Friday, January 12, 2018

Casting for "normal"

It doesn't rate up there with snow in the Sahara, but having a pair of Cardinals visit out feeder at mid-morning is really unusual. It happened today. We're used to visits at dusk most often, sometimes at dawn, most often by the male alone. Today, the unusual visit was enhanced by the fact that the pair hung around long enough for us to get a photo.

is a pair of cardinals at the feeder at mid-morning normal?
is a pair of cardinals at the feeder at mid-morning normal?
Photo by J. Harrington

That's not the only deviation from standards that we've run into this week. On a personal level, we've been researching ways to sort out which of our fly lines and reels go on which fly rods. There's supposed to be a matching between say a 5-weight line and a 5-weight rod. We've developed a habit of going 1 weight more than the rod is rated for so it will cast better at shorter distances. Of course, we never bothered to take proper notes of which weight line was green or chartreuse, or salmon etc. and so, when we ended up with one or two lines and reels more than the minimum required, we created a minor form of chaos.

check specifications?, or performance?
check specifications?, or performance?
Photo by J. Harrington

Such a situation normally (there's that word again) wouldn't have been a big issue but then we started researching how to properly weigh a fly line (the first 30 feet) so we could put line-weight markings on each line and not have to go through this more than once. That's when we kept running into references mentioning that fly line manufacturers at some point started to create lines that are one-half line weight more than the specifications call for. So a five-weight line now weighs what a five-and-one-half weight line would weigh, if there were such a thing as a 5.5 weight line. That's probably due to too many folks like us going 1 line-weight heavier and so the manufacturers decided to make their lines "cast better" by making them a little heavier than the specifications call for. That's not as horrendous as a certain German car manufacturer's cheating on diesel emissions, but it doesn't make it any easier to sort things like fly lines based on their nominal weight specifications.

So, we're probably going to do the weighing and matching routine, just because. But, we're also going to follow an approach laid out in our new sourdough bread book. That author advises, contrary to the way we've been doing things, "don't watch the clock, watch the dough!" Deal with reality and adapt instead of expecting things to follow the patterns they've been following for years? We can't mechanically follow a routine without thinking and be certain of the results? What has the world come to? We'll try several lines on each rod, taking notes of our observations, and see which combination seems to cast better. We might have to get used to testing reality we're afraid. For quite some time the "new normal" may well be "no normal." Just take a look at our nation's capital.

The Unknown Citizen

W. H. Auden, 1907 - 1973

(To JS/07 M 378
This Marble Monument
Is Erected by the State)

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn’t a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content 
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace:  when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

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Please be kind to each other while you can.