Tuesday, June 28, 2011


The last time I put in an order with Ellie for bow ties she thoughtfully included this orange and blue number for my consideration.

And like the ill-mannered oaf I am I forgot all about it until last week.

So file it under "Better late than never."

Ellie's a versatile lady who is married to a guy named Andy. Andy started posting photos of bow ties his wife made, on the Ask Andy site. (Different Andys.)

Andy (who is married to Ellie) was promptly inundated with requests along the lines of "Gimme gimme" and "Me too." (A feature of my personal mythology is that I was the first.)

And now there's a nice little business venture with classy — and affordable — bow ties. Check it out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Zero Woman vs. The Stupidest Gang in World History

The gang's all here, with their learning disabilities

In "Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs" ZW is a cop who entraps an evil diplomat who likes to beat up girls until they're dead.

She does this so efficiently that, by golly, the diplomat gets dead. And for this outstanding bit of public service Zero Woman gets tossed in the coop.

Zero Woman gets this guy right in the diplomatic pouch

In the meantime, this guy who looks like a horse with Greg Brady hair gets out of prison and rejoins his moron friends. Together they form the absolute worst gang of all time.

They just happen to pile out of the weeds where the Japanese president's daughter is sitting in a Datsun sedan explaining to her boyfriend why he's got to go. The gang drags her out, rapes her, and brings her home for more fun.

Then they figure out who she is and demand a ransom. Or rather, their lesbian keeper figures it out.

The government decides the only way to handle this is to get Zero Woman out of jail and let her kill everyone.

The "Zero Woman" style — lots of blood, messily

For a "pink violence" flick this one's got just enough plot to make it semi-sensible, but not so much that it detracts from the extended torture scenes, or the magic self-repairing green dress Zero Woman wears.

We're talking about a dozen breasts, including a couple you'd probably rather skip. Strangling, garroting, shooting. Seven full gallons of blood, with special emphasis on the spurting. The regrettable state of Japanese male underpants ca. 1975. Entire gang afflicted with severe leaning disabilities. Everybody dies, pretty much. Short.

Three coils.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mystery Brook

I fished one of my favorite small streams in northwest Connecticut this evening. It runs through private property and the landowner asked me not to publicize it, so that's why I'm being cagey.

There are two stretches: one upstream from a bridge that stays close to the road and is relatively easy to get into, and a much longer section that runs through a steep gorge. It is perfectly possible to clamber 20-odd feet up some boulders and get a look at the next pool from eye level. And if you've never watched a fly floating at you from water level, and have a fish take it, well, it's different.

The water was warmer than I expected, and the brook trout a little sluggish, but I managed to land a few. They are spirited critters, and shake a hook much more decisively than their cousins in the big rivers.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Salty Salute

I haven't been to the ocean for swimming and lazing purposes in 30 years, so a week at Bethany Beach, Del. was an interesting change of pace.

There were herds of lifeguards doing drills. They'd charge around on the beach, running in that odd beach gait of short, high steps.

Then, at a signal, it was into the water, where they ceased being a herd and became a school.

The routine was quickly established: Up early and make the coffee, take a go cup to the beach and walk, smoking a meditative cigar. The town is the most regulated place I have ever seen, and smoking is at the top of the list of banned activities — except where the town fathers have placed those butt receptacle things at inconvenient places along the public beach. So discretion must be employed, but the only people out at 6 a.m. are surf-casters, the four percent body fat crowd getting a head start, and, well, visitors trying to enjoy a quiet smoke without killing anybody with their dangerous secondhand smoke that cunningly defeats the steady wind and miraculously goes into the lungs of everybody within 100 yards — with fatal results. Oh agony.

Then the morning fry. I tried to stay in the water, which was very pleasant. The rest of the time I sat under an umbrella, which helped some. I still got toasted.

To continue: The six-block walk to town. The search for the Washington Post and New York Times (for my elderly parents) and the New York Post for me (for Anthony Weiner jokes). The chintzy souvenir shops. The excellent bookstore. The French fries, with vinegar and salt, from Thrasher's. The afternoon fry. The stealthy slink through the residential neighborhoods, with cigar. The quiet dinner. The final beach walk. The bed.

The condo complex where we were was very comfortable and easy for my folks to navigate. although it had a sort of Stalinist tower block look to it, especially from a distance. On my own ticket I'd stay at an actual house — but on my own ticket I wouldn't have gone to begin with, unless there is a state campground somewhere nearby.

In six days I read nine detective stories and a big stack of New Yorkers I never got around to, walked a lot, and looked at girls. Not very exciting, but you'll have that.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Hanging Gardens of Red Rock

The Hanging Gardens Look at Red Rock

Returning to the Woodland Valley brook always means finding something different, but in recent years, between Mother Nature and various state agencies, Woodland has undergone massive makeovers.

The good news is that the Red Rock pool survived. The chute that runs into it is intact, and if we lost a little space on the road side, the retaining wall creates cool, deep cover for trout during the dog days of summer.

The bad news is it's easy and inviting to get down there from the road; I have already seen worm-drowners perched on the wall. They were hipsters, though, so maybe it was a one-shot deal. I know they were hipsters because a) the car had a vanity plate for an art gallery — also promoted by a sticker — and b) the male half of the sketch was wearing a stingy brim straw hat.

Re-exploring the brook in the spring is like arriving at your favorite golf course, only to find it completely remodeled. Except, of course, that streams get redone by floods and men with machines, which is right and proper and manly, and golf courses are playpens for the pampered. I hate golf. Lacrosse, too.

Anyway — the pool across from the Roxmor entrance was also given the retaining wall treatment, with good results; a stream shift from last year plus a tree down has created a very tricky and deep hole downstream from Nakamoto's; road improvements above Red Rock led to disimprovements in the stream above Red Rock, which used to have a series of deep pockets that are now mostly gone, along with the streamside cover.

The weekend of June 3-5 I fished the brook pretty hard. The stocked browns in the Roxmor and Red Rock pools would take pretty much anything Saturday morning. Sunday morning they were slightly more selective.

By the following weekend the fish that remained in the obvious pools were far more finicky, and the fish had spread out. I caught them in the pockets between Nakamoto and Roxmor, and again in the very last stretch of the stocked water — both shaded and squirrelly areas.

So all that's good. The bad news is that didymo (aka rock snot) was spotted in the lower part of Woodland Valley last summer, which means that guys are not paying attention and streamhopping in the same gear they use in the Esopus.

I know it's a pain and runs into money, but I have repaired and rehabbed waders and boots so I have clean gear for any body of water I'm likely to fish. I dry everything out thoroughly as well — in the sun.

If nothing else, keep a bottle of Tilex Mold and Mildew in the car and give your stuff a squirt before you go in.

Roxmor pool

Below Nakamoto's — upstream and down, where the deep hole under the tree is. Combination of tree, depth and fast current makes it hard to get a nymph in there.