Life at the Lake

a diary of living at a small lowland lake


Early moonrise over Lake Ketchum

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and s-integrator


In my finger, no less


It was a fly hook very much like this one, but I had attempted to debarb it, apparently unsuccessfully, for I drove it into the end of my first finger, with a sharp stab. Of course I went to pull it out, knowing all the while the barb stubb had caught, which it had.

So I cut it off my leader and gathered up a few random implements I hoped would be surgically useful, and shouted for my wife to come, give me a hand. And then it dawned on me a simple trick I had read about, over and over again, all my life:

You take some surgical sutures and loop them around the bend of the hook; then you push down on the eye of the hook and lift up sharply and undeniably. The hook pops right out.


Among my tools were some small needle-nosed piers. Just in case.
My wife approached and the phone rang. She got it. I dashed to the basement, holding my wounded paw in the air.

Where would I find sutures, or their equivalent? I thought of flyreel backing. But most of my flyreels were full of casting lines. I found one quickly, however, cut off some of the 30-lb dacron backing, and hurried upstairs. My wife was just getting off the phone.

I explained the untried, famous suture technique to her. She listened to me with her sweet little upturned face. She nodded comprehension. I handed her the makeshift sutures. She picked up the needlenosed pliers.

I looked at her incredulously.

"What are the pliers for?" I asked nicely.

"To remove the hook," she replied.

"No, no," I argued. "We are going to use the suture technique." Thought of the pliers made me weak in the knees.

I again (very patiently, I thought) explained the suture technique. She looked doubtful. I explained it for the third time.

"You sure it will work?" she asked.

"Put down the pliers," I suggested.

She did, and we executed the famous untried plan. It was I who pushed down on the eye of the upturned hook, she who held the strings.

Twice I repositioned the two sutures until they were pointing straight up in the air, and not backward.

"Ready?" I asked. I pressed down. "Now, jerk."

She did and the hook came out cleanly, with no pain at all. Without effort. I squeezed the tiny hole until a drop of blood appeared. I did it again. A clean wound.

All done, and how simple it was. Why had I ever worried?

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Donald Rumsfeld says it happened on his watch, but he is not to blame. He knew, but he didn't know; he didn't authorize the shameful interrogation tactics (read: torture) used on Iraqi detainees, a large percent of which were blameless for their capture and are now being released without ceremony or apology.

Rumsfeld the Explainer

Okay; we've ploughed this ground before. If it was Rumsfeld's "watch" the atrocities happened on, the buck doesn't stop there. Rumsfeld is a personal aide of President Bush. He is in effect his staff man. That is his chief job and responsibility: reporting back to the President on what the President wants, or doesn't want, to hear.

So if Rummy "knew," Bush did, too. He gave the overall authorization and approval. Just listen to and watch the Presidential addresses to the Nation about the Forces of Evil, etc.

Getting rid of Rummy solves no problem of reelection doubt or moral responsibility for the heinous acts committed in Iraqi prisons, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo. If they go so far up as the Secretary of Defense, they go all the way to the top: the Commander and Chief. (He ain't called that for nothing.) If he didn't know, he should have.

Maybe he just didn't want to hear it.

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