Filed under: Freedom, Heartwarming, Sports | Tags: Sled Dogs, The Inuit, Thousand-Year Old Mode of Transportation
A mode of transportation thousands of years old, a pack of dogs and a dogsled. Notice the way the dogs are harnessed. Quite different from what I’ve seen on the Iditarod.
Filed under: Entertainment, Fun n Games, Sports | Tags: Agile Little Kids, Strength and Balance, Tarragona Spain
The Concours de Castells in Tarragona, Spain is a human tower-building competition. It is a long tradition in the region, castells began at the end of the 18th century. The sport has rules, techniques, and team responsibilities to guard safety and success. The pinya or base is made of a few hundred people that can catch anyone who falls. The tower itself has a variety of different formations. The top three levels are the pom de dalt, made up of children in helmets. This 2010 video by Mike Randolph shows why safety and teamwork are so important.
Strange and interesting sports. I’d be a spectator.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, National Security, Sports, Terrorism | Tags: A Peaceful Patriot Day, An Act of Terrorism, The Boston Marathon
This picture hit me harder than the videos of the explosion itself. A “person of interest” is in custody, and Boston’s police are efficiently following up on every lead, combing through videos and pictures taken at the scene, and through surveillance tapes.
It all seem so pointless. Americans are not cowed by acts of terror, but enraged. Groups that are too small and too weak to gather either notice nor interest think that acts of destruction can—what? Draw interest to their cause? The record would not bear that out. Terrorist groups don’t usually attack conventional security forces, they attack “soft” targets like tired athletes and their supporters that will draw widespread publicity.
In Iraq, al Qaeda operatives are suspected of 12 explosions responsible for killing 55 people across Iraq on the same day as the Boston Marathon. Max Boot, an expert on guerrilla warfare, traveled to Boston yesterday where he was scheduled to speak about the history of guerrilla warfare and terrorism, which he reprised in today’s Wall Street Journal.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those injured and the families of those who were killed. City officials, security people and ordinary bystanders and first responders were magnificent. Bless them all.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Energy, Freedom, Humor, Junk Science, Politics, Sports | Tags: A Differet Kind of Freedom, Imaginary Physics, Who's In Charge Here?
The Centrifuge Brain Project is a short (fictional !) film by German digital artist Till Nowak about making super imaginative amusement park rides that are divorced from ordinary physics and reality. As Chief Engineer Dr. Nick Laslowicz says “These machines provide total freedom…”
You could consider this a metaphor for the president’s budget released today, only two months late. Divorced from reality. But adventurous.
Filed under: Fun n Games, News of the Weird, Pop Culture, Sports | Tags: National Soccer Jerseys, Recycling Plastic Bottles, Transformation
Football here refers to Soccer, not American football. But this is what happens to all your recycling. Well, not all, just the plastic bottles. Kinda cool though.
Filed under: Heartwarming, History, Humor, Sports | Tags: Bunny Traps, How To Build a Trap, The Easter Bunny
Re-posted from last Easter:
You need some preparations first. The Easter bunny comes in the early morning hours, right at dawn, when the sun is just coming up and the dew is still shining on the grass. You have to find a likely spot which seems as if it might be a bunny path. You will require a standard bushel basket, a long straight stick of kindling, and a good strong straight pin or slender nail. And you will need a nice fresh young carrot with its greens still intact.
You must set up the trap the night before Easter, just when it is about to get dark. Turn the bushel basket upside down, and prop up one side with the stick of kindling. Attach the carrot so it hangs on the front of the stick of kindling. You many have to take the kindling out and attach the carrot with a hammer. It must be well attached, and yet still look enticing. When the Easter bunny comes hopping along, he will spot the carrot right away. Bunnies cannot resist nice fresh carrots. When he takes a bite of the carrot, the stick of kindling will fall and the basket will land on top of the bunny, and he is captured.
Then he needs only love and care. Bunnies are particularly fond of carrots, of course, and soda crackers, and rabbit chow, grass and clover.
It always worked for me. You can tell if it is the real Easter bunny because he will have a blue ribbon around his neck.
Filed under: Freedom, Heartwarming, History, Politics, Sports, The United States | Tags: 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Mitt Romney, Salt Lake City - Utah
A large group of Olympians from Team USA, 2002 spoke about their experience in the Winter Olympics. It was not long after 9/11 and the nation was still reeling from the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.The Salt Lake Olympics were a shambles of scandal, mismanagement and financial failure that threatened to cancel the games and damage the Olympic Games program itself.The athletes thought all their years of training might go to waste, but Mitt Romney pulled it together, corralled hundreds of smiling young LDS volunteers who made every attendee feel welcome.
