The One That Got Away

Sunset along the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Friday burst down that slow moving tidal water as reds, purples, blues and a single rainbow bouncing off the clouds offered consolation; the only thing biting for me were mosquitos. My wife was having a record night pulling in one white perch after another.

In the Army they call it Early Evening Nautical Twilight (EENT) and it’s that time of evening just after the sunsets and your really can’t discern things to well; it’s neither dark nor light.

I stood there on the rocky bank of the canal just after the vibrant night show when a giant cargo ship riding high in the water slowly passed by. The running lights of the ship were bright enough to make me think it wasn’t as dark as it really was.

The huge wake left by the ship slammed the water against the rocks and the tip of my Shakespeare Ugly Stick bent and jigged. I thought it was just the water.

Then the rod bent almost in half and my spinning reel screamed; I set my drag to let the fish run.

I grabbed the rod from a crevice in the gray rocky bank. I set the hook and began reeling it in.  I pumped the handle as fast as I could so I could get ahead of the drag. At one point I thought I had gotten my 10-pound test line snagged on the bottom, but the fish had dived to the bottom and seemed to sit there. I gave my line a long slow hard pull and the fight started again.

I reeled; it ran. The fish and I went back and forth, I’d get him close and he’d pull away. My arms began to ache and the rod was bent so hard I was sure it would break. My wife had to pull her rod out of the way as the fish went/ right then left.

There was very little light, but after what seem like a quite a while I could just make out the enormous face of a hardhead catfish who tail fins were swooshing in the water making a tiny whirlpool.

Then I did something stupid.

I cranked my drag down, got greedy, and gave it one final heave and all resistance was over. The rod tip sprung straight up and all I could see is my empty line flutter in the wind as the lights coming from the Summit Bridge put a heartbreaking exclamation mark on my error.

The fish of a lifetime got away.

Summer Of Beer the (IPA)

Bill’s Summer of Beer III

Let’s talk India Pale Ale (IPA). I am new the whole IPA thing, but Bill’s Sumer of Beer had to have an IPA chat.

The big winner in my IPA research is Goose Island this delightful Ale is moderately priced and tastes great. I thought its flavor was complex and quenching. It was quite a surprise.

A close second was Laguntas IPA It was a tad more bitter than Goose Island, but still extremely flavorful and still reasonably priced.

My least favorite IPA was Brew Free or Die IPA. which was incredibly bitter and very expensive.


Summer of Beer II

Okay, okay, okay there were a bunch or responses to my blog about lager beer and many IPA fans beet me about the head and shoulders, but I sweat I’ll get to IPA’s tomorrow. Toight I want to talk about Shandy’s – summer shandys to be specific.

Shandy’s are beer with a twist—usually a citrus twist. I have noticed many of these are wheat beers. You know, the thicker kind of beer brewed with a much higher percentage of wheat. I’ll talk about wheat beer later.

Shock Top is a Belgian Wheat beer which comes in lemon and citrus peel. It’s clean refreshing and moderately priced. It is also available on tap in many places. I thought it was best of the summer shandys I ran into.

Fat Tire Citradelic is an entry from the folks who bring us Fat Tire Amber Ale. It is a nudge more expensive than Shock Top, but just not quite as great. Good mind you, but not great.

Leinenkugel’s summer shandy did not seem nearly as good as its reputation. It was way to thick and not nearly as refreshing as a lemonade infused wheat beer would have. I really don’t remember the price, but somehow $10 a six feels about right.

I thought the worst beer of the summer was a watermelon and cucumber thing called Seed Free and Joy  I got from Delaware Brewer 16 Mile. This brewer sells many wonderful brews \, this wasn’t (to me) one of them.

Bill’s Beery Good Reviews

As Bill’s summer of beer comes to an end some early results are worth reporting. Okay here we go.

The initial results show the big winner are lager beers. I find them super yummy.

If you live near Pennsylvania, you’ve hear of Yuengling Beer, It is America’s oldest brewer and its lager has a bit more flavor than most American domestics. It’s reasonably priced and provides a superb value

Another great lager was Negra Modelo, This beer, a tad more expensive than Yuengling, has a great taste and is especially good in a chilled glass.

A surprise – at least to me – was Sierra Nevada Summerfest Crisp Lager. It was flavorful and a bit more bitter than the others.

The biggest disappointment – at least to me – Victory Brewing’s lager. I’m sure this is a fan favorite for some, but the taste was just a bit too delicate.


