Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Silly, screwy and sappy summer stories

Maybe it's the time of the year in mid-summer when a hot sun beats down and perhaps - pure speculation - affects one's brain and thinking process. I'm a person who seeks out these type of stories and thankful that people get silly once in a while.

As a Monty Python fan forever, I especially loved all their silly pseudo news reports. A personal favorite was/is their Silly Olympics, which just so happens to lead into today's first  piece, "The Chap Olympics.".

Unrelated to "the" Olympic Games to be held in London, England, the Chap Olympics ,which take place in the same city celebrates - well - things ("so get on with it, Eleanor, and tell us about this thing of which you speak!") different. Different is good.

The eighth annual (go figure this was an annual event that has such staying power) Chap Olympiad, sponsored by Chap Magazine, which describes these games as celebrating sporting ineptitude. Many of us can relate to that. Actually, chances are many/a lot of people reading this could, if they wanted to and were willing to make their way to London, take part in the activities since it doesn't require any particular physical agility, unless one considers umbrella jousting, ironing board surfing (at last something fun to do with an ironing board) and of course the challenging, cucumber sandwich discus, as physical sports. Additionial events listed include pipeathlon, gentleman's gold club and not playing tennis. Really.

But wait - there's more electrifying events ("Oh do get on with it, Eleanor, and stop beating around the bush.")!  Butler Baiting consisting teams of two people, who must assemble a wardrobe nice enough to impress a butler. Winners were judged on the basis of maintenance of panache, perfectly knotted ties and levels of skulduggery. Be still my beating heart! 

Meanwhile, here are some photos of the contestants participating in the events:

I'll be sure to mark this Chap Challenge down in my next year's agenda in anticipation of an invitation to any royal event, which all seem to get lost in the mail, somehow.

Moving on...

Problems for the caped crusader if he was real and if he could fly

On a more serious but of no consequence in the scheme of things, someone - a group of British physics students - have calculated what would/could happen if Batman really existed ("you mean he doesn't, Eleanor?"), and would he be able to fly safely. To be candid, this is something that I've never really never thought about. You? Why they (the students) decided to assess the comic heroes odds regarding his flying prowess is not mentioned in the article but as mentioned, it's summer and there's a new Batman movie coming out...

Anyway,  the four students involved who attend the University of Leicester and are in their final year of a four year Master of Physics degree that gives them some credibility, calculated that Batman could glide using his cape but his landing would kill him. It's always the landings that get you in the end, isn't it. In their paper entitled, "Trajectory of a Falling Batman", they argued that if he (Batman) jumped from a 150-metre high building, the 4.7 meter wingspan of his cape would allow him to glide 350 meters. However - it's always the howevers in life that get you in the end - he would reach a speed of 68 miles per hour before hitting the ground at a life-threatening speed of 50mph. According to one of the students, the caped crusader would need a larger cape. Thinking further, not sure if a larger cape would fit the heroe's image and most likely - pure speculation on my part - the cape would have to be a lot larger. Moving on...

Got a spare £3m hanging around?

So let's say one has a few dollars (or pounds) that are doing nothing and seeking something in which to invest said spare dollars/pounds. City trader, Christian Siva-Jothy, a former partner in Goldman-Sachs, is looking for a buyer for his island.

In the way of enticing a potential buyer who could be reading this blog right now, the 260 acre King's Island, or Eilaen Righ, is located 350 yard off the Scottish mainland and is accessible only by boat or helicopter. This means real privacy for the new owner.

The island has a four bedroom house, a boat house, observatory and its own helicopter landing pad. There is a lot of wildlife that hang around including a population of deer that swim over from the mainland, dolphins, otters, sea eagles and osprey. Furthermore and for those inclined, the new owner(s) can fish for an endless supply of salmon and lobster. Sounds too desolate for me. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. things to do in Finland for tourists

As a tourist visiting or planning a visit to Finland, perhaps you're wondering what type of traditional summer festivals are held throughout the country in order to plan recreational activities around them. Wonder no more - here is a taste of some of the more unusual competitions.

For example:

Wife Carrying World Championship

Never realized this was a world-wide challenge but I digress. The festival, held from July 1 to July 2, in the town of Sankajarvi, is a re-creation of an old Finnish folk tale focusing on local villain, Herkho Ronkainen, who carried away beautiful native girls, married or single. The main aim of the competition is to carry your wife from start to finish.

Contestants must carry wives across a 253.5 metre track of sand, grass and asphalt, and a water obstacle.The prize is a loaf of rye bread, a statuette and the woman's weight in beer. So I'm wondering here what happens if, say, one drops one's wife. Is there some type of penalty or is one out of the running in the true sense of the word? It's a lot of work for a rye bread. At least if they threw in cheese or something.

Mobile Phone Throwing World Championship
This event takes place in August in Riihisaari, Savonlinna in eastern Finland, is quite simple: one throws one's cell phone. That's it - really! Just thinking...the real challenge one (me) would imagine in finding one's cell phone among all the other flung cell phones. But I digress. Again.

Mosquito Killing Contest

This is a summer event when mosquitos are rife (love that word). Thinking further about this, many of us have been practicing without even being having to travel to Finland. The challenge is to kill or swat as many mosquitos as possible in less than 5 minutes. The current world record stands at 21 mosquitoes in 5 minutes. Then again, one wonders if dead or partially squashed bugs are included in the total or whether they have a supply of mosquitoes in a jar or something ready to be released for the swatters to use for...swatting. Another question that springs to mind is do other flying species count in the final total?

