Posts Tagged ‘Montana’

All the trout fishermen of America can not be fools, so perhaps this group collectively made peace with the devil.  No, I think a lot are just plain ignorant, please notice I did not say stupid.  Anders Halverson’s An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America And Overran The World will enlighten but not lighten your day.  But how could so many upright Americans, even some who vote Democratic, have been so misled into believing the stocked trout they fish for were made by nature?  The answer is they were misled by bureaucrats lost in their own faulty science and vote ravenous politicians.

Halverson is good at telling a story so he will take you from the somewhat innocent beginnings to the bureaucratic state run-for-money business that gives you your almost beautiful, bastardized rainbow trout.  Taste, please forget that.  This is all about selling fishing licences, hopefully to out-of-staters.  Here is your first glimpse of the world of fish management.  “Rainbow,” Halverson writes, “are native only to the watersheds of the Pacific Rim, from California to Kamchatka.”

So he goes into more detail.  “The crazy-quilt distribution of trout in the freshwaters of western North America resulted from tens of millions of years of fluctuating topography and shifting river systems that occurred at the same time as a series of invasions–first by the cutthroats, then by the redband rainbows, and finally by the coastal rainbows.”  For historical reference only, “imagine a band along the Pacific Rim, from Baja California and Mazatlan all the way around to the Kamchatka Peninsula.  It stretches inland along the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers in California, up the Klamath River in northwestern Montana and to Shoshone Falls on the Snake River in Idaho, and into the Athabasca River in Alberta.  That is the native range of rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss.”

Along the way to your favorite fishing spot that rainbow trout has gone through so many rough hands, cruel minds, sexual and nutritional abuse, not to mention unwise liaisons that what you eventually hold in your hand is, well just a slave of the trade.

Halverson tells a fast paced story that you know is true when you read it but is hard to believe when you look at the fresh thing that has just sprang into your hands.  Will I turn down any rainbow offered me, certainly not.  I know I can’t have what my Uncle Barney had when he went out to California at the end of the nineteenth century, but with a dry martini that fish is going to taste alright.

There are so many books I feel President Obama should read, and here is another one.  The issues are much larger than stocking rainbow trout, and this is an entertaining introduction to the illusive definition of endangered species, or rather what is a species.

Finally, I can not believe so many who spend time and heart, as well as money on waders and gear, do not also care a great deal about their partners, the whatever trout.  Charles Marlin

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d8338I am pleased to finish reading Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman, Tears In The Darkness: The Story Of The Bataan Death March And Its Aftermath with drawings by March Survivor Benjamin Steele on the 64th anniversary of V-J Day, August 14th.  Each new book may not add information that changes the story but each book does add nuance to a collective story that needs every voice and every remembrance and every historian on the subject.  The Bataan Death March must never be forgotten.

The authors follow the life of a scrappy kid from the Bull Mountains of eastern Montana, Ben Steele, through his career as a cowboy and into the Army Air Corps.  He had the misfortune to be assigned to Clark Field north of Manila and the Bataan Peninsula of the Philippine island of Luzon shortly before Pearle Harbor.  Following the defense and fall of Bataan he became chattel to the Imperial Army.  Read the book for the details of what he and his fellow chattel suffered until freed by American forces.  The book is enriched by following his life after the war so that we go with Ben Steele from Montana to Montana again.  The book is illustrated with several drawings Steele made of his war experience.  The Steele story and art and the research and writing of the authors make a powerful combination you surely will not forget.

Tears In The Darkness is a 2009 publication but I also want to recommend a book published in 2001 by Hampton Sides, Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story Of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission.  Reading one after the other may be too much to experience at one time so I suggest you purchase both and put one aside for next year.

291402384_tpHopefully our current time is blessed with a press and public that will not tolerate the hubrus and vainglory of a military commander who discharges his duties as poorly and flawed as did Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines.  His gross misreading of Japan’s intentions and preparations, his incompetent preparation of American defenses, his deceptive reports to Washington more concerned about himself than accurate intelligence, his dalliance in responding to Pearle Harbor, his fleeing his command with his glory in tact, and his never missing a single meal or clean and freshly pressed uniform, for all of these things he should have been summarily discharged.  As he was damaging in command, he would have been damaging on the home front, so something would have had to be done with him.


The President should have followed his removal by assigning him to a newly created secret post with no contact with fighting forces, sent to a remote base outside the US blanketed by military secrecy, with a staff not of his choosing under the direct command of another far removed from him, with demands for reports which when returned to him for revision have his name expunged.  He should have been a prisoner of disgrace until V-J Day.  Charles Marlin

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