Sunday, January 29, 2012

Just say NO

Novelty Lighters

I do not like them,
I do not like
novelty lighters in my hand

Would you like them
Here or there?

I would not like them
here or there.
I would not like them
I do not like
novelty lighters in my hand.
I do not like them,

Would you light them
in a box?
Would you light them
with a fox?

Not in a box.
Not with a fox.
Not in a house.
Not with a mouse.
I would not light them here or there.
I would not light them anywhere.
I would not light novelty lighters with my hand.
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

"Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss as gratuitously altered by MacLoosh


Here is the deal:  I love trout.  Trouty trout trout trout.  Generally, I like anything that looks like a trout, acts like a trout, or reminds me of a trout.  Trout make me happy.

Except this:

An impromptu trip to the local Ace Hardware gave me quite a jolt today.  I am vehemently against the sale of novelty lighters.  I think they are pointless, and dangerous.   And yet there they were, right in my home-town, just begging to be played with, Just begging to burn an unsuspecting kid.  Just waiting to help that kid's natural curiosity transform into an unnecessary fire.

My feelings run deep on this.  I work in fire prevention.  I've seen the damage that novelty lighters can cause.  What's more; I have VERY personal experience with a kid who became curious about matches and a lighter that LOOKED like matches and a lighter.  My own kid.  I can't imagine that he would be able to contain his curiosity with something like a trout shaped lighter.  

Love of trout notwithstanding, do your kids a favor:  Voice your opinion to the management of ANY local retailers who sell them.  Support legislation to ban them.  Teach your kids that even though they look like toys...they are not.

If anyone wants more information about these, or existing bans on novelty me.  I'll gladly share everything I have and know. 

Blogger's note:

Sorry for the serious rant...but in those places where my passion for fishing, and my passion for fire safety and prevention intersect, my natural reaction is too much to contain. 

Also, yes I am against them, and I bought this one.  And yes, it will be removed from my house as of tomorrow morning.  It will go to my office, and be shared with anyone and everyone who will listen to me talk about the dangers of these stupid things.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tire Tracks

Every once in a while, you wear something out so badly that you just have to get rid of it because it is either completely used up, so badly damaged that it can't be fixed, it is dangerous to use, or it simply stops working.

To that, I think a quote from the salesman who came into his office after giving my truck the once-over for trade in value is most appropriate: " certainly got your money's worth out of *that* one, didn't you?".  I was aware of the fact that he didn't really want to even deal with this vehicle as a trade in.  I just didn't really care.  My reply (with no small amount of pride in my demeanor):  "Damn straight.  I drove the shit out of that truck".

The message was clear, I was bringing him a vehicle that was most definitely on it's last leg--and I just didn't really give a crap that he obviously didn't want to be messing with it.  I was, without hesitation, proud that I had run this vehicle right up to the final edge of it's life.  More than that, I was proud that this vehicle has stood up to my abuse with a defiant streak of stubbornness.  It just wasn't going to die.  It just wasn't going to let me down.  Strength of character and intestinal fortitude just can't be faked.  This truck had both.

I am grateful for it's dedicated service.  But it was time to move on.  (Somehow, I think if this truck were a human, it would be a really old guy who says, with complete honesty: "I'm tired, and I just can't do it any more.  It's time to move on")

I initially started typing a highlight list from the 12 years I had this truck, but I think that what it really meant to me can be summed up in a single, critical event in my life:  I trusted it to bring my first born child home from the hospital.

So I have a shiny new stranger sleeping in my garage tonight.  I believe that I have honored my old truck, buy purchasing a suitable replacement, but only time will really tell.

Them there are some big tire tracks to fill...


Sunday, January 22, 2012


When I was in college, my buddies and I did a lot of what we called "pre-gaming".  I'm old enough to have lost track of the current terminology for this, but here is the idea:  We would drink enough to get us headed in the direction we wanted to go for the evening...and then, when properly lubricated, we headed out to the bars.  This gave us the maximum potential for fun, and helped erase any of those pesky feelings of self confidence that we might normally have had.

