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  • Writer's pictureChris Russell

S4 E12 - Trout Fishing in America

Updated: Feb 3

S4 E11 – Outro

Hello survivors. Welcome back. Hope you enjoyed your holidays, for those of you who celebrate them.

I had an interesting couple of weeks. Besides having family staying with us, which is great, but also wreaks havoc on your routines, besides that, the end-of-year chase at my real job was very busy and, in an ironically apocalyptic event we had a big tree fall on my house. Yup – the week before Christmas a big storm rolled through, snapped off a big pine tree and smashed our roof.

Exiting times!

But that is life, right? Would you have it any other way?

I got some feedback on Spotify that I was talking too much, and I actually agree, so I’m going to keep today’s missive short and sweet.

(That’s what I always say, right before I start writing and it grows into a monster – like a multi-headed hydra, or more appropriately like the ever expanding blob!)

First up – What is Chris reading?

I got lots of new books for Christmas as gifts, so apparently people are getting the message!

But in the down time and the peaceful mornings of the past couple weeks I have been reading my way through the First Scribner Paperback Edition of “Ernest Hemmingway – the Short Stories, The first 49 stories with a brief preface by the author.”

That I’m sure you can buy used online for $4, but I probably picked up at the local used bookstore.

I’m in a Hemingway phase – you may have noticed.

I have been enjoying it. It is a good representation of the author across his career. You can see him working in these stories, trying to find that one perfect sentence. The short stories, more than the novels, are the vehicles that authors use for practicing their craft.

I find that very instructive.

If you felt the burning need to categorize, the stories could be sorted into Africa Stories, Bull-Fighting stories, War stories and Nick Adams stories.

Of the first three, African hunting, Matadors and War – the thing they have in common, what Hemmingway is working with, is how the characters live, or have lived, on the edge of death and how it affects them.

He is asking questions like ‘what is bravery?’, and ‘What is the meaning of redemption?’ The dance with death produces cowards and brave men at the same time. It’s similar to our apocalypse work in that we put characters in these situations on the edge and see what they become.

Those stories are interesting, but I particularly like the Nick Adams stories. Nick Adams is a character that is a midwestern American boy, or young man, of Hemmingway’s time.

Let me now tell you a story.

When I was in school, I had an assignment to read the Nick Adams story “Big Two Hearted River” and write a report on it.

This is one of Hemmingway’s earliest works, written in Paris in 1922, after the war. It is one of the works that defined him as something new and fresh.

For my homework, I read it, but I also did what any good university slacker would do and read a professional literary review of Big Two Hearted River to borrow ideas.

I was astounded by how much metaphor and meaning they read into this simple story about a man on a fishing trip. To me at the time, it was a outlandish how much meaning they parsed out of the words.

This was the American literary love affair with Hemingway.

Reading this story again, many years later, I can see the finely crafted message of redemption and how Hemmingway used imagery to tell that story and not exposition or dialog.

It’s a finely crafted story.

Another Story in there I recognized is “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” – which is a very short story that somehow got made into a feature length Hollywood Movie – such was the valuable cachet of Hemmingway in the 1950’s. If he cleared his throat Hollywood would show up with an offer.

On to our next topic. What has Chris watched?

Last night I watched a Keanu Reeves directed move called “Man of Tai Chi” from 2013 starring martial artists Tiger Chen.

Reeves plays the bad guy. Tiger Chen plays Tiger Chen.

I don’t know what Keanu was trying to accomplish with this movie, but it was awful. There were some good fight scenes, but the plot was so obvious and predictable and repetitive that even the fighting becomes boring.

Half of the movie is in Chinese with subtitles. It kind of follows the ‘Enter the Dragon’ storyline but it misses the mark. I think it might have been made for a Chinese audience.

Keanu casts himself as the villain but his acting comes off just weird and wooden.

So, I would avoid it. And you’re welcome for saving you two hours of your life.

Since I told you I would keep it short, I will.

We are now on the downhill slope of Season Four and I am working with the editors this week to find a way out in the new year.

If you want to contact me you can through the show website at or jujst shoot me an email at cyktrussell at gmail dot com – links are in the show notes.

We’re up to 445 members in our Facebook group. We are currently sharing holiday themed apocalyptic memes.

As we roll into 2024 we are entering the New Year goal setting period. Time for us to refocus and prioritize what is important.

I will be reprioritizing creating good content and serving you, my apocalyptic tribe!

Make sure to inspect the walls of your bunker and pack the chinks with mistletoe to keep the winter winds out


Only 973 words. Barely more than a page.

keep surviving!

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