Cat got your lung?

Looking down toward town from the top of Comanche.

Bad air. Bad, bad, air! Now go pool down there along the Rio and think about what you’ve done.

The smoke makes it to the Sandias.

Actually, by 8:30, this bad, bad air had found its way up to El Rancho Pendejo, after traveling all the way from just outside Globe, Ariz., where about 121,000 acres of nicely cured fuels are burning with a vengeance.

InciWeb counts a dozen fires in Arizona at the moment, and a half-dozen here in New Mexico. The air is liable to remain a tad crunchy for the foreseeable future, according to the people who know about such things, and the vigorous outdoor exercise may be contraindicated for the nonce.

We got it all, man. Your coarse particulates, your fine particulates, your chenopodiaceae.

Breathing this mess feels like waking up after a three-day drunk surrounded by empties and full ashtrays, under a table holding a dusty mirror, a razor blade, and a rolled-up dollar bill. Someone has painted your toenails an appalling shade of pink, and you may be wearing this someone’s underwear as a party hat. Your face, of course, is in the catbox.

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27 Responses to “Cat got your lung?”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    You can sure paint a picture with words, and that last paragraph is all the proof I need.

    The Western US is one spark away from being on fire, and Tucson Water had to shut another drinking water well down due to PFAS contamination in the aquifer. Nothing like a slow motion train wreck.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    The air was not too bad in Santa Fe this morning. By the time I got up to Los Alamos, you could chew on it.

  3. Opus the Poet Says:

    This post makes me glad I live in TX where we only need to use a coarse strainer to catch the junebugs and cicadas.

  4. DownhillBill Says:

    Last time we had that sort of action around here was when the Dismal Swamp caught on fire.

  5. Herb from Michigan Says:

    And here comes old Herb crying because he got poured on twice by rain deluge which have been popping up for four straight days here in the Mitten State. Thought I had a window last evening to do a little fishing and ended up wetter than the damn bass. And today I learned that my barn downspouts were all three clogged and there I was desperately trying to make ad hoc trenches to keep the barn floor dry. Yeah we got water here for now and ain’t nothin burning but electric meters from running the AC all day.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      Five foot, stiff bait casting rod with good bait casting reel. Low stretch 18 to 20 pound test line on that reel. Use a 12 plastic worm rigged South Carolina style with plastic bead knot protector and slip sinker. Fish with very little slack in the line, and when that bass inhales the worm you can feel it. Then, hook ‘em, hard! Thirty five year old experience that probably isn’t worth shit now.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hal tried to get me interested in fly fishing when we were residents of Crusty County but it didn’t take. No skills. I would’ve been better off trying to cap the finny fuckers with the Ruger 10-22.

      • SAO' Says:

        Can’t remember the comic, it was either in Westword (denver) or Creative Loafing (Atlanta). Dude says, wanna go fishing with me? I found this dynamite fishing hole. Buddy says, cool, what are we fishing with? Dude says, I told you, dynamite.

    • B Lester Says:

      We favor panfishin’ ‘round these parts. Ultralight tackle, 5 pound (or less) test. Gotta fool the buggers with presentation, and play ‘em to get ‘em in or they break the line.
      Fly fishing is not for the casual line wetter. Takes as much skill as commitment and I’d rather relax than stress the details. Slacker….

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I never learned the basics as a kid. The old man neither fished nor hunted, which seems weird when you consider that he was born in Bogalusa, La., back in 1918, and raised up around the Perry-Foley area in Florida. I mean, we ain’t talkin’ your dazzling urbanite here, is what. But it just wasn’t his jam.

        So I fish down to the local Sprouts, trap the wily buggers with my trusty Visa card.

      • Herb from Michigan Says:

        I WAS a fly fisherman once upon a time. But I found it wasn’t the hot ticket here in the Midwest. I use some pretty old but trusty Shimano spinning reels in various sizes but almost always default to the small one on a fly rod blank. With fly fishing the constant casting with tending and mending lines drove me crazy.

        • khal spencer Says:

          I had a brace of really nice Abu Garcia spinning rigs and all the lures and other stuff. Used that stuff a lot on the rivers in NYS and the Great Lakes. Had not used it in over 25 years and finally gave it all away to a friend who was getting his kids into fishing.

        • Shawn Says:

          I’ve done a good bit of bait fishing. I’ve caught some salmon, lot’s of Tom Cod (Valdez dock as a kid), some Halibut on a high dollar charter and a King Crab in Juneau AK. But I’ve never fly fished.

          I can appreciate the motion of fly fishing though and I could see myself doing so in a quiet mountain river with no hook. Just trying to drop that fly over in a certain place. Although I like fish, I think there’s enough fisherman out there that I can not catch and not worry about releasin’. Besides, you save money on a fishing license. Yep, after a fine morning of casting here and there I’d wade up out of the river and open a can of tuna and make myself a sandwich.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I’ve heard you get solid results from dynamite fishing, but I expect it makes the other anglers nervous.


