fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

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what to do when someone whispers “gumball”

It’s likely that many of you have never seen “The Gumball Rally.” I have. I’m likely one of the few to see it on the silver screen (as a kid). This weekend, I’ll have my own little Gumball Rally.

I can’t say whether my opinion is biased because I saw “The Gumball Rally” before “The Cannonball Run” (1984) and its sequels. But to this day I think “The Gumball Rally” is the best car-centric movies about an illicit coast-to-coast race than any of the Cannonball films.

Sure, it didn’t have A-list stars (it did help move along the careers of Gary Busey as his nutty self and Raul Julia as Italian loverboy and Le Mans winner Franco Bertollini) and one has to get past the initial shock of its 1970s production quality. But it’s a better film.

Gumball Rally Poster“The Gumball Rally” starts in New York. “The Cannonball Run” starts in…Connecticut? Both end up in Los Angeles.

A comparison of all the cars in each film is a wash. However, the lead characters in “The Gumball Rally” (Michael Sarrazin as Michael Bannon and Nicholas Pryor as Professor Samuel Graves) drive an AC Cobra while the protagonists in “The Cannonball Run” (Burt Reynolds as J.J. McClure and Dom DeLuise as Victor Prinzi) drive a souped-up Dodge Tradesman ambulance. Hal Needham and Brock Yates’ actually drove a Tradesman in the actual 1979 race upon which both movies are based, but I’ll take the painfully quick and sexy Cobra any day. The stunt driving by 1960s Cobra racer John Morton lends realism to “The Gumball Rally” and, overall, the cars in “The Gumball Rally” are more beautiful.

If you want stunts, “Cannonball Run” wins. But the scenes of pure speed in “The Gumball Rally” don’t get in the way of funnymen being funny and vice versa.

I love the one liners peppered throughout “The Gumball Rally.” Erstwhile race organizer Michael Bannon: “Some of you won’t make it, but for those of you that do there will be no glory, no headlines. Just a few magic hours flat-out against the red line with no catalytic converter and no 55-mile-per-hour speed limit.” Then there is Raul Julia’s race car driver character’s commentary, with a somewhat corny but appropriate Italian accent, on the rear view mirror: “What’s behind me is not important.”

A final showdown in the L.A. River puts “The Gumball Rally” over the top. (The actors reportedly drove the cars throughout most of the movie, even in the river.)

This Monday I’ll be leaving Palm Desert with my wife, driving a Lincoln Town Car to the San Francisco Bay Area as a “hired driver.” I’ll be Jose from “The Gumball Rally,” the down-on-his-luck mechanic who hired on drive a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow without telling the owner would be racing cross country, to my wife’s Angie (Jose’s girlfriend).

It’ll be like my own personal Gumball Rally. Except for the high speeds, a paint-peeling sandstorm or trophy.

It’ll only be 500 miles instead of 2,800, but with the right attitude, any road trip can be fun.

( I dedicate this trip to all of my Gumball crew from Perris High School, Class of 1981. It was what I did with you that led to my so-far 27-year career.)



a not-so-rugged Bass Pro woman

Would a Rugged Eddie Bauer Man or his more “metro” cousin want a Bass Pro Woman?

On the water, particularly from a distance, there’s an unsexy equality brought about by waders that usually don’t fit well, a vest that bulges in all the wrong places and hats that should shelter a small family. Longer hair might be a giveaway, but I’ve met a fair share of more liberal men on the water, so don’t trust that as a sign of gender. It seems this is slowly changing, at least on the waders front.

Bass Pro Lingerie Email

The email.

But yes, in the inbox the other day, that was an email from Bass Pro Shops with a subject line reading, “Shop Our Valentine Lingerie.” Nothing like a pink camisole trimmed in Realtree® camo… (Please, let’s keep the jokes clean.)

The occasions that found me visiting the Manteca, Calif., Bass Pro Shops store, it has only been a because it’s a convenient stop on the drive to the Sierra foothills (and because there aren’t any good, easily accessed fly shops along the route). I only pass by the women’s clothing department on the way to pick up some tippet or leader, and I’ve never seen any lingerie on display, but it’s clear the retailer is taking aim at indoor recreation.

However, I don’t think lingerie will do a great job of wicking away moisture under breathable waders.

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from above the water it’s all conjecture

I remember my first attempts to fool the trout I hoped were there, with doubts that my own brain could conceive of what they were thinking.

That’s the problem with drowning some thread wrapped around a wire, only the result offers a clue that something’s being done right.

Above the waterline trout are thought of as efficient eating machines and for all the bluster about understanding why they do what they do, it’s all observation and anthropomorphic guess work without any true knowing.

I find myself leaning toward acceptance that more often than not I’m only fooling the quarry I hook during a momentary lapse of vigilance.

Recent studies, however, may offer a scientific glimpse into what’s so far only outwardly apparent.

Scientists have just observed a thought swimming through the brain of a live fish, and that thought concerned getting something good to eat.

— via Discovery News, Jan. 31, 2013 (from Current Biology)

Extension of this research could offer real insight.

Makes me wonder if I really want to know what that trout really thinks about my home-tied fly that it just refused.