Mitt made it all work and gave the athletes their chance to compete. Remember the “Miracle on Ice”when the new kids on the block defeated the Russian team. Couldn’t find a video of the whole Team USA medal winners, but Derek Parra, a 5’4″ Mexican American kid from Southern California talked a bit about his background and how unlikely it was that he should become a champion speed skater. He called Mitt Romney a “Facilitator of Dreams.”
Parra set world records, and won the gold in the 1500 meters and silver in the 5000 meters. He went on to become the coach for the U.S. Olympic speed skating team for the 2010 Olympics.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Law, Sports | Tags: Public Swimming Pools, The Justice Department
The Justice Department promised on Thursday to be “flexible” in enforcing the new rules that force public pools to buy and install lifts or ramps for the disabled, Pool operators has said this was an invitation to a flood of lawsuits against small business.
This marked a possible retreat for the department which earlier had ruled that under the Americans With Disabilities Act, all pools open to the public would have to invest in elevators, ramps or lifts to accommodate the disabled. Members of Congress threatened action, and earlier this month Justice extended the stay into next year. On Thursday, the department went further, saying the rules apply chiefly to new pools, while existing pools will only need to comply if it’s easy and cheap to do so.
“Readily achievable means that it is easily accomplishable without much difficulty or expense” the department said. “This is a flexible, case-by-case analysis, with the goal of ensuring that ADA requirements are not unduly burdensome, including to small business.”
The reprieve comes just before the Memorial Day weekend, which marks the traditional opening day for many outdoor pools. So they can cross their fingers and open?
“It is obvious that the Obama administration is quickly backtracking after giving little thought to the real-world impact of this one-size-fits-all mandate,” said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) who had tried to pass legislation halting the mandate.
There is as yet no amendment removing the language, which means it is still an active part of the bill. As usual, people with good intentions make silly regulations, because they cannot allow free people to make their own business decisions.
Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Minority Whip burbled: “For many Americans with disabilities, swimming pools are an important source of physical activity and emotional comfort.” Rolling back the rules, he said”would constitute a serious setback to American with disabilities, including many of our veterans —and I want you to think about this— many of our veterans were wounded while serving our nation overseas.”
And just think about it, many public pools have no disabled people among their customers, nor in their districts. It is a characteristic of the left that they believe themselves so clever that they can make wise rules for a huge country of some 330,000,000 people. Their intentions are so good, and the results of their hubris make such a mess of things.
Filed under: Conservatism, Election 2012, Humor, Politics, Progressivism, Sports | Tags: Massachusetts Senate Race, One Amazing Shot, Senator Scott Brown (R-MA)
Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) stopped by the Hyannis Youth and Community Center, and made an amazing half-court shot. Brought back his college basketball nickname: “Downtown Scottie Brown.”
Democrats are trying to convince Massachusetts voters that Mr. Brown is the out-of-touch elitist in the race. “Scott Brown is actually a millionaire pretending to be an ‘everyman’ while attacking [his opponent] Elizabeth Warren for her success,” the spokesman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee claimed in a press release last week. Once again Democrats are out making charges without doing their homework. Tax returns released by the candidates indicate that the opposite is the case.
In 2009, Mr. Brown reported a household income of $294,000 while Ms. Warren reported a household income of $980,000. In 2010 Mr. Brown’s income skyrocketed to $840,000 — thanks to a book advance for his biography Against All Odds. Ms. Warren reported $950,000 that year.
Like many other members of “the 1%” Ms. Warren has spoken out about the rich not paying enough in taxes. In Massachusetts the wealthy can voluntarily pay a higher state income tax rate, but she didn’t volunteer to give more, nor did she give much to charity. Mr. Brown gave a larger percentage of his income to charity. If you’re going to make charges, better check the facts to avoid embarrassing yourself.
If Democrats are going to try to get brownie points for insisting that the rich pay more in taxes, they are apparently demanding that the government force everyone to pay more, but are not going to put their money where their respective mouths are.
Pretty cool shot though.
Filed under: Entertainment, Fun n Games, Sports | Tags: 41 Stories Tall, Sheer Terror!
This is the Insano (well named) Water Slide in Brazil’s'Beach Park. It is 41 meters high — the height of a 14 story building. You go down at a 105 kilometer/hour speed. Looks popular! It is the world’s tallest water slide. You may click to enlarge and see the scary descent even bigger. The landing is not shown.