Fast forward 20 years.  Wait...did I just say 20 years?!  OH.MY.GOD.   I've gotten old...

(Thankfully) I have passed that point in my life where I need to drink like that, so my version of pre-gaming has morphed into off season trips to the local water.  I start them sometime around Christmas, and spend time re-acquainting myself with the places that I fish the most.  By the time the season starts, I am properly primed.

Mmmm...fishy water.....
 Yesterday was one of the first trips.  20 degrees, bluebird skies, fresh layer of powder on the ground, and water that is gin clear.  The big benefit is that since I can't fish, stealth isn't an issue.  In fact, walking right up to the water, and letting my shadow fall spooks all the fish into the deepest hole.  And I watch.  There they are, all bunched up and easy to see.

Since I had the MacLooshkins with me, it was also a good chance to put my glasses on their faces and point out the current (and apparently healthy) population of fish.  Will they grow up to be stewards of the waters or accomplished fly fishers?  One can only hope, but I figure if I get them hooked while they are young, the odds will be better than average.

So it was a great outing.  Lots of fish spied, kids got some fresh air, and my appetite for the upcoming season has been stoked.

It was also motivational.  I went home, and tied up a shitload of nymphs.  Mostly pheasant tails, but a few other "one offs" just to see if they work.

Fish spooking, MacLooshkin style...
Til later...


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Name game


  [truh-dish-uhn]  Show IPA
the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs,information, etc., from generation to generation, especiallyby word of mouth or by practice: a story that has come downto us by popular tradition.
something that is handed down: the traditions of the Eskimos.
a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting: Therebellious students wanted to break with tradition.
a continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices.
a customary or characteristic method or manner: The winnertook a victory lap in the usual track tradition.

Ahhhh yes.  Traditions.  We've all got them.  Some are passed down from generation to generation, some are our own inventions for specific purposes or reasons.  And, some traditions happen by accident, or simply by the annual passing of seasons, dates, or just cycles of life.

Well, I have a tradition, although I have little control over when it hits each year.   "Sometime in mid to late winter",  the new year's Cabela's Fishing Catalog arrives.  The big one, not the fly fisherman's version...but the one geared to those "other" genres of fishing.

Immediately, I stop what I am doing and thumb through the pages.  I'm rarely looking for anything specific, just looking for something that catches my eye.  It sits on the table near "my" end of the couch for a week or so, then gets moved to the bathroom.  

The bathroom is probably the ONLY place in my home where nobody asks what I am doing, and they don't try to climb on my lap to see what I am looking at.  It is my sanctuary, and a lot of very serious thinking occurs there.

So several years ago, this tradition was already very well established before I even consciously knew it was happening.  Then suddenly, my mind cleared (as will happen in the bathroom), and I realized that every year I find myself looking for, and keeping a mental list of the funniest names for lures.  It's become something I look forward to.  A tradition.

Over the years, I've noticed that Fly tiers or fly fishermen seem to have taken themselves and their craft fairly seriously.  Fly names are usually related to the material used, or the actual bug they are attempting to imitate. 


Crankbaits, spinners and spin fishing lures don't seem to share the same need to be either anatomically, or socially correct.  Some of them are truly free form mold of jello-ish plastic that bear absolutely no resemblance to reality at all.  I find it refreshing, and frankly; I gotta give it up to the crankbait and soft bait manufacturers.  Sometimes they have a pretty funny sense of humor. 

And as this annual tradition begins to happen, I am immediately transformed into an immature teenager.  I snicker and giggle at names that were probably not meant to have the meaning that I have assigned them, but it makes me intensely happy to give completely inappropriate connotations to fish bait.

Here is my pro-tip; As you read the list, apply a slightly sensual, flirting, or downright "dirty" tone to the voice in your head.   If you are comfortable enough around your wife, friend, husband, or significant other...verbalize this voice.  To really sell it, throw in a little body English to make sure your victim feels completely uncomfortable with the message you've just sent them.  

This can real life applications too: "Oh, you need me to open that jar of salsa?  Sweetheart, I'll open your *salsa* any time you want".

