Fishin’ Blues

There’s part of me that wishes I could live on long enough just to see what historians eventually make of this bizarre political era, especially the part where the orange-colored president comes in. How will they treat such an aberration? Will they think “he couldn’t have been as much of a nutcase as it now seems, he would never have been elected if that were true.”

And yet he was elected. (Twice, if we were to believe what he says). Voters who were suckered in the first time around lined up to be fleeced once again in 2020. They are still buying the hats, the t-shirts, and everything that comes out of his mouth. It has been illuminating, to say the least. So much ignorance, so little time.

This past week the cluck-news, of course, has been his arraignment on campaign finance charges.

I admit that I lost a little bit of interest in the legal proceedings when I learned that life without parole was not one of the possible sentencing choices. But that’s just me. I tend to be a little vindictive.



This is a scan from my 2023 Colorado senior fishing license. You can see that it is a great bargain overall, but I wanted to point out that $0.25 Search and Rescue charge.

That fee creates a fund to pay people to try to find my sorry behind should I get lost out there in the mountains.

I was feeling hurt and definitely put upon until I found out that everybody’s license had that charge on it, not just mine. All in all, I guess adding two bits a year for this insurance isn’t such a bad idea at all. Really, what can you get for a quarter these days, anyway?


Robin has been off to Durango for a few days to look after Claire while the rest of that family were investigating more colleges for Aiden. So it’s been just myself and the felines to look after Basecamp for a few days. Thursday night there was another episode involving Willow and a live mouse in the dining area, prompting the following conversation:

Jon: Willow, there’s going to have to be a stop to your bringing every rodent you catch into the house. It’s unnerving.

Willow: Is this not my dwelling as well as yours?

Jon: Well, yes.

Willow: And did I have any say at all as to whether I wished to be brought into this household in the first place?

Jon: No, you did not, actually.

Willow: Well, then, there you have it in a nutshell.

Jon: Have what?

Willow: That we must agree to disagree on the propriety of the transportation of living wild creatures into the house.

Jon: Wait just a moment there …

Willow: I would suggest that you simply learn better to accept the things you cannot change

Jon: I’ve heard that somewhere before …

Willow: … because I am fairly certain that you have neither the courage to change the things you can …

Jon: You’ve been reading in my books again

Willow: … nor the wisdom to tell the difference

(There are days when I am sorry I taught the cats to speak English.)



So what does a guy like John Mellencamp do when he is getting on in years, has already put out numpty-nine albums, and can easily afford to make use of all the technology of the modern era whenever he chooses to make a record? Well, he gets a group of musicians together and takes a road trip.

No Better Than This was recorded over the course of a few break days afforded Mellencamp when he was on a tour of minor league ball parks last year, sharing the bill with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. The album was recorded on vintage equipment – a 55 year-old Ampex tape recorder with just one microphone — in Savannah at the First African Baptist Church, in Memphis at Sun Studios and in San Antonio in room 414 of the Gunter Hotel. 

Mellencamp’s personal website

The Savannah church is the oldest black church in the U.S., Sun Studios is just plain legendary, and Room 414 is where Robert Johnson recorded his stuff. The players got in a circle and put that old Ampex recorder in the middle. It must have been a total hoot for them.

You will recognize the sound as definitely un-modern. It is also mono rather than stereo. I picked out two cuts for your listening pleasure.

Save Some Time To Dream
No Better Than This


Friday was a beautiful day here in Paradise. So I climbed aboard my trusty bicycle, threw some gear in its trailer, and pedaled down to the Uncompahgre River to lay waste to the fish population. I pretty much avoid routes where I must compete with cars and trucks, and if one is a canny planner, it’s not too hard to do.

There’s a lot of water in the river these days, with the snowmelt kicking in. Not exactly the best time of the year to use a Tenkara rod, but that’s what I brought along. For those of you who might not ever have heard of Tenkara, think – a fly rod with no reel, where the line is tied to the tip of the rod and you can only cast, basically, slightly more than the rod’s length. A modern version of the old-time bamboo pole, you might say, and you’d be right. But it’s much more flexible, making casting easier, and it telescopes, which makes transport a simple thing.

Across the river from me I watched a lone deer casually munching on the new growth in a small open area. Later I saw one of the biggest great blue herons I had ever seen, wading in the shallows. They are ordinarily wary birds and this one took off when I reached the outer limit of its very wide comfort zone. You don’t get to be that big without having some smarts, and one of those smarts is not trusting humans.

As I flailed at the water, a large group of high-school kids on some sort of field trip trooped past with their leaders. They of course didn’t see me because I am old enough to be invisible to them. I didn’t hail the group, fearing that a disembodied voice coming out of nowhere might ruin their collective day.

Fish, you ask? None, I say. But how could I feel cheated when all those other elements were present? Plus when I got home there were no fish-cleaning chores. It’s all good.

Fishin’ Blues, by Taj Mahal


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