A babe with a bow covers Field & Stream for the first time since the Queen Mum

That’s not to say Queen Elizabeth II, bless her hat-wearing heart, was a babe with a bow on her 1976 cover of the 119-year-old magazine. But the May cover girl certainly is.

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30FS-May-2014-CoverThat’s not to say Queen Elizabeth II, bless her hat-wearing heart, was a babe with a bow on her 1976 cover of the 119-year-old magazine. But the May cover girl certainly is. Eva Shockey, who co-hosts Jim Shockey’s Outdoor Adventures with her father, stands proud on the front page as a representation of where the sport is heading. As the NSSF reports (via Outdoor Channel), 3.35 million women currently hunt. That’s an increase of 10 percent from 2008. More women are spending time and money in sporting shops, guns with pink grips are being marketed to women young and old for far more than self-defense. My last trip to the range probably saw women outnumbering men, though I didn’t see a single one shooting solo.

What I like most about Eva is that she sounds kind of like me. I’ve never shot a bow, but I have shot a rifle, and I enjoyed it—and was a wee bit terrified by it, too. To Outdoor Channel, she said: “I’m just like a lot of hunters who are from the younger generation. I don’t have 40 years experience. I’m nervous to hunt because I don’t always know why we’re doing something. I don’t know what to do and what decisions to make. I think people can relate to that.” I love that quote because I understand the sentiment. I like that she’s not a pro and doesn’t pretend to be one. In fact, she embraces her average-ness. It’s sort of what makes a star of the people, don’t you think? Consider Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley—we love them because to us, they are relatable. So, an apt choice, I would say.

On tap for this week: A closer look at hunting, gun laws and all things redneck.

Night terrors, in truth

The rhythmic bleating of cricket frogs I was used to. The high-pitched chirping of tree frogs? Yes, I could identify that. But this was surely extra-terrestrial, E.T. meets Contact, fire alarm by way of fog horn.

It was half past midnight when I opened the back door and released Charlie into the night. The skittish Goldendoodle planted his feet at the top of the steps and threw his head back. He whoofed the night air, inhaling deeply and then thrusting the offensive scents away from him with an indignant snort. Something was afoot. And whatever had incited his scramble for the backyard moments earlier retreated. It can very well wait ‘til morning, thought he. And I’m sure if he could, he would have crossed those fluffy legs of his and beat a retreat.

Then I heard what he had so precipitously smelled. Wah wah wah, it sounded. I reached for a flashlight. Wah wah wahh, it went. What the bloody f—, I thought. Rustle, shuffle, rustle, then again: wah wah wah. It was coming closer, booming louder, and now I was alone at the top of the steps; my guard dog had fled to the shadow of the doorframe.

The rhythmic bleating of cricket frogs I was used to. The high-pitched chirping of tree frogs? Yes, I could identify that. But this was surely extra-terrestrial, E.T. meets Contact, fire alarm by way of fog horn. My brain clicked through different possibilities and settled on the villain illustrated in the nearby yellow signs. Alligator.

Alligators eat dogs. Click click. Crocodiles can climb trees. Click click click. Prepare the house for siege; the drop gators are coming.

The clicks turned to curse words, which summoned back-up in the form of my pajama-clad mother. “It’s not an alligator,” she insisted. She whisper-laughed (Dad was sleeping just one wall away) and I littered my language with F-bombs and pointed into the dark unknown. “It’s a frog!” Another wah wah wah joined the first and as my eyes widened, she amended her statement: “It’s two frogs! Just frogs! Frogs.”

Amphibians, pfft, I thought. I snatched up my iPhone and soon became an expert in frog calls. Not a ribbit. Not a croak. Not this, not that, definitely not that. As I crossed each hopper off the list, a triumphant terror blossomed on my chest, the intersection of being right and being right about something it would have been nice to be wrong about. And then, a sinking happiness. Audio confirmed it: My drop gators were just bloated bullfrogs.

Did you know those things can be 8 inches long? Freaky.

 

Bite Size: A truce at the Roosevelt Hotel

The only thing more boring to report on than an awards show where the winners are announced ahead of time is a town council meeting. You know what’s going to happen, you know when it’s going to happen and you know exactly who the players are and what they’ve done to snag a spot in next week’s minutes.

