This was the moment I decided to make this fabulous calendar.â€
The young, pre-WWI Ernest with his first model Colt Woodsman in a shoulder holster and a large catch of tiny trout.
Ah! A pre-season look forward to impending trout season written by Ernest Hemingway for the Toronto Star in 1920.
Not a great piece of writing, and no expression of dry fly purism either. But in one short passage of two sentences, there is a glimpse forward to the masterful Big Two-Hearted River. And we are reminded of the old days, when steel fly rods were the hot new cutting-edge of fishing technology, and the fly fisherman fished a couple of wet flies on a dropper.
[A] vision of a certain stream… obsesses him.
It is clear and wide with a pebbly bottom and the water is the color of champagne. It makes a bend and narrows a bit and the water rushes like a millrace. Sticking up in the middle of the stream is a big boulder and the water makes a swirl at its base. …
A snipe lights on the boulder and looks inquiringly at the fly fisherman and then flies jerkily up the stream. But the fly fisherman does not see him for he is engaged in the most important thing in the world. Deciding on his cast for the first day on the stream.
Finally he bends on two flies. One on the end of the leader and one about three feet up. Iâ€™d tell you what flies they were, but every fly fisherman in Toronto would dispute the choice. With me though they are going to be a Royal Coachman and a McGinty.
The fairy rod waves back and forth and then shoots out and the flies drop at the head of the swirl by the big boulder. There is a twelve-inch flash of flame out of water, the flyfisher strikes with a wrist like a steel trap, the rod bends, and the first trout of the season is hooked.
There is naturally a special fascination for sportsmen in the prospect of trying for an example of particularly rare and beautiful game species.
The Paiute Cutthroat Trout survived in only a portion of a single remote stream in the High Sierras, Silver King Creek, (and transplants have been made to only handful of other locations), so Paiute Cutthroats do not grow to a very large size, but with respect to beauty and rarity, they inevitably rank at the top of the heap of potential trophies for the trout fisherman. I say potential, because it has not been legal to fish for Paiute Cutthroats for many decades. Occasionally, one is caught, photographed, and released with special permission by some writer or fisheries biologist.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday on the ironic situation in which environmentalist extremism on the part of two busybodies, has, for more than a decade, successfully blocked efforts by the California fish and game department to restore the rare Paiute Cutthroat to its original home range on the lower portion of Silver King Creek.
In 1912, a young shepherd named Joe Jaunsaras wanted to fish the fishless upper [portion of Silver King] [C]reek, historical records show, so he carried some Paiute trout up in a can. The fish still exist in that upper stretch of the creek.
He unwittingly saved the Paiute trout from extinction. … State officials later put other trout species into the Paiute trout’s old home. The more-aggressive new fish ate some Paiute trout and hybridized with others. By the 1940s, Paiute trout were gone from the nine-mile stretch of creek.
There are now fewer than 2,000 adult Paiute trout… The fish has been classified as “threatened” on the federal Endangered Species List since 1975.
California’s fish and game department started working on plans to restore the Paiute trout to their old range in the 1990s.
Then Ms. Erman, the bug researcher, found out. At a water conference in Las Vegas around 2000, someoneâ€”she doesn’t remember whoâ€”mentioned a plan to use the rotenone toxin in Silver King Creek. Ms. Erman says she knew there were few studies on whether that would kill rare insects. She talked to others who were skeptical of using poisons in the wilderness.
Ms. Erman came to believe that angling enthusiasts were driving the plan at the expense of other species.
Mr. Somer of the state fish and game department says a recreational Paiute fishery could be a “benefit” of a successful restoration, though he says the creek may never open to fishing. …
Ms. Erman joined forces with environmental lawyers, who in 2003 sued in federal court to stop the trout plan because of their concerns over using rotenone. The suit delayed the plan, but state officials got it back on track until Ms. Erman and her allies in 2004 successfully lobbied a water board near Silver King Creek to halt the plan. The state water board overturned the decision.
The following year Ms. Erman’s allies at Californians for Alternatives to Toxics filed new state and federal suits. They won a federal judgment forcing the state to modify the Paiute trout plan by doing more studies.
The trout plan was again on track in 2010, when the state and federal agencies completed final reports in preparation of poisoning the creek.
But a wet winter caused delays and the insect allies kept litigating. In September, U.S. District Judge Frank Damrell issued an injunction on the plan, in part because it “left native invertebrate species out of the balance.”
The plan, wrote the judge, was “failing to consider the potential extinction of native invertebrate species.”
Nancy Erman, a retired invertebrate researcher from the University of California-Davis, and Ann McCampbell, a Santa Fe, New Mexico physician who appears publicly representing the Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Task Force of New Mexico (a group comprised essentially of herself) are waging a campaign against the use of rotenone and antimycin, the piscicides that would be used to eliminate hybrid and competing trout species in order to allow the reintroduction to their native stretch of stream of one of the rarest and most beautiful trout species in the Western Hemisphere.
Erman and McCampbell, with inadvertent comedy, have actually successfully combined left-wing egalitarianism on the level of Natural Orders, essentially winning in court by accusing California of discrimination in favor of vertebrates (!) with their environmentalist fanatical opposition to chemical piscicides and their Puritan hostility to the field sport of angling.
All two million licensed California anglers and roughly 60,000,000 American anglers contribute money via license fees and excise taxes of equipment for fisheries management and have a legitimate interest in the perservation of the Paiute Cutthroat and the eventual creation over time of a highly restricted, catch-and-release fishery allowing Americans to interact with this rare and charismatic trout.