Filed under: Architecture, Freedom, Fun n Games, Law, Sports | Tags: American Playgrounds, Safety or Challenge?, The Challenge of Tort Law.
There was an article in the New York Times a week ago about playgrounds, titled “Can a Playground Be Too Safe?” by John Tierney. Do follow the link, for there is a lovely picture of a real jungle gym. I searched Google images for a good picture of a jungle gym, and jungle gyms have not only disappeared from the nation’s playgrounds, but there aren’t apparently any old pictures of them.
The playground in one of my neighborhood’s parks has become so safe that it appeals only to two and three-year-olds. I don’t know whether at some point my city was sued successfully, or whether the city attorneys just warned of perilous possibilities. Some maker of playground equipment that runs to little houses with holes in the wall for kids to climb through apparently came to the city with a big dog and pony show, convincing city officials that kids would love to play make-believe in little houses.
Well, the little ones are too little for make-believe, and the bigger ones quickly get bored after climbing on the roofs of the little houses. Watching kids there, you can sense their boredom and frustration.
Boise, Idaho has a hot spring somewhere under the city. They once had a splendid set of two near-Olympic size pools adjacent to each other. The water was warm and the pools were popular. I suppose it was liability insurance that made the city fill them in and plow them under. Fullerton, California once had a privately owned set of pools, wading, soaking and swimming, that were lovely and popular, but the land probably became too valuable and the liability insurance too costly. All gone.
When my daughter was young, there were stables where little girls could take riding lessons and love horses devotedly. All gone. Mr. Tierney’s article quotes a professor of psychology from a university in Norway:
“Children need to encounter risks and overcome fears on the playground,” said Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology at Queen Maud University in Norway. “I think monkey bars and tall slides are great. As playgrounds become more and more boring, these are some of the few features that still can give children thrilling experiences with heights and high speed.”
After observing children on playgrounds in Norway, England and Australia, Dr. Sandseter identified six categories of risky play: exploring heights, experiencing high speed, handling dangerous tools, being near dangerous elements (like water or fire), rough-and-tumble play (like wrestling), and wandering alone away from adult supervision. The most common is climbing heights.
“Climbing equipment needs to be high enough, or else it will be too boring in the long run,” Dr. Sandseter said. “Children approach thrills and risks in a progressive manner, and very few children would try to climb to the highest point for the first time they climb. The best thing is to let children encounter these challenges from an early age, and they will then progressively learn to master them through their play over the years.”
Most adults have lost the perspective of childhood. They can’t remember the thrills and the challenges unless they were one of the many kids who tried to jump off the roof with an umbrella or by flapping their arms. Society has become much scarier. Backyards are disappearing along with vacant lots. There were lots of vacant lots in my neighborhood when my kids were growing up and neighborhood kids had unauthorized treehouses on most of them.
Playgrounds are designed so that toddlers won’t hurt themselves, thus depriving older children of healthy exercise. What happens in playgrounds is determined by tort lawyers. Asphalt surfaces are gone, replaced by bark and rubber surface. Some kids may hurt themselves, they may fall, they may break a bone. We have too many lawyers. Some people are too ready to sue. Loser pays would help. Surely we can find ways to make playgrounds that offer real challenges while removing the real dangers.
Perhaps childhood obesity is not due to kids eating too many happy meals. “Let’s Move” is good advice, but kids need better playgrounds on which to get moving. Somebody tell Mrs. Obama.
Filed under: Humor, News of the Weird, Sports, YouTube | Tags: Freestyle Canoeing, Interesting New Sport, Or Colossal Bore?
I found the following video at Maggie’s Farm, and found it interesting and rather beautiful. I’m always interested in new sports, and people keep inventing them and then having contests of skill. So I sent the video to the Elephant.
He wrote back, in ALL CAPS, that it was the DUMBEST VIDEO HE HAD EVER SEEN, AND THE MERE ACT OF WATCHING IT MADE HIM DUMBER! He included exclamation marks, lots of them, and spelled out D-U-M-B, D–U–M–B!!, D—U—M—B—ER!!!
So there you have it. What do you think?
American Freestyle canoeing is the art of paddling a canoe on flat water with perfect control of its movements. The canoe is usually leaned over to the side to help the boat turn sharply and efficiently and paddle strokes are taken on either side of the canoe depending on the individual move. Balance, paddle placement and turn initiation are a few keys to this control. Since the movements seem dance-like, some practice this art timed to music, which is the ultimate in control.
ADDENDUM: The Elephant said: “I can’t believe you posted that! It’s NOT a sport!” I’ll have to admit that the audience was a little on the small side.