The only thing more boring to report on than an awards show where the winners are announced ahead of time is a town council meeting. You know what’s going to happen, you know when it’s going to happen and you know exactly who the players are and what they’ve done to snag a spot in next week’s minutes.

But that’s not this reporter’s assignment. New York Magazine sent Andrew Rice to the Roosevelt Hotel ballroom to be a fly on the wall at the James Polk Awards, which highlight the year’s best investigative journalism. Naturally, that would feature those who leaked Edward Snowden’s infamous NSA documents. The hitch: Two of them, Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, haven’t set foot in the United States since the story broke for fear of detainment.

When word came this week that the pair would brave the flight (not to mention those awkward stare-downs at customs), the media realm started buzzing. Word came that they were in transit; we bit our lips and crossed our fingers. Word came that they’d made it through airport security safely; we (collectively—I wasn’t in the ballroom, after all) applauded.

Rice captured the feeling in the room when we all finally exhaled. And he did it nonchalantly. His article isn’t effusive or inflated. It is very much what happened, down to the acid-washed jeans Greenwald wore to accept the prize.

Line I love: “Within the ballroom, the two sides of this media war held a polite truce.”

Read the rest of the story at New York Magazine, here.

Cue applause.

Content Curation: Thinking about surfing, with help from Pinterest

Writers these days are so incredibly lucky to have content curation tools at our fingertips. This week’s obsession is surfing, so naturally Pinterest is the platform I turned to first. Here’s where my brain is this Monday morning…

Writers these days are so incredibly lucky to have content curation tools at our fingertips. This week’s obsession is surfing, so naturally Pinterest is the platform I turned to first. Here’s where my brain is this Monday morning…

Already, I can see stories forming, just like the waves being pushed up, up, up by the wind and a dozen other invisible forces. Headlines–the first things to come to mind when I write–leap along axons. Themes like fear, and physics and engineering overwhelm the senses. What are the best surfers in the world thinking when they tackle world records? What are newbies thinking when they ride double overhead for the first time and see the water closing in? And how on earth do those bikinis stay put through duck dives and turtles and paddling and wipe-outs?

OK. So maybe the last question is a little bolder than the others.

Until next time…B.

Bite Size: Sacred Mountains and Lucky Gold Locks

Legend has it the higher you carry your lock, the greater the chance your wish will come true. The higher the elevation, the heavier the chains…

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The Huffington Post just published a piece a few days ago about hiking Mount Huashan. Billed as the most dangerous trek in the world–and all you need to do is take a look at the pictures to see why they call it that–Mount Huashan comprises five sometimes vertical peaks. As I scrolled through the pictures, though, it wasn’t the three-wide planks built into the rock that caught my fancy, but the locks attached to the thick iron chains. Perhaps they mark where travelers gave up, I thought. Nope. They’re for luck–the lucky golden locks of Mount Huashan.

The history and legends surrounding the mountain are beautiful, filled with searches for truth and love and enlightenment. Now, the narrow paths are filled with tourists, seeking the same truth or love or enlightenment, or to cross another item off their bucket list, or to share a perfectly like-able photo on Instagram. It takes hours to travel up the steep slopes, and so small villages have popped up for the sojourners. There are bunk rooms that can be rented, much like hostels. There are restaurants to sate your hunger. And all these are serviced by carriers that tote wares in baskets up and down the mountain, so naturally, everything is terribly expensive. And you thought the Bahamas were pricey…

But back to the locks. Legend has it the higher you carry your lock, the greater the chance your wish will come true. The higher the elevation, the heavier the chains.

And of course, you can buy your lucky lock for just 20 RMB.