Tomorrow we will talk ales

Decision Time — Sort Of

Well here I am. After close to six months we are finally at a point of almost decision. Today the Delaware Workforce Development Board will have its executive committee meeting and during that meeting, go into executive session to discuss filling the Executive Director position.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have a vested interest as I have been holding the position in an acting status since January since the previous executive director unexpectedly left and took a job at a workforce training outfit – good for her. And while I am appreciative of the opportunity, all good things must end.

This morning the executive committee will decide to either advertise my position in lieu of appointing me (as has been done for every executive director nominee) or send my nomination to the full board for a vote. So I guess we’ll see.

I was angry at first with all the hubbub because I am quite sure I am wonderful and suspected (maybe I still do) a ringer hanging in the wings. Oh well, we’ll see. Also this process was not the one described, I wish Doris Day was here to sing to me.

I think I’ve made peace with it all though., I’ve done all I can. I have been guiding the organization through troubled waters even though we are short-handed, dealt with a lot of high profile challenges, and provided good quality advice. I’ve also kicked some turds in the sunlight, that may or may not be a good thing, but when in charge, be in charge.

So I guess we’ll in the next few hours.

I’ll report back afterward.

Dropping the Tree

I meant to blog yesterday but never got to it. Not a very good excuse – Oops.

Last Saturday was hot, and humid.

I pulled out my chainsaw, sharpened the blade, and sized up the tree I was going to drop it middle of my back yard.

“Honey,” I said pointing to a spot on the ground. “I’m going to drop that tree right here.”

The tree, about as big as a Sequoia (okay 25 feet anyway), was big, round, and too close to the house.

I tied a brick to one end of my rope and threw it into the tree, hoping to get it high enough around a limb and jiggle the line back to the trunk. I was lucky. I lowered the brick to the ground and tied a couple of slippery half-hitches in the line and hoisted it up like I would a flag.

I took the line, anchored it to the stockade fence and with series of pulleys and loops made a guideline that would put tension on the tree as I cut the trunk to help me drop it in the right spot,

My chainsaw was a little dull, but I thought I’d be okay.

I notched the front of the tree and began my cut on the back side. It took forever; the angels were watching.

As slogged on with my dull saw, I realized the tree was starting to list the wrong way and I was about to destroy my fence and drop that bad boy in my neighbor’s yard.

I ran to the guideline and tighten my rope using mighty moose muscle.

I ran back to the chain saw and started cutting again. MY cut soon closed on my saw blade telling me two things. The tree was ready to go the wrong way and it was hanging by a thread.

I ran back to my guideline, untied it, began pulling. I could see the leaves tilting toward the fence. My wife got behind me, wrapped her arms around my waist and she pulled me while I pulled the tree. The leaves swayed toward us and then back toward the fence. Back and forth, back and forth. It was going to fall somewhere any second.

“One more pull,” I shouted.

We gave it all we had. Three tree came our way, stopped for a second and then we heard a hug crack as it fell in the yard.

We were exhausted and dropped to the ground.

I looked at her and said, “You want a tree down, and we’ll drop that baby.”

“I didn’t want the tree down,” she said. “You did.”

“What?” I thought you did.”

“No,” she said. “This was your idea.”

I scratched my head and looked at all those branches to trim from the tree lying in most of my backyard.,

My Truck’s Broke, Ali is Sick, UFOs are Real

Ever notice that when you get a tad ahead, something pops up to take your money again. It’s as ungood as it is predictable. Take my little red Toyota Tacoma pickup truck as an example. I paid it off last year and now I need a new starter and some other things I am told will ensure the world doesn’t end if I get it done. $817 clams!

I know it’s a good truck because ISIS uses them in combat operations. But c’mon it’s only six years old and needs a starter. I guess I should feel happy it’s only a starter, but a new starter is two truck payments. I wonder if I should just suck it up and get a new one – truck I mean, not starter. I have to get a new starter.

I just read that Muhamad Ali was sent to the hospital for respiratory problems. Man … Ali. Huh?

Can you believe it? You know how old I am? I was there when he was Cassius Marcellus Clay and the ruckus that ensued when he changed his name and refused to be drafted. As you know he was eventually cleared, but it was a real hubbub when it all first happened.

I remember the thriller in Manilla and we all gathered around the radio on Villa Ave. waiting for the round-by-round recap. I was there, Fred was there, Kimmy DiPetro, Terry O’Reilly and some other kids in the always dirty kitchen. There was no live broadcast and as each round ended an announcer would tell us all about it. WE were excited and cheered every word. Weird man.

One other night we had a big confab about UFOs at the same kitchen table. Somebody got a trashy paperback about UFO’s and we all wanted to believe so desperately, we negotiated facts to fit into the book’s assertions.

Oh yeah, my truck. I’ll pay the ransom tomorrow. I really don’t want a truck payment.