Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: How to buy Mitt Romney nose plugs, and the Stephen Stills philosophy of fly fishing

Matt Labash Columnist
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Matt, is there a specific brand of nose plugs I should use when I vote for Mitt Romney, assuming I need both hands free? — Monica McLaughlin

You’ll forgive my heedlessness, but I don’t actually see why you need both hands free in order to vote. It’s completely manageable to vote one-handed while your other hand is occupied, as most 2008 Obama voters can attest. Incidentally, remember to always bring antibacterial sanitizing wipes to the voting booth, since who knows what transpires behind the curtain between a man and his “conscience.”

But yes, regarding your Romney problem and mine (as I very well might succumb to the hold-your-nose option as well), I’d go with Morning Sickness Soothers Aromatherapy Nasal Clips for Nausea Relief, available at Perhaps you’re too lazy to click through the hyperlink. Though I hope you’re not, because I’m trying to attract them as a sponsor in the hopes that they’ll send me desirable swag like Pro-Gest Progesterone Cream (not that I need to balance my estrogen, it just makes my skin supple.) But if you do click through, you’ll learn that Morning Sickness Soothers are “refreshing, rejuvenating, and energizing” — or everything that the Republican primary field is not.

Why buy Morning Sickness Soothers, which are for women who are pregnant with children, as opposed to voters who are merely pregnant with disappointment? Well, for one thing, they’re easy to apply. Just slip the soft, flexible plug containing essential oils up your nose and onto your nasal septum, and you’re done. For another, the scented clips provide a gentle infusion of natural mint or citrus aromas that serve to ease nausea, undesirable odors, and sensitivity to smells — like the smell of mediocrity and inevitable failure. Also, unlike Romney, Morning Sickness Soothers are all natural and do not cause drowsiness.

For what it’s worth while you’re on the site, if you’re a Rick Santorum voter, you might also want to pick up MaleFactor Pak Semen Collection Condoms. They’re not as redundant as the name implies. Yes, I know that being a devout Catholic, Santorum is against artificial contraception and is for bringing as many babies into this world as possible, and not — as Protestant smartasses would suggest — just so that the Vatican can expand its clergy’s dating pool. These condoms aren’t actually for preventing births, they’re for promoting them. If your salmon don’t seem to be swimming all the way upstream and you’re unable to procreate at a desirable Santorum-like clip, simply do your business, wrap the condom up with the included convenient twister-ties, and ship the sample off to the lab for analysis so a medical professional can ascertain why your gun is unloaded, to stack infertility metaphors. You can either “facilitate” the sperm deposit Santorum-style (two loving partners experiencing intimacy within the sanctity of marriage). Or you can collect it Newt Gingrich-style (with whatever partner you happen to be married to at the time, or after a vigorous bout of self-love).

Also, Republican women might want to avail themselves of’s ovulation calendar with an eye toward breeding our next generation of leaders, who will hopefully be a little more inspiring than the current crop of aspirants.

Is there a correlation between the word “creek” and bad fishing? It seems that if moving water is referred to as a stream or a brook, it’s likely to be in an area that is, or was at one time … good fishing. If I hear the word “creek”  or “crick” used to describe a watershed, I’m finding the water is muddy, municipal waste will be present, and so will a large number of idiots. — Chad, West Virginia

I hear your pain, even if I don’t feel it. Since as the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders tells it, we sociopaths are incapable of feeling empathy toward others. You might be right about the crick/stream distinction. But I find that unlike with people, it’s often a mistake to discriminate against water.

Like you, presumably, I too love catching wild brook trout in pristine mountain streams. And I do so whenever I get the chance, which isn’t often enough. The problem being, I don’t live all that close to mountain streams. Therefore, when you need to scratch the fishing itch — which should be regularly if you’re a healthy person — you have to make due with the water at your disposal. Oftentimes, that water will look like Maxwell House Dark Roast, and will be chock-full of PCB’s, construction runoff, and perhaps even cadavers if you live in a rough neighborhood. The fish that survive there are nothing you’d want to kiss after catching. Or would you?

Let’s take your surroundings, for instance. You live in West Virginia. I don’t know how the fishing is in your immediate vicinity, but though I live in Maryland, I often drive to West Virginia for three reasons:

1. To buy meth.

2. To feel superior.

3. To catch tons of smallmouth bass. Which to the uninitiated, are like largemouth bass with smaller mouths but with three Red Bulls in them. Hit the Potomac or Shenandoah rivers around the Harpers Ferry area, and you’ll be asking who needs trout, as it’s about as much fun as you can have on a 6 weight fly rod. Here, you can actually feed your fish man-food (big buggers and streamers), instead of all the fussy chick food (size 22 zebra midges on 6X leaders) that you inevitably revert to on a typical trout stream.

Or take my neck of the woods, for another example. When I don’t feel like driving to optimal trout water or to my West Virginia smallmouth runs, I might fish sewage treatment plant outflows for stripers, perch and catfish. I might fish golf course ponds for sunnies and/or lost Titleists. One of my favorite spots is an undisclosed subdivision pond — complete with decorative fountain — where largemouth know me as the Fish Whisperer, coming to hand with such regularity that it almost feels unsporting to use an actual fly. Is it the prettiest, most interesting water I fish? Not by a longshot. But it has one advantage over every mountain stream I know — it’s five minutes from my house.

So you can’t see a thing you’re casting to? So you’re worried you might hook an abandoned refrigerator on your backcast? So if you drank the water you’re fishing, your guts would probably twist into knots of dysentery and Amoebiasis before you could even make it back to your car? So what? If there’s water in front of you, there’s likely fish in it. Yes, we all love catching wild trout in postcard settings. But if you want to achieve anything like fishing contentment, you need to adopt the Stephen Stills Philosophy of Fishing — if you can’t catch the fish you love, catch the fish you’re with.

Matt Labash is a senior writer with the Weekly Standard magazine. His book, “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys,” is now available in paperback from Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.