But be careful, the cashier at the local drugstore might not appreciate your tone when you give a sultry growl and say "Your customer service makes me want to be a RETURN customer" (be sure to insert sexy emphasis on RETURN and top off with the body english).  If the cashier returns the gesture, either you are in trouble...or you've just been trumped.  Time to hone your skills cause you aren't doing it right. THAT frame of mind, I proudly present a tradition that I hold dear.  Something that usually takes a boring winter's doldrums away, for a short time anyway.

MacLoosh's Top Ten Lure Names 
from the Cabela's Catalog

    10.  Grave digger
               9.  Pork chop

               8.  Husky Jerk

               7.  Thunderstick

               6.  Devil's Horse

               5.  Furbit the frog

               4.  The Deuce

               3.  Skinny dipper

               2.  Sweet beaver

               ....and the Number one lure name for 2012 is:

               1.  The Deep Tail Dancer

Bloggers note:

I have every intention of addressing this issue with my own fly tying.  

I simply refuse to adhere to the stuffy standards of naming my flies after the material used.  My flies will have distinctive, descriptive and generally inappropriate names that give little, if any indication of what they were made of, what they are supposed to imitate or how they should be fished.

Here is my first entry:

The Polyp
(Please note the deliberate reference to my recent colonoscopy...)
Til next time...


Monday, January 16, 2012

Contents under pressure

I grew up when David Lee Roth had a hit single called "Crazy from the Heat".  A true fan of everything that Diamond Dave represented, I loved that tune.  But methinks that winter is when the truly crazy turn pro.

It's been a looooong week here at the MacLoosh mansion.  To recap, I'll start with today:  C-day.  Procedure day.  Appointment day.  Whatever.

I had my dreaded colonoscopy today.  Glad to have it behind me.  (Ha! get the pun??  BEHIND??  Ya ya...thanks, I'll be here all week.  Please tip your doctor well....)  Anyway, I'll spare you the details, and instead let your imagination run wild as you try to conjure up mental images of how much fun those procedures truly are.

To break up the tension, the always resourceful Mrs. MacLoosh proceeded to make fun of me at every opportunity.  She even made a video of herself badgering me in the pre-op room.  Sorry...not going to post the video, but the conversation went something like this:

Mrs. MacLoosh:  (Giggling) State your name and why you are here.
Me:  Turn it off.
Me: Turn it off.  NOW.
Me: Turn it off.  If this ends up on Facebook, you're dead.
MM:  Aw baby...why you so grumpy?  (Shit eating grin) now, STATE YOUR NAME AND WHY YOU ARE HERE.
Me:  You know my name, and I'm here to get my ass probed.  Now, turn it off.

No kids.  He isn't dead.  He just wishes he was.
And so it went until the nurse came in to whisk me away.  But not before I lightened up a bit and we got in one shot for the kids.

Aside from totally inappropriate hospital behavior, the week was stressful.  It seems that stress is good for my creative side.  A little angst in my mood, and my mind starts in with the ideas.

So, I did manage to get in some time in the lab too.  It was, quite literally, an act of survival on my part.  The winter is closing in fast, and I had this damn "procedure" hanging over my head, so I purposefully sequestered myself.  Part personal survival, part on behalf of my was just best to be alone as much as possible.

Turned out to be fairly productive time.  In a fit of creative (or nervous) energy, the idea of a "lazy Susan" tool caddy was spawned.   An emergency trip to the local Ace Hardware was made and the race was on to get the project done as I was drinking the "prep" for the procedure.  A gallon of a horrid mix called "Go-Lytely".

The irony of the name has not escaped me.  But take my word for it...when that stuff gets its claws into is game on.  Everything else comes to a screeching halt.  If you've been through this, you understand.

If you haven't, here is Rule #1:  Don't fart because there is a quart of shit coming right behind it.

So anyway, the tool caddy took its first form.  Just in time, too.  With 'Go-Lytely' on board, by the time you mutter "Uh-Oh" had better be on the move.  The caddy?  It is a little rough, but it works.  What can I say? I was under pressure.  I think there will be design revisions to come, and a probable paint job for the whole work station, but for now...I'm happy with it.  Especially considering the circumstances.

