Sunday, May 18, 2008
The Dangerous Sports Club is a circle of friends from Los Angeles to Shanghai linking through David Kirke (not to be confused with Kirkee, a town and military cantonment in Poona district, Bombay, India, 18 degrees 33' N. lat, 73 degrees 54'E. long.) in Oxford England. Many people claim to be members when they are not but that only amuses him. There are members of the DSC who do not know each other and prefer it to remain that way. He has all the records of the club. However as people are continually emailing questions about the club I thought it would be a good idea to put up some information on this site. I've included a recent article on the club and excerpts from David Kirke's last two letters to Louis Greig who participated in the early days in France with skis and sleds that ran on blocks of ice. The letters give an account of the recent marriage in France of Hugo Spowers who designed and steered the grand piano down the slopes of St Moritz while Hubert Gibbs played Chopin on it and give some idea of people in the DSC. Click here for the latest nurdorandum from David Kirke and pictures of the 21st Anniversary jump from Clifton Suspension Bridge. Pictures of the first trebuchet human catapult in Netherstowey.
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Friday, May 16, 2008
Scuba (an acronym that stands for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) diving is an increasingly popular sport, but imitating fish clearly has its drawbacks. The ascent from a dive, if done too fast, can cause decompression illnesses (including the bends), potentially causing failure of the spinal cord, brain and lungs. Not to mention that sharks passing by might be peckish.
Venues: The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and Scuba Schools International (SSI) offer open-sea diving certificates training, costing from $150 to nearly $600 for lessons. Florida and California as well as Mexico and Egypt are renowned. Once certified, PADI and Divers Alert Network offer specialist insurance, in the ballpark of $60 to $70. (Travel insurance providers often require an extra 10% to 20% premium. During training, private medical insurance should suffice.)
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"No, this is not RoboCop."
That's how Michael Feldman, the AP's international photo editor, introduced this photo of a law enforcement officer in Zhengzhou, China. The officer was showing off body armor and a gun that shoots a net to catch dogs.
Meanwhile, a few hundred miles up the road, baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. has some fun during a clinic he's conducting for kids in Beijing.
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Wednesday, May 14th 2008
Vengeance of Moko say you?
Put aside the instinctive, shallow triumphalism in the wake of Monday's announcement from the West Indies Cricket Board, and contemplate, if you will, on the bigger picture surrounding the enigmatic Marlon Samuels.
Yes, the temptation is almost irresistible for those still stung by his role (inadvertent or otherwise) in the demise of Brian Lara on the national hero's final day as a player for the regional side. However, after uttering "It good for him!" or "He look for dat!", what do we have left but time to properly contemplate on an unfulfilled career that seems so sadly typical of a talented yet misdirected generation, both on and off the field of play?
And let's not write his epitaph as a West Indies batsman as yet, for much in the same way as the ravenous, ultra-competitive Indian media were tripping over themselves to draw the curtain on the Jamaican batsman's international career when the allegations first arose following last year's limited-over series in India, rumours of Samuels' final demise may prove exaggerated.
It is unlikely that the International Cricket Council will accede to the tribunal's consideration that Samuels be placed on probation instead of being suspended altogether after he was found guilty on the charge that he "received money, benefit or other reward which could bring him or the game of cricket into disrepute", all stemming from his contact with reputed bookmaker Mukesh Kochar prior to the first One-day International in Nagpur on January 21, 2007.
Still, he will be well short of his 30th birthday when the sentence, if upheld, is completed on May 8, 2010. In fact, it can be argued that Samuels has been in and out of the senior regional squad so often and for so many different reasons since an impressive entry into Test cricket as a 19-year-old in Australia that a two-year hiatus is more or less par for the course. So it shouldn't be the end of his time wearing the burgundy cap, assuming he retains the desire to return to the highest level in the midst of what could be a very frustrating exile.
And that really is the question. Does he care enough, does it mean enough to him that he will want to emerge after this considerable blot on his career to make amends for time and opportunities lost?
Carl Hooper was another consistent under-achiever before his surprise retirement at the end of the 1999 home series against Australia. He returned, to the consternation of some, to lead the West Indies against South Africa in the Caribbean in 2001 and for another two years until the first-round exit at the 2003 World Cup.
The classy Guyanese right-hander was far more reliable in his second coming than the first 12 years of his international career in which he promised much but delivered little.
Samuels' time as a West Indies batsman, especially in Tests, has been pretty much the same, as an average of 28.73 over 29 matches will attest. He has appeared in 107 ODIs (average 30.27), which is again unexceptional. So, will the two-year banishment make him realise how much he has squandered his considerable talent, and therefore contribute to significantly altering his attitude to batsmanship and the game in general?