>> For more on Mount Huashan from the traveler’s perspective (and tons of incredible photos), take a peek at BeingInAwe.com

ROUND-UP: What I’m reading and loving this morning

Today’s Sunday reading round-up is a mishmash of funny things. The demise of a Waffle House. Waddling trash can robots. The rise of the superstorm. The history of Little Red. Child labor on farms in America. Schizophrenia. Mary Cain, a high school track phenom. A dog climbing Mount Everest. Let’s go…

Today’s Sunday reading round-up is a mishmash of funny things. The demise of a Waffle House. Waddling trash can robots. The rise of the superstorm. The history of Little Red. Child labor on farms in America. Schizophrenia. Mary Cain, a high school track phenom. A dog climbing Mount Everest. Let’s go…

If a cute, colorful trashcan waddled up to you and told you to pick up your trash, could you resist? Researchers at Japan’s Toyohashi University of Technology are betting you can’t. @ FastCo

On the last morning, before the waffle irons went cold and the pictures came down, before the lock refused to lock, before the claw crashed through the roof, the old man paced.@ Indiana Daily Student (P.S. – Read the comments, too)

Supertyphoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines Friday. It was the worst storm of 2013 and possibly one of the worst in history—there are conflicting data so far from land-based and satellite wind-speed measurements. The Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia are regularly battered by cyclones, as are the Caribbean and East Coast of North America. Why don’t these massive tropical storms hit the West Coast or Europe? @ Slate

We all know one fact about Little Red Riding Hood’s family tree: She has—or had—a grandmother. But newly published research suggests her ancestral linage in fact goes way, way back. @ Salon

The Nation has two tragic — and infuriating — investigative pieces about how young farmworkers (as young as 12) are left entirely unprotected by federal labor laws. Kids, writers Mariya Strauss and Gabriel Thompson found, are getting sick, injured and killed amid unsafe working conditions. @ Salon

Which illness frightens you most? Cancer? Stroke? Dementia? To judge from tabloid coverage, the condition we should really fear isn’t physical at all. “Scared of mum’s schizophrenic attacks”, “Knife-wielding schizophrenic woman in court”, “Schizo stranger killed dad”, “Rachel murder: schizo accused”, and “My schizophrenic son says he’ll kill… but he’s escaped from secure hospitals 7 times” are just a few of dozens of similar headlines we found in a cursory internet search. Mental illness, these stories imply, is dangerous. And schizophrenia is the most dangerous of all. @ The Guardian

Editors of a student newspaper are getting heat from school officials after banning the word “Redskins” — their mascot at Neshaminy, a high school named for the creek where the Lenape Indians once lived. @ Fox News

You’ve seen it happen. One day, you’re aspirationally browsing performance outerwear online; the next day, you’re seeing ads for Primaloft and Gore-Tex on every website you visit. That’s the power of tracking people while they’re shopping—even if they don’t buy anything—and brick-and-mortar stores want to get in on that action, too. They just need a way to record where their customers go, the way websites do. @ Popular Science

Mary Cain, the record-smashing runner from Bronxville High School, announced today that she plans to become a professional athlete under the continued coaching of legendary runner Alberto Salazar. @ Outside

Meet Rupee, he’s a former stray dog that just made history by becoming the very first dog in the world to climb Mount Everest! Found starving in a dump in Northern India, his owner, Joanna Lefson, decided to rescue him and nurse him back to health by feeding him a high protein diet that consisted of boiled eggs and rice. Slowly, he built back his strength and soon he was so strong he was able to climb mountains. Now, he’s the very first dog on record to climb Mount Everest, trekking side by side next to Lefson for 10 days to base camp, which is 17,000 feet above sea level. @ My Modern Met

No one does the fame thing like Clooney. He floats above it even as he uses it to embellish his influence. He understands his place in the pantheon even as he remains hidden from the inquisitive lens. He’s the master. @ Esquire

Phelps told The Associated Press on Thursday that “nothing is set in stone” though clearly he has enjoyed getting back into shape — he’s down about 15 pounds — and working out with his former team at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. @ The Huffington Post

If you’ve got 10 minutes, you can learn the history of English — including some interesting background on where specific words and phrases came from. @ Boing Boing

Forget circumnavigating the globe in 80 days—an albatross can do it in a mere 46! These world travelers are among the largest flying birds, weighing up to 25 pounds (11 kilograms), and with a wingspan of 11 feet (3 meters). But hefting such huge bodies off the ground takes a lot of energy. If albatrosses flew simply by flapping their wings, they would lose about half their body mass fueling that kind of flight. @ National Geographic

For every buyer who is satisfied with an average, ordinary family sedan in subdued “greige” paint, there is a customer out there who wants something special in the car he or she drives. @ The Chicago Tribune

‘Til next time…B.