The Ant-Nest Sitting Competition

This is a competition that could take place anywhere and/or everywhere in the world should there be an interest (doubt it but who knows). Held in many areas of Finland, winners are decided by competitors sitting on ant nests for the longest duration. Doubtful that participants practice in advance for the event. Just thinking...are participants assigned specific ant nests or do they get to choose? So many questions and issues to contemplate but then I obviously have too much time on my hands.

There are other interesting competitions should one be planning a trip to Finland that can be found here:

How has your summer been so far?

Monday, July 09, 2012

What happened to civility and ?

Every year in mid-July our city throws a big jazz festival that attracts people from all over the world. What makes this festival particularly a fun experience is that many of the musical happenings take place on outdoor stages and are free for the asking. This means that anybody and everybody regardless of their financial or social status can take advantage of the musical events.

Usually, we put aside at least a full day to take in some jazz, blues and other musical offerings during the day and into the evening. Nothing like listening to music under the stars while sipping some liquid, people watching sitting on grass expanses or depending on its availibility, on cement stairs located in the various venues. Therein lies or lay the problem.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Human nature (and blog readers) never cease to amaze

As a person who enjoys blogging about...nearly everything, actually, I enjoy keeping track of which blog pieces continuously surface to the top.

Anything to do with royalty seems to be of interest to everyone world-wide, or at least people who drop by Gimme a Break (this blog) and when I, along with many... Make that a gazillion other people didn't get an invitation to the royal wedding last year, I shared my disappointment and angst with anyone who happened by.

Related to the wedding and even if one (me) had received an invite, one would be required to know how to act in front of royalty and invitees.

To this end, a consultation with Debrett's, the word when it comes to things societal, as written on their site: "Debrett's is the modern authority on all matters etiquette, taste and achievement. Recognising people of distinction and the finer things in life are true to Debrett's heritage, rooted in publishing chronicles of the great and the good over the past two centuries" was in order in case one (me again) is invited to a royal affair. People appear to enjoy my take on this issue.

Also popular in the royalty-related category or at least something that is still around, is my confession that I missed the Queen's Jubilee Party and celebrations. What can I say - yet another invitation obviously lost in the mail.

These days the most popular topic seems to be a piece written in 2009 focusing on an invention of a dual bra that could if the need be most likely, converted into a gas mask. In fact this unusual invention won a Ig Nobel prize. Actually, when the list of award-ees was released, this particular award stood out among the rest. I mean - think about it - a bra that could also act as a gas mask. This made me think ("oh do share your thoughts, Eleanor!") if - and I say/write, if - this was feasible, the bulkyness of the gas mask would make the wearing of the bra unconfortable, n'est pas? Also, if it became apparent that there was some type of gas in the air, the speed in which one could unhook said bra and place it on one's face would be slow. Just some thoughts that spring to mind. But I digress.

For those people reading this who are still interested in this interesting...device, did some research and came accross a YouTube video of Dr. Bodnar receiving her award and discussing her invention.

Let it not be said or written that I don't go the extra mile for my blog readers!

Also still on the list are Rufus the Turkey has left the building and a complaint that rates at the top of my...complaint list is the usage of cell phones in places where they shouldn't be used (example: in a bathroom while you-get-the-picture), in a movie theatre.

As long as residents of planet earth continue being who and what they are, I will endeavor to continue to seek out the unusual...the unconventional...the weird-ish stories that make this blog what it is. Whatever.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Do you believe? World UFO Day

This almost zipped by without me even noticing that it was here but for those interested in knowing, today is/was depending on when and where one is reading it, World UFO Day. Never imagined that a day was put aside to mark the existence of unidentified objects of the non-earth-ly type but it here it is. Some would speculate or at least hypothesize that the Kardashians or maybe Charlie Sheen might be... Just kidding. Maybe. Go know.

So right now you're probably wanting to know a little more, maybe even a lot more, about the origins and raison d'etre of July 2, World UFO Day ("oh yes Eleanor - do give us some background info.")

According to , which seems to be the originator of the day, the goal of the web site "is to spread the word about World UFO Day and make it known to a bigger audience." Most or at least a large percentage of people reading this are aware of UFO's but obviously there are people out there who might want to know more. To quote Fox Muldaur (remember him?) of "X-Files": the truth is out there...or something. This program happens to be or was my favorite all-time sci-fi series by the way. In addition according to information, another aim is to share factual and helpful information about the subject.

The first World UFO Day was celebrated in 2001 and according to the information blurb, "one of the first and foremost reasons is to raise awareness about the undoubted existence of UFO"s and with that intelligent beings from outer space."

There are a few people I know that could fit into that category, at least the outer-space aspect, but I digress.

Thinking further about aliens, the UFO type, it would seem "normal" that life exists in some form in the universe. I mean, they may not look humanoid (love that word) but it is possible one surmises. Neither, one would surmise that they would walk around muttering to earthlings: "take me to your leader."

Perhaps people reading this would be/could be/might be interested in celebrating this day in special ways and meeting other UFO believers. To this end, suggestions are offered.

- start a World UFO Day group.
- invite some friends or UFO enthusiasts  (presumably they're referring to earthlings but then again, who knows) to a UFO party
-  wear/create individually designed UFO/alien T-shirts. I have a few t-shirts that would fit the bill the end result of mixing dark colors with light colors without checking the washing instructions. Don't we all? But once again I digress.
- watch the sky in a group and spot strange objects flying around and take photos of said objects in the sky
- watch UFO-type movies. See some of their suggestions here:

While on the subject, favorite UFO/alien films?

The existence of aliens or extra-terrestrial life on earth is like the existence of ghosts: either one believes or doesn't believe and no amount of discussion will suffice. Personally, I have my suspicions about Charlie Sheen...and possibly Simon Cowell...maybe JLo... So - do YOU believe in UFOs?