Well. Here we are again.

Yep, yep, yep. Lotsa weather weíre having, ainít it? Mmm hmm.

Iíve never been good at small talk. I like to believe thatís because anything I say is very, very important and poignant, but people tell me Iím being an egomaniac with such views. So instead I just keep my mouth shut and pity those who donít get the full measure of my wit and wisdom.

Hrmph! Consider all that with tongue firmly in cheek, okay?

Anyway. It was 37 degrees when I got up this morning. Thatís definite Brrrrrrrr! weather. I donít mind it, though. Itís just part of the natural cycle. Truth be known, the freshwater fisheries around here could use some really good freezes to get rid of that despicable duckweed, water hyacinth and those things we call "silver dollars" that I donít know the proper name of. A couple days of sub-30 degree weather would do wonders.

The cat likes the cold, and weíre still arguing over seating arrangements. She likes to take my chair when I get up, and is very put out when I come back and remove her. The dog is outside and likes to sleep a lot. I bring her in the shop in very cold weather.

Yep. Sure enough. Oh, yeah.

Hemingway, Iím told, would cure a run of writerís block by going deep sea fishing in the Indian Ocean, or on safari in Africa. Hemingway had a few more resources than me, I guess, so I have to find other ways to cure writerís block. The search has so far been for naught.

So. Here we are.

I got my Trout Unlmited calendar for 2007. I donít know why Trout Unlimited sends me a calendar every year, but Iím not fussing. They keep asking me to join, but Iíve fished trout once in my life and who knows if Iíll ever do so again? I like the calendars, pretty pictures of pretty places where people (not necessarily pretty) are catching pretty fish.

Yessir. Thatís what they do, all right. Send me calendars. For nothing. Imagine that. Mmm hmm.

Iím starting to sound like Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade, ainít I?

Oh, boy.

Reckon Iíll have me some of them French-fried taters, mmm hmm.

Oh, man.

Itís a hollow feeling in between the ears when youíre trying to think of something to write about. Itís like youíd imagine a vacuum would feel in space. Your cranium just kinda empties out if you stare too long at the screen. I had the same problem with college algebra. Heck, I had the same problem with high school algebra. I could just feel my skull empty of all comprehension, inspiration, everything. I never managed to pass college algebra. Thatís okay, since I never got a degree, either!

Youíre all really kind to hang around with me when things are so dull around here. It makes me feel special, you know? Mark of true friends, Iíve always believed, is when the uncomfortable silences are no longer uncomfortable.

Problem with columns is, "uncomfortable silences" translates to "big blank spots on the page" so itís kinda different.

Sure Ďnuff. Yup.

I could tell you about how a bunch of us on local fishing Internet forums started clowning around about how bad the freshwater fishing has been in Louisiana since the hurricanes last year, and decided weíd start fishing choupique. In case you donít know, choupique is a mud-dwelling, slimy, ugly fish that is considered a trash fish, though some people eat Ďem. A five pound choupique will straighten a hook like a freight train.

So the whole clowning around thing got out of hand, and now weíve formed Choupique Unlimited, and are going to have a choupique fishing tournament on the fly rod.

How do I get myself into these things?

Weíve even had people from out of state contact us on our Blog site asking what kind of flies and such to use in catching choupique. We keep trying to tell them, we have never intentionally went after the slimy monsters, and have cursed loudly when accidentally hooked into one. So we really donít know what kind of flies work best.

Friend of mine, Catch Cormier of Baton Rouge, even provided us with a fool-proof recipe for preparing choupique for the table:

"Fillet a choupique and place it on wood plank. Add your favorite sauce and sprinkle with onions and peppers. Roast in the oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Take out the plank and allow to cool. Throw away the choupique and eat the plank."

Yes, Iíve totally lost my mind. But what the hey?

So. Here we are. Lotsa weather weíre having, eh?