        • DownhillBill Says:

          Around here, we refer to that as the DuPont fly (they produce the dynamite). I converted a guy from that to fly fishing and he became quite the dry fly purist. Sold his Mac-11 to buy an antique cane rod, even.

          Used to tell my students the advantage of fly fishing is that there’s more to do when you’re not catching fish. Everyone I’ve ever fished with puts their waders on one leg at a time, and has times when they’re not catching fish. Real life ain’t like a TV fishing show. Unfortunately, I think. Sometimes.

          The basics of fly fishing are simple. In person, I could teach you the basics of fly casting in about two minutes. A bit more difficult at this distance, but probably not impossible. And don’t believe the ads, nobody actually needs a freakin’ $400 rod to catch fish.

          BTW, Virginia still has about a month of gun season for carp and suckers on a couple of rivers in the southwest. It’s done with two-man teams, one guy climbs out on an overhanging limb ( or up a step-latter if necessary) with a rifle. The other guy wades in downstream with a basket to scoop up the concussed fish. I understand that the tackle of choice is a Weatherby Magnum, or some similar elephant gun. I’m pretty sure this is exclusively a guy thing.

      • B Lester Says:

        I come from a long line of walleye killers, but never really caught the bug. Probably because Saturdays in the boat with Dad were a chore. Start at dawn, go until midafternoon, and don’t make any noise, you’ll scare the fish. Dad is a subsistence fisherman. No beer and snoozing here. A thermos of coffee, a meatloaf sandwich- we’re here to catch a goddamn meal.

        Nowadays I get in his boat because his fishing buddy is gone. Dad and his crew all met on the playground as tykes, and maintained the friendships lifelong. I think there’s three of a dozen of them left, and they still get together. They spent their lives in their hometown- never moved away like we do now.

        “Uncle” Tom was Dad’s best friend and fishing buddy. We lost Tom a few years ago. They knew each other for 75 years. At the funeral, Dad got as many condolences as Tom’s wife. Of course, that’s because Dad knew Tom much longer than Tom knew his wife.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          I always enjoy hearing stories like that. So different from the way I grew up, moving every few years.

          My oldest friends I met in college or at my second newspaper. And they’re scattered all around. Mostly California; a few in Colorado; one in Iowa. Haven’t seen most of them in person for years. Mostly we “chat” via email and text.

          Herself has friends going all the way back to first grade. Boggles my mind, it does. I remember the names of one kid from Canada and another from Randolph AFB, but I have no idea where they are or what they’ve become. They will not mourn me when I’m gone.

          “Who died? Hmm. Skinny kid with a big head? Kinda weird, wasn’t he?”

        • B Lester Says:

          Every Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day was spent in a county park picnic area with Dad’s buddies, their wives and families. Holiday get togethers and random basement parties too. Those guys all played basketball and baseball together until they one-by-one got too old or dinged up.

          Now, if I was asked to tell you where any of that extended family is today, I’d have to fabricate an answer. Different world, that was.

        • Pat O’Brien Says:

          I moved away from the “home” town in 1974, after the Army stint was done, and never looked back. Don’t miss it a bit.

          Fly fishing for bluegill is fun and easy. An older gent in Georgia showed me how. Buy an inexpensive fly rod, simple reel, L7F fly line, and the the eyelets to attach a monofilament leader to the line. Get some bumble bee floating poppers. Set up the rod with no leader and go in the back yard. Hold the rod, put a book between your elbow and body and hold it there while you cast using your wrist and forearm. Practice until you can get 30 feet of line out and put the end where you want it without the book dropping. Tie on about 3 feet of leader, tie on a popper, and work it over cover or under docks. Bluegill for dinner is what. Works any time of day. Never failed on Clark Hill reservoir.

        • khal spencer Says:

          Sounds like my old man. Fishing was part fun, part business. Bring home food. Get up early, get out on the water, which was usually Lake Erie, and try to catch smallmouth bass in between all the sheephead (fresh water drum). We used to pull sheephead out of the water like they were on a conveyor belt and usually toss them back once we caught enough to sink the boat. They were OK eating as my mom could always figure out how to make food taste pretty good but it wasn’t bass.

          Then there were the days on the frozen lake ice fishing. I think my dad had a hankering for being back in Stalingrad during the winter of 42-43.

          One thing I really hated about Lake Erie was the waves. They would come in fast and furious and were often pretty big, at least for a little kid. Sometimes they scared the shit out of me.

          Last time I fished enthusiastically was with my high school buddies up on the Kipawa River in Canada. Plenty of food and beer and shooting the shit. Then I pretty much gave it up. One day I read an article about the way we were fishing out the oceans and then pretty much made fish an occasional specialty. Grilled Ahi in Honolulu was hard to resist but other than that, started dropping my line into the tofu bucket.

  6. DownhillBill Says:


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