But our system of laws has become so sclerotic, so open to manipulation by cranks, extremists, and special interests that two malevolent old crackpots can impose their will against the desires and interests of millions upon millions.
Normal Americans, in this particular case, as in so many others, find themselves simply run right over by crazy people utilizing the enabling provisions of feel-good legislation, like the Endangered Species Act, which the majority allowed to be passed into law.
We need to modify and repeal that kind of enabling legislation and we need to pass laws applying some kind of scrutiny to the deceptive fund raising and the lobbying and litigating activities of radical fringe groups attempting to exercise extravagant kinds of power at the expense of ordinary people.
Anatole France remarked sardonically that “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges.” In Brooklyn, it forbids both evidently also to harvest fish or game in Brooklyn’s 585-acre Prospect Park.
A year ago, federal agents gassed 400 Canada geese resident in the park, which were considered to represent a hazard to planes using nearby La Guardia Airport. They had their reasons. In January of 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 ran into a flock of geese and would up crash landing in the Hudson River.
But can New York turn a blind eye as former Lehman and Bear Stearns executives now also resident in the park reduce the nuisance population of grey squirrels, pigeons, and geese or take panfish from the lake? Perish, forbid.
The New York Post reports that what my friend from Yale, Mr. Brewer, describes as “an awesome locavore experiment in living off the land” was rudely interrupted by “spoilsport cops.”
Cops have busted a group of oddball poachers in Prospect Park â€” a band of vagrants that was trapping and eating ducks, squirrels and pigeons.
Parks officers wrote four tickets â€” two for killing wildlife and two for illegal fishing â€” totaling $2,100 in fines during a two-day period last week. …
â€œThis is a dodgy group,â€ said park-goer Peter Colon, who spotted one of the men catching a pigeon while his friend started a fire. â€œThey are the most threatening people in the park.â€
The disheveled â€” and possibly homeless â€” tribe in question uses â€œmakeshiftâ€ fishing poles and traps to catch the critters, then grills them over the fire, according to park watchdogs.
â€œOne woman uses a net to bag the ducks,â€ said wildlife advocate Johanna Clearfield.
The kind of person you or I would call a busybody or general nuisance always gets promoted in the conventional journalistic parlance of our time to some form of “advocate” or “activist.”
Lots of luck collecting those fines, New York City. I bet the hobos used the tickets to light their evening cook fires.
Matthew Ridley, in the Wall Street Journal’s Weekend Review, takes the occasion of the recent finding of an array of a very sophisticated chipped-stone fishing implements on Southern California’s Channel Islands to propose the idea that it was exploitation of maritime food-gathering opportunities that really constituted the evolutionary leap that made mankind human.
Last week archaeologists working on the Channel Islands of California announced that they had found delicate stone tools of remarkable antiquityâ€”possibly as old as 13,000 years. These are among the oldest artifacts ever discovered in North America. To judge by the types of tool and bone, there was a people living there who relied heavily on abalone, seals, cormorants, ducks and fish for food.
This discovery fits a pattern. From the stone age to ancient Greece to the Maya to modern Japan, the most technologically advanced and economically successful human beings have often been seafarers and fish-eatersâ€”and they still are, as the latest tsunami reminds us. Indeed, it may not be going too far to describe our species as a maritime ape.
Ridley might have put it slightly differently. He might have suggested that it was the discovery of fishing that made mankind human, and he could then have gone on to expand that theory by noting that the invention of the fishhook directly paralleled the invention of the arrowhead and proceeding to argue that it may have been the intellectual challenge resulting from our more northerly contact with the salmonids that deepened our intelligence, leading to the creation of artificial lures and fly fishing. The maritime ape ultimately evolved into the cultivated and civilized man and the dry fly purist.
Who should replace Dennis Blair as National Intelligence Director? No one, proposes John Noonan at the Weekly Standard:
Unnecessary bureaucracy has a venomous effect on the national security establishment, whether it’s infantry or intelligence. The director of national intelligence, which has ballooned to a 1500-man supporting office, was a top down solution to a bottom up problem.
Admiral Blair was a casualty of Intelligence Community turf wars. Closing the DNI office would reduce unnecessary conflicts and duplication of effort. It’s too logical a course of action to be given serious consideration most likely though.
Bruce Fleming says that standards at US service academies have been lowered for affirmative action and to allow academy teams to compete in the NCAA top divisions. He thinks standards should be restored or all the service academies closed down.
Robin Hanson observes a unidirectional dynamic at work in progressive statism.
[I]n any area where we let humans do things, every once in a while there will be a big screwup; that is the sort of creatures humans are. And if you wonâ€™t decrease regulation without a screwup but will increase it with a screwup, then you have a regulation ratchet: it only moves one way. So if you donâ€™t think a long period without a big disaster calls for weaker regulations, but you do think a particular big disaster calls for stronger regulation, well then you might as well just strengthen regulations lots more right now, even without a disaster. Because that is where your regulation ratchet is heading.
What if you canâ€™t imagine ever wanting to weaken a regulation, just because it was strong and youâ€™d gone a long time without a big disaster? Well then you apparently want the maximum possible regulation, which is probably to just basically outlaw that activity. And if that doesnâ€™t seem like the right level of regulation to you, well then maybe you should reconsider your ratchety regulation intuitions.
Ann Althouse chides the Washington Post: If you’re going to criticize the new social studies curriculum adopted by the Texas Board of Education, you’d better quote it or link it, not paraphrase it inaccurately.