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Cardboard Tube Fighting

Image by Anna Fischer via Flickr

I’ve often wondered who invented the cardboard tube. Okay, honestly until about five minutes ago I’d never given it a thought, but if I had the chance to meet the person who did invent the cardboard tube I’d like to go o them and say, “Really? Of all the things that you could have invented that would have actually been of benefit to mankind you came up with a tube to wind gift-wrapping paper and toilet roll around? What were you thinking?”

At this point some of you may be saying, “don’t be so critical”. To which I respond, “who are you talking to? I’m not even in the same room with you. I can’t hear you.” However, I digress I know there really are many uses for cardboard tubes. There is a whole paper towel tube craft industry out there and who hasn’t made napkin holders out of cardboard tubing? Perhaps the most interesting use for the product was devised by the “Cardboard Tube Fighting League” or as those in the league like to call it the CTFL. The name sort of says what they use cardboard tubes for so I’ll just skip over that part.

Cardboard tube fighting is one of the world’s lesser-known sports and some say perhaps that’s for good reason. You may be thinking this is a sport enjoyed by similarly minded people destined to die virgins, who enjoy getting together to discuss comic books, Dr. Who, Steampunk and debating whether a weekly shower is really necessary. Let me assure you that okay, while some of that may be true, cardboard tube fighting is a legitimate sport.

The sport is tolerated in at least three continents that I’m aware of, North America, Europe and Australia. There are literally dozens and dozens of people that take up this sport despite what their families may say.

The creator of this sport is Seattleite, Robert Easley or Rob to his friends. As Mr. Easley told a news reporter who drew the short straw, “You are attempting to break your opponents tube without breaking your own.” This may be an appropriate moment to point out that Mr. Easly also is also actively involved in “Live Action Role Playing” games. Now what is a sport without rules? For cardboard tube fighting the rules are pretty straightforward. Rule number 1, never talk about cardboard tube fighting. Actually that isn’t a rule I just think it’s probably a good idea if you don’t want to have total strangers randomly beating you up.

The rules state combatants must not to break their tubes. If the tube is broken the holder is determined to be a loser. If both duelists break their tubes they are both considered losers. I’m thinking even if they don’t break their tubes — no never mind. Stabbing and lunging is not permitted. No face hitting. Combatants must only use official CTFL cardboard tubes. Tubes must be held near the end. If a combatant holds the tube in the middle it is cause for disqualification. There are a few more rules but at this point even I don’t care what they are.

Competitions can either be multi-stage tournaments or battles. Tournaments have one winner, while battles result in shared victories. Tournament bouts can last between 30 minutes to hours or even minutes that just seem like hours. As an added bonus battle participants are permitted to wear cardboard armor. If that is not enticement enough to get involved, battle participants are subjected to live bagpipe music. Bragging rights and handmade cardboard swords are awarded as prizes.

Currently, there are three active branches of the CTFL located in Seattle, San Francisco, USA and Sydney, Australia. Bristol in the United Kingdom also has a fledging group of cardboard tube fighting enthusiasts.  The strength of the sport can best be summed up in the CTFL’s three core beliefs. People need more ways to play and take themselves less seriously. Events can be fun without alcohol and cardboard sword fighting is fun. The CTFL is always looking for new recruits and if you want more information you can check out their Facebook page. Any day now they are going to break 100 likes.

Published in The Cascade newspaper http://ufvcascade.ca

To B or Double-D, that is the question

You may be surprised to learn that university newspapers are minimized by “professional” news people as not being seen as a source of serious journalism. We are accused of not focusing on the important issues in the world. Well, let me assure you this columnist is certainly not going be accused of ignoring important issues. War, crime, poverty and violence; a look at current news sources show how important these topics are.  So, with that in mind I think that it is essential in my first column to cover an issue that is being sadly overlooked. That issue is of course, breast implants. Yes, breast implants, more specifically breast augmentation. This issue is a sensitive one and as I’m sure you’ll agree, a topic such as this cries out for empathic handling by a sensitive and caring columnist. Unfortunately, she was unavailable.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that breast augmentation is the number-one cosmetic surgical procedure undertaken in the United States and has been for the last five consecutive years. (269,203 procedures in 2010) Over two million women in the U.S. have breast implants (I’m not making this stuff up). You might be wondering who is getting all these implants and isn’t there a danger of creating a silicone shortage? The average age for women getting their breasts augmented is 34, but that