Or will he bristle defiantly, his misplaced anger fuelled by fair-weather friends convincing him that this is all a great conspiracy and that he has done nothing wrong? Given the degree of selfish, self-indulgent behaviour that defines prevailing youth culture, it will not be surprising if Samuels refuses to accept that he has played any role, however unwittingly, in his own impending alienation.
It is always somebody else's fault, in keeping with the siege mentality that repels even the mildest and most constructive of criticism, an insecurity and an immaturity that blights any prospect of real progress in contemporary Caribbean society.
Part of growing up is acknowledging when you have done wrong, for such an admission is the first step towards reconciliation and reformation. If you exist in the sort of delusional world where everything is irie, then there's no need to change anything. Before you know it, the world has passed you by and your disconnection from reality means you don't even have a clue as to how to get back on track.
On Monday night, Samuels informed an interviewer on a Jamaican radio station to the effect that as far as he was concerned, nothing had changed regarding his status in the West Indies training squad ahead of the Australian series and he was preparing to leave for Antigua where the preparatory camp is based this week.
Not for the first time, perception and reality are poles apart.
In an earlier era, he would have been permanently cast aside as a chronic under-achiever or lifted himself up and developed into one of the premier batsmen of modern times. That neither has happened is in keeping with the inertia that has West Indian cricket administrators and fans still dizzy with the prospect of recapturing past glories in the not-too-distant future.
It is this unfounded beliefÂ in the eventual fulfillment of an empty promise that nurtures the willingness to excuse the indiscretions of the modern crop.
At another time, or in another environment, you would give Marlon Samuels a very good chance of coming back better than before. You fear, though, that a cricketer of such sumptuous talent has contributed to his own demise and, sadly, doesn't even know it.
1 : Glenn McGrath ( Australia )
The outstanding pace bowler of his generation has his last chance to prove the point before he retires at the end of Australia's bid to win a third successive World Cup. The metronomic and still occasionally menacing McGrath was central to his country's last two successes - and he will be trebly determined to do it all over again.
2 : Mitchell Johnson ( Australia )
Left-arm pace bowler Johnson has been unable so far to convert the promise which first struck the likes of Australia greats Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh at the start of the 21st century. He remains an exciting prospect, though - and if he can stay fit the tall Queenslander can make an impact at the World Cup ... before setting his sights on a Test career.
3 : Andrew Symonds ( Australia )
Symonds' all-round ability is second to very few - as English cricket fans will know from his batting, bowling and fielding exploits with three counties, as well as in Australian colours in the 2005 NatWest Series and winter 2006/07. Birmingham-born Symonds was never seriously tempted by the prospect of playing for England - much to the detriment of a country currently short on potential match-winners.
4 : Mike Hussey ( Australia )
The left-hander had to wait an outrageously long time for his main chance at the highest level - but he wasted no more sparing the selectors' blushes for keeping him out in the cold so long. Hussey immediately developed a reputation as a one-day finisher in the Michael Bevan mould. But he is much more than that, adept at Graham Thorpe-like manipulation into gaps in both forms of the game and increasingly the glue the Aussies need in the middle overs.
5 : Cameron White ( Australia )
White is yet another Aussie - a fifth, even without the most obvious of the lot Ricky Ponting - who gets star billing, giving a fair indication of how far the world champions are ahead of the rest. Much like Hussey before him, White first hinted he may be a superstar in waiting by out-classing county championship opponents. That was for Somerset last summer, after he had been signed as a leg-spinner who could bat but soon proved his strongest suit was very much the latter. White has since shown he has a range of stroke - and time to play - which sets him apart from most.
6 : Mahendra Singh Dhoni ( India )
India's glamour-boy wicketkeeper-batsman is one of a clutch of international cricketers intent on raising the bar when it comes to plundering huge runs in the late stages of one-day games. The right-hander produces a bizarre flourish at the end of unfeasible big hits as the ball sails beyond the furthest boundary in which ever direction he has chosen. He lives on the edge of early dismissal in most innings - but if he is in for 10 minutes or more the opposition and most of the crowd ought to consider donning a suit of armour.
7 : Suresh Raina ( India )
Raina is another who has already shown England what he can do - and the 20-year-old left-hander may be about to come of age early in the Caribbean. He displayed great maturity as well as high class with successive half-centuries against Andrew Flintoff's hapless one-day tourists last year - before an anti-climactic Champions Trophy on home ground. Raina is very good already ... but is sure to get even better.
