"Have you heard Brad Paisley's new song, "I'd like to check you for ticks?" asked WW&W meteorologist Summer Solstice as we checked one another for ticks over a cold one at Zik's. Bars don't often rhyme with bugs, not even the Mosquito Inn, but any Yooper can tell you ticks rhymes with Zik's, and cricks.
"This column has gotta lotta street cred and nobody does a more thorough tick inspection than you do," she added. "A romantic musical offer like that from Brad is enough to turn a girl's head, but I'll never forget who taught me how to flick my Bic on a tick at Zik's."
"The only ones who pick up more ticks than Yooper brookie fishermen are foresters, loggers and lumberyacks who beat around the bush all summer," said WW&W tick specialist Woody 'Woodtick' Tikkanen, ranking Ontonagon County the Tick Capital of the U.P. with Iron County running a close second. "We get off easy here, not many make it across the bridge."
"Area brookie cricks are low but you can lure them outa their lair with a wing and a prayer, by which I mean a flying grasshopper" said WW&W senior correspondent Amazing Grace. "I hate ticks like the devil hates holy water, and Woodtick Crick is crawling with them," she warned, arriving with her Deep Woods Off just in time to save a wretch like me from swarming, blood-thirsty mosquitoes.
"When I think about holy water, I think about fish so big they leave a hole in the water when you pull them out," Grace added with tasteful irreverence."
"I'm not the only know chick who says crick and we're not hicks," said WW&W wildlife correspondent Paris Hiltunen. "It's a rural Yooper thing."
"Ticks are icky, let's talk Summer flowers," WW&W floral correspondent Violet Rintamaki changed the subject. "The hillside on White Street in Hancock is covered with hot pink and magenta sweet peas, and so is the toppa Quincy Hill; the holly hocks, which some call the common man's gladiolus, are tall early this summer, northa six feet, and the lavendar lupine is lovely as ever."
That broke the ice and all hell broke loose as a buncha correspondents seized the opportunity to go non sequitur on me and get their two cents in, yumping from ticks to politics. "With the death of Osama Bin Laden, President Obama has now assassinated more Islamic terrorists than all other Nobel Peace Prize winners put together," WW&W Pakistan war correspondent, Al Queda stated empathetically.
"Al's a pretty eloquent guy," said WW&W political correspondent Sarah Palinen," but nobody's happier than Jimmy Carter about the Obama administration; now he's not the worst president ever any more."
"I've got a maritime riddle for your reader," said WW&W boating correspondent Captain Mayeye, "How can the bottom plunge to twenty fathoms, than come right back up again as fast as it went down, yet never move?"
"Sandhill crane spottings are up, particularly at Big Traverse Bay and Bete Gris," Summer Solstice announced, "and area beavers have been busier than you know what, outdoing themselves at what they do best, dammed if they do and dammed if they don't."
"They've got their own little beaver boogie going just like muskrats have their ramble," she added rodentially.
"Always run your lure beside the boat to test-troll it and make sure it's wiggling properly and tracking straight," tipped WW&W senior fishing correspondent Ed Wetelainen, wettin' a line on Keweenaw Bay. "Fish love the same natural swimming action and tight little wiggle that Paris mesmerizes fishermen with."
While I'm making decent headway at Onionizing outdoor writing, Violet Rintamaki and Ed have conspired to make this yet another failed attempt at a fact-free column, yet I am not discouraged. Thank you for your patience with my on-going well-intentioned aspirations. "When I gave my wading demo in my new high-heel flip-flops at one of the water holes at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge last weekend, all the big city papparazzi and outdoor press from Marquette and Duluth were there," Paris said proudly, "and thanks to all their hot reportage action, my bold new fishing footwear is flying off the shelves."
"Best part is they dry in a yiffy and don't cost an arm and a keg," punned WW&W financial advisor Juusi Raha. More on this exciting, uniquely Yooper fashion-meets-function footwear as it happens.
"Besides looking good, they're a lot more sensible than you might think," Paris marketed. "The slender six-inch stiletto heels dig right down into the river or lake bottom for better traction and more stable footing than regular flip flops," she splained, "yet local religious social conservatives have questioned my moral compass."
"I thought a moral compass was something you use to find mushrooms."
Jim can be reached 24/7/365 at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim can be reached 24/7/365 at jjunttila@ chartermi.net.