DavidBeard_SEMy friend John and his wife Chieko left John’s son from his first marriage behind at Stone Farm. Stone Farm, Suffolk, is all I need to write as an address on the letters and postcards I send to him twice a year in the United Kingdom. The family home (occupied by John, Chieko, John Jr., and John’s mother) is older than the United States. When the bowing timbers used to frame the home were cut, the colonies were still colonies.

John spent a week in Duluth. He was to give lectures at the Alworth Institute about energy policy in the U.K. And of course, ostensibly, he was here to visit his friend, David. But John was a fisherman. You don’t cross the Atlantic to talk about U.K. dependence on natural gas to Minnesotans. You come to fish.

We visited Gooseberry, and John took romantic photos under the falls. We ate smoked fish and lobster — John ate at Red Lobster so many times because the exchange rate between the pound and the dollar was so favorable.

But the highlight was the guided fishing trip. We paid a professional to meet us at the mouth of the St. Louis River (because Lake Superior is lifeless, relative to the river, according to the guide). He would arrive at noon to take John up the river.

OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgeWe had time. So I took John to one of the fishing tackle shops, locally owned, hoping he might find a paradise of tackle and equipment and whatever-words-for-fishing-equipment-I-don’t-know unavailable in the U.K. After all, when I visit the U.K., I find collectibles unavailable in the United States.

I’d never seen a fifty-year-old man salivate. I’d never seen a grown man smile so wide. So many gadgets, doodads, and things. He was in heaven from the moment he saw the first of several aisles.

And then he reached for the peg.

“Barbarian,” he said, and lost his glow.

“What’s wrong,” I replied?

“Lead has been illegal in the U.K. in fishing tackle for a very long time.”



about 8 years ago

Not outlawing lead in tackle has to be among the more profoundly retarded things Americans have done alongside such classics as destabilizing the middle east/creating global jihad/ etc. There was even a Republican representative who introduced legislation recently to reverse the ban on lead shot in ammunition. You know, based on his god given right to shit-stain the planet for everyone.  

Nobody had a problem with Operation Lead Paint Chip Clean Up which required all contractors to pay for their own training to be certified to wrap lead paint chips in heavy gauge plastic to be buried in the earth that it too may off-gas poison over centuries. For one, if your child is eating lead paint chips to any harmful degree,  he or she probably has other problems. I could see sucking on an electrical chord or two, where just about every one of those still contains lead (see warning label.)  But allowing lead tackle to be spread around lakes and rivers at the rate of hundreds of thousands of tons a year? Well, there just aren't words to describe that brand of stupid.

David Beard

about 8 years ago

Oh, Herzog, I missed bantering with you.


about 8 years ago

I know, but granny's tired now...


about 8 years ago

Reminds me of the time I lost a fortune on Tungsten, I remember having to look it up after meeting a guy in a bar in Marine, Mn around the time of the crash who confessed to being an ogre. Lost story short he did that bar bragging dreamer schemer you often find as he'd sold his house on the St Croix shortly before the bubble at a handsome profit, that he should just throw 100k into North American Tungsten, a veritable penny stock I would then follow over the coming years.  It was easy in those days to buy into Obama's promises of Hope and Change.  There were going to be amazing and wonderful things happening.  Oddly enough, according to the ogre, there was only one giant Tungsten mine on this continent in the forbidden mountains of Thor and he believed Obama would take the Lead away too.  Well, as something I could really get behind, I thought about putting in a few thousand, watching it grow as it would've returned four to six times that, until one day a giant landslide removed their main road causing shares to plummet.  And to this day, Tungsten remains a metal reserved for trinkets and oddities.  

So there's your Swedish question of the day. What is Tungsten?

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