8 : Herschelle Gibbs ( South Africa )
Gibbs� arrival in India last autumn for the Champions Trophy was much-anticipated, not just because he is one of the world�s outstanding top-order strokemakers but because he had never received an assurance he would not be detained for questioning over the Hansie Cronje match-fixing scandal. With that awkward situation behind him, the time may be right for Gibbs to show off the best of his renowned abilities with the bat and in the field.
9 : Lasith Malinga ( Sri Lanka )
The �slinger� still has the element of surprise on his side. Fast bowler Malinga is also capable of unexpected accuracy when on song - and could have a few big-name batsmen on their way back before they have worked out what they are up against.
10 : Muttiah Muralitharan ( Sri Lanka )
Murali was the first man in cricket history to 1,000 international wickets - and now his great rival Shane Warne has vacated the Test as well as the one-day stage, the master off-spinner can go in search of still more victims as he sets the standard for a world-beater from a future generation.
11 : Chris Gayle ( West Indies )
Gayle's inscrutable demeanour means his true personality is always likely to remain something of a mystery to most. But there is nothing secret about the way he approaches his batting. One-day cricket allows the adventurous left-hander to give full rein to his attacking instincts, and the slow surfaces which can be expected on home ground should allow him to set himself to punish anything loose from the outset.
12 : Brian Lara ( West Indies )
Lara is imperious, ingenious and peerless when at the top of his form. Even when he is some way short of that pinnacle, the Trinidadian master batsman is still world class. A huge amount rests on his shoulders this spring - personally, for West Indies and for world cricket. The game needs West Indies to be competitive in their own World Cup, and Lara needs to prove his team can mix it with the best before he concludes an outstanding career which has spanned an era when the Caribbean's cricket love affair cooled.
13 : Ramnaresh Sarwan ( West Indies )
Ted Dexter, no less, predicted after Sarwans eye-catching Test debut that he would go on to record a career average of 50 plus. The West Indies vice-captain is currently running a little under that level in five-day cricket but is much closer in the one-day game. If the Windies are to be competitive this time, cultured batsman Sarwan is one of the men who must lead the way.
14 : Jerome Taylor ( West Indies )
It is 20 years since the Windies pace attack truly terrorised world cricket - although Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh were not a bad pairing from the last generation. Ever since, West Indies have been searching in vain for someone to emerge as a credible replacement for those two or for the likes of Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding et al. Finally in 22-year-old Taylor, it seems they may have done so. India were certainly suitably chastened by him as he gave them an uncomfortable hurry-up last year.
15 : Mohammad Yousuf ( Pakistan )
Yousuf is a bona fide member of an elite clutch of batsmen at the top of the world in both forms of cricket. His rivals include compatriot and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Mike Hussey, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and - occasionally - Kevin Pietersen. If any is as reliable as Yousuf it would have to be Hussey or Kallis; more often than not the best chance of getting rid of him, or for that matter Inzamam, is to hope he runs himself out.
16 : Shoaib Akhtar ( West Indies )
Reprieved, like his pace partner Mohammad Asif, after the Pakistan Cricket Board controversially overturned a long-term ban for a positive drugs test. On the assumption he remains clear to take his place this spring, fast bowler Shoaib will be one of the biggest draws of the World Cup - as he is whenever and wherever he plays. His new-ball spells are pure theatre, no-one sure whether the mood will push him to outright pace and hostility or cannier methods. Shoaib is adept at both, and if he goes through his repertoire of slower deliveries - which can occasionally end up as unintentional beamers or near unplayable, looping yorkers - only the batsmen will be complaining.
17 : Shahid Afridi ( Pakistan )
Another 'joker' from the Pakistan camp. Afridi can out-hit even Mahendra Singh Dhoni, or he can miss a straight one and leave the crowd feeling robbed of their rightful fun. Even mishits can clear the ropes, such is Afridi's bat-speed - and in a matter of minutes, he can turn a par score into something unchasable. His brisk wrist-spin is a second-string ability which can occasionally bemuse the opposition.
18 : Kevin Pietersen ( England )
England are short on cricketers who can turn a game, especially in the one-day format. The mercurial Pietersen is one, though - and if his team are to make a credible challenge they will need either him or Andrew Flintoff to produce his best. Pietersen has an unorthodox, over-reaching technique all of his own - defying physics by somehow retaining his balance, timing, placement and power when it looks for all the world as if he is about to fall over.
