“Give us your tired and weak…”


Dateline:  Las Vegas Convention Center

As the blind man who built kites,

would build,

he would sing,

music was his sight,

and he would build kites and sing,

and in broken English,

he would sing songs of America,

and the blind man who built kites,

would cry,

and as he finished the kite, he would run his hands over the sticks and paper,

and the blind man who built kites, would  hold the kite in his hands and watch her fly,

in his mind,

and he would sing songs of America,

and he would cry,

as he sang the song and watched the kite fly in his hands,

and every song would end with the same stanza,

and it would be,


America, she’s been “bery, bery good to me.”


If we, the dreaded media, come here and only write about the stuff in the booths, and not the PEOPLE who put the stuff in the booths,

we have missed the whole damn point.

As I sit and write this, in the desert, it is raining, the song of the desert, is not the sand, the song of the desert is always the sky.

My blind friend who built kites always told me, “let your ears, see.”  

Years ago I went back home to Buffalo for my high school’s Class of 1970’s 3oth reunion, and when I drove around my old neighborhood, Kenmore, NY, I came to a stop at a traffic light on the corner where my kite building friend’s apartment used to stand, now just a bank parking lot.

As I looked up to where his 2nd floor apartment would have been, I silently gave him the props he deserved, thought, thanks my friend, it was you who taught me that when looking for a story, sometimes it is just best to close my eyes,

and just listen.

“…and we will make them strong…”

I have to be honest, I’m no sort of convention expert, iCast is pretty much the only convention that will let me in.

But I have learned from sometimes actually reading, glancing, at all the PR stuff sent to me, that most conventions are, you know, conventional.  Pretty much the same, just the color of the lanyard that holds the name badge changes.

Seems most conventionals have this thing called, by various names, Best Of Show.  And these best of show things are usually pretty well-lit things sitting on black drapes or kept under glass.

Me, I would be running an unconventional convention.  I would have a best of show, but instead of stuff sitting there, I would have the people behind the stuff sitting there, best story of how the thing became the thing, wins.

As I walked the aisles of iCast I ran into Dieter Stanford, did a story with him and his small crew of lure makers last year called, “Sawdust Dreams” 


and when I asked him how things were going he told me, “Always a struggle,” and then he took off to find some water that he could put his latest lure into, “to see how she looks and swims.”

But know this, when Dieter told me, “always a struggle,” in his eyes, where best of show always lives, there was fire, there was the glint you find in a working stiff on the chase,

and when you look at him with your eyes closed, you hear the song,

of dreams.

“…bring us your foreign songs…”


I am the absolute result, and possibly the goal, of the American Dream, and if you tell me the American Dream is lost, I may spit in your face.

I am 2nd generation American, neither of my grandparents, mother or father’s side, was born on American soil.

And to my grandparents, American Soil was the most cherished dirt on earth. 

From childhood I was told by my grandfather that the first “American” word he ever said was “Liberty” when sailing into New York Harbor and on to Ellis Island he pointed at the Statue of Liberty and his father told him “Liberta, liberta mio figlio…” and then in just learned during the boat ride “American,” his father stumbled to say, “Liberty, liberty my son.”

Now frankly I have no idea of how true that story was, but it was the story he told me, and it was the story I grew up believing, and nothing at iCast is showing me anything different.

You want to know what the song of iCast is, it is the song of all those who brung us here.

It is sung in Spanish.

It is sung in Japanese.

It is sung in Chinese.

It is sung in Italian.

It is sung in Canadian, yeah I know, no such thing as speaking Canadian, but the point is, there are dudes from every continent on earth in this convention hall.

And from a 2nd generation, brung here, I may not understand the baits and other things, but I have heard the iCast song all my life.

“…and we will sing along…”

My vote, for iCast, Best Of Show goes to all those who Showed up,

with dreams in hand.

Unless that crankbait, crank-baited its ownself, my vote goes to the person who dreamed it up.

Don’t need to see your bait, just tell me your dreams.

Sing the song, that brung ya.

Sing the song that accepts you here.

The song of working stiffs,

the song of America.

Sing the song about how we can have a convention about fishing,

in a desert.

Sing the song of not what we see as we walk the aisles of iCast,

but what we hear,

when we see,

with our ears,

in a land where a blind man,

built kites,

that flew.

“…there's still a lot of love living in the promiseland.”

Living in the Promiseland

Willie Nelson

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