Tool caddy, version 1.0 
Til later...


Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm a dad...

...and I'm allowed to brag about the oldest MacLooshkin rockin' a couple of home brew poppers.  
(At this rate we'll have an entire army of these things by the time bass and panfish season opens up)

The boy in the lab
and his100% hand crafted popper goodness

Saturday, January 7, 2012

When in doubt, post pictures

Ahhh....a favorite pool on the home water  ( I stopped by for a visit the other day.  You know, just to say "hi" )
Writing a blog is funny.  Not hilarious funny.  Nope, it is a weird kind of funny.  

I started out the day with this great idea for a post in my mind.  Full of piss and vinegar and spiced with plenty of black coffee, it was going to be witty, educated, and possibly the most creative thing you have read since yesterday.  But then, the day had its way with me.  

Fast forward, and here I am at 9:40 at night, just had to fight to get my overtired kids to bed so I could have just a few minutes of silence before I collapse, and my great post from earlier in the day just isn't going to make it to the light of day.  I am officially spent.

With that, here are a couple of creations from some recent time in the lab (Please take special note of that one of a kind, Mississippi driftwood):

The Pink Squirrel-Bling Remix  (For those times when a *normal* pink squirrel just isn't quite enough)
For what amounts to no good reason at all...I thought a home brew popper or two were in order.  This one was inspired by  my 5 year old daughter.  No.  She's not colorblind.
She was actually quite clear on the colors I was allowed to use.

I don't actually know what this one is supposed to be called, but it was very effective for me last year when nothing else seemed to work.  So I tied some more.

Oh, and I did tie up a bunch of eggs, including a "hot glue" version that I picked up from the message boards at 365Fish, but for unknown reasons I forgot to take pix.  Sorry.

Til next time...fins up!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Drawn to water

The mighty Mississippi


Or as my dad would sing (in the most annoying voice EVER)..."Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink".  He is in his late 70's, but as much as I want to; I can't blame his weirdness on his age.  He has always been like that.

Anyway, I just returned from a weekend trip to the homeland.  Trips to where I grew up always bring back memories, and get me thinking.  This trip happened to take place over the annual celebration of putting one year on the books, and diving into the next.  New Year's Eve.  Another opportunity for someone like me to jump inside of my own head.

A visit to the riverfront with my kids and dad really seemed to send me into nostalgia land.  In  our own generations, both my dad and I grew up in the same Mississippi River town.

We are both drawn to the water.

He didn't say anything to me about it.  I just know.  I understood the look of peace that washed over him while we were there.  It was the physical manifestation of what I was feeling inside.  We were at home.

MacLoosh approved gull scattering

My kids were thrilled to be there too.

Their way of showing it was to pester the seagulls and ducks.

All smiles and excess energy, they were only too happy to let the gulls settle down, then say to me (with no small amount of mischief in their eyes) "Dad, watch this!" and they took off running to spook the gulls into flight.

The reason that I had brought everyone on this little outing was to round up some driftwood.  (Later posts and photos will reveal the reason for the driftwood). We were all on a purposeful search.     

We did well.  Mission accomplished.  Everyone found some excellent pieces and the kids came away with clam shells and whitewashed fish bones that they are certain came from some giant prehistoric fish that has never been seen by human eyes, but washed up on the beach just for them to find.

The driftwood was something that I suppose I could have gone to Petsmart or any other aquarium supply store to get, and I am pretty sure  my wife still isn't sure why I needed it, but the simple truth is that I DID need it, and to get it from the homeland was the only way I would accept it.

It wasn't until the drive home today (aided by an MP3 player to help drown out everything except my own thoughts) that something fairly big, and possibly totally obvious, occurred to me.

Among the reasons I fish so hard, and spend so much time on the stream is because I need it.  I need the water around me to help me get centered.  It is the water that does it.

The fish? Well, they are just kind of the icing on the cake.