19 : Andrew Flintoff ( England )
A fit Flintoff is an asset to any side in the world. If the all-rounder's ankle allows he can bowl almost as fast as anyone - and if he finds his form with the bat he can hit the ball as far as anyone. Should he fire on both fronts, England could yet surprise one or two in the Caribbean - but if he and Pietersen are off colour it is hard to see where the inspiration could come from.
20 : Elton Chigumbura ( Zimbabwe )
Chigumbura is potentially another significant talent among the minnows. More Andrew Flintoff than Shahriar Nafees, the all-rounder hits emphatically down the ground, has pace with the ball - and is young enough to be capable of plenty more significant progress, as long as the struggles of his largely outclassed team-mates do not drag him down.
Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said Australian cricket was saddened to learn today of the sudden death of Pakistan coach and former England Test player Bob Woolmer during the ICC World Cup in the West Indies.
“Australian fans will best remember him for the runs he made against us in Ashes cricket but we also remember him as a pioneering coach, as an international man of cricket though his work for England, South Africa and Pakistan, and as one of cricket’s gentlemen,” Mr Sutherland said.
“Our condolences go to his family and loved ones at this sad time”.
The closing ceremony of the World Cup cost taxpayers in Barbados more than US$750,000.
Investigations by the Midweek Nation have revealed that the fee charged by artistic director Peter Minshall of Trinidad and Tobago was US$500,000, covering pan players, carnival puppets, Moko jumbies, Bele dancers and field performers. The majority of this sum, as indicated by documentation obtained through Minshall's business entity, The Callaloo Company, went toward performers and crew (US$200,000) and puppet manufacture (US$75,000). The breakdown of the costs also included large sums for auditions, training, costume manufacture and shipping crates.
The cultural presentation, which lasted about 45 minutes, was seen by television audiences for fewer than 15 minutes. Additionally, because of the late start, the extravaganza was viewed by fans at Kensington Oval in relative darkness.
The cost attached to the cultural presentation has sparked controversy, with many questioning whether top Barbadian artistic directors and production experts had been considered for this stage of the country's biggest ever international event.
Further investigations by the Midweek Nation have also revealed that local organisers entered into an arrangement with a Miami-based company called ACT Productions Inc., located at 1688 Meridian Avenue, Suite 400, Miami Beach, Florida, to look after the technical side of the presentation.
In correspondence sent to Dr Allyson Leacock, consultant executive producer for Saturday's cultural finale, ACT Production Inc's management producer Bruce Orosz settled on a fee of US$270,204, with a requirement that local authorities deposited US$202,653 up front.
Among the areas for which the charges applied were pre-production (site inspection and show-planning), provision of lighting system, band location lighting package, production crew, television lighting engineering, air travel, insurance and legal fees. The highest individual quotation of US$79 300 went toward the lighting system.
The Midweek Nation has also discovered that prior to the reopening of Kensington Oval, a foreign company got the contract in September 2006 to provide cleaning services at the Fontabelle, St Michael facility. Cleanevent International Pty Ltd., based in South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, was paid BDS$18 700 by the Barbados LOC, World Cup Barbados Inc., via wire transfer to the Australian and New Zealand Banking Group Limited. Sources indicated that company then sub-contracted local entities to do the work at the Oval under the direction of its representative, Paul "Digga" Barrett.
This sort of arrangement, it has been revealed, was repeated at other stadia across the region where countries were divided into "precincts" under the management of other Cleanevent representatives.
Efforts over the past two days to contact Leacock for comment on the logistics of the cultural presentation proved futile. Yesterday chief executive officer of World Cup Barbados Inc., Stephen Alleyne, declined immediate comment, indicating that a media conference would be held to deal with issues related to the tournament.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Those golfing Segway'ers thought they were tops, but the Segway Polo-ists aren't going to let the Seg-golfers have all the Segway sport glory, oh no. A bunch of Segway owners shot some video o of themselves playing Polo… on Segways, and added a weird sound track. Guess there won't be no more gas guzzling horses on the Polo field!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Without any doubt in my mind, this has got to be the most unusual and the strangest sport today. It happens in Cooper Hill, England. It is incredibly dangerous that it is very uncommon if all the players leave without a broken bone or an injured skull. How is it played? first, a master of ceremonies gives the countdown - "One to be ready, two to be steady, three to prepare, four to be off" - and then up to 20 contestants chase a seven-pound circular block of cheese down a steep, bumpy hillside, trying to catch it before it gets to the bottom of 300 yards below. Four games are played over the course of one day, including one for women.
This is a video of a recent competition. Watch and decide for yourself. Now, how do you define an "extreme sport"?
Know more HERE.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
The king of finger games, Finger Jousting, is having a competition to find "the most epic photograph of finger jousting in the most unique places and situations" Run by the World Finger Jousting Federation, headed by Julian 'Lord of the Joust' Gluck the competition is open to jousters from around the world, just send them a photograph of yourself in an 'insane' joust or in an extreme environment and you could win the coveted prize of a Finger Jousting T Shirt... as well as the utmost respect of your peers. Competition closes on April 31st.
If you are a complete finger fencing novice and new to the world of the 'bobbo lance' and ' majigger' then you can find all you need to start playing at the Finger Jousting website.
Please click here to know more about Finger Jousting.
Anybody who watched the Kentucky Derby on Saturday saw horse racing’s opposite extremes play out within seconds.
There was elation, as the undefeated Big Brown romped to victory with astonishing ease, stamping himself a possible super horse and Triple Crown winner.
And there was devastation, as the filly Eight Belles freakishly broke both front ankles galloping out past the finish line after running a surprising second. She was euthanized immediately on the track.
In perhaps the most poignant moment of the day, Big Brown spooked at the sight of the stiff and lifeless filly as he jogged back to the winner’s circle, throwing jockey Kent Desormeaux from his back.
Unfortunately, Eight Belles’ demise wasn’t an aberration. Too many times, we’ve seen racing’s biggest days marred by tragedy.
To know more about Horse Racing, click HERE.
This is a marathon held in New York City.
Here are some H&N runners who completed this past weekend’s ING New York City Marathon. They ran 26.2 miles in costume, as a snowman and a penguin. Amazing. And Frickin’ CRAZY!! Gotta love it.
Know more about Penguine Marathon by clicking HERE.
I was trying to research about all kinds of sports around the world yesterday. My brother asked me to do the research for him as part of his project.
Little did I know that there over 600 kinds of sports. I have encountered sports like Wheelchair racing, Wood chopping, Razza Racing, Cutthroat, Killer, Russian pyramid and
I got so fascinated not by the multitude of sports but by the fact that I know very little of them.
So I have decided to blog about each one of them and i am focusing here on my blog all the weird sports that i have encountered. Here is for a start. I got this from basketbawful.blogspot.com/2007_08_01_archive.html
What it is: A contest in which two human beanbags clad in giant diapers "compete" by picking up a babies, facing each other, and then shaking the little bastards until they start start crying.
Who wins: The first baby to start crying. In the case of a tie -- i.e., they start mouth-blasting at the same time -- the loudest brat is recognized as the "shourisha" (which is Japanese for "flying Elephant trumpet"). The losing baby is then presented with a tiny ceremonial sword and forced to commit seppuku. Personally, I prefer the "frisbee method" of committing seppuku.
How it began: Japan is a land of mystery and ancient wisdom. For this reason, most of their daily activities are based on the fathomless principles of elder generations. This is also true of their sports. According to one Japanese proverb, "When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn." It was impossible to build a sport around that adage, however, since nobody knows what the hell it means. Another Japanese axiom is that "crying babies grow fast." For this reason, many people in Japan believe that the louder an infant screams, the more gods have blessed it. So in essence, Baby-cry Sumo was created to pray for a baby's health.
When it began: The art of terrorizing crying babies was first developed in Japan over 400 years ago. However, the first official Baby-cry Sumo event took place in 1993.
When and where it takes place: Baby-cry Sumo takes place at the Sensoji temple, Tokyo, in April (this year's tournament pitted 84 squealing babies against each other). There are also contests at Ikiko shrine in Kanuma-ski, Tochigi, in September; Yamajioji temple in Shimotsu-cho, Wakayama, in October; and at Saikyoji temple, Hirado, in February. In America, Baby-cry Sumo takes place almost every day, but it is often referred to as "parenting."
Special encouragement: Since Baby-cry Sumo takes place in Japanese temples, the priests act as ad hoc referees. They even assist in the contest by shouting and waving at the babies.
What it means to basketball: In the NBA, the defining characteristic of champions is known as "killer instinct." Many great players (Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan) have it, while others (David Robinson, Karl Malone, and Dirk Nowitzki) do not. Very little is known about killer instinct or how to obtain it. However, I propose that anybody who is forced to duel another man armed with nothing but a screaming baby would either develop a killer instinct or be destroyed. So Dirk, wherever you are, I suggest a strict regimine of Baby-cry Sumo before the next season begins. After all, your legacy is at stake.
Please see my comprehensive list of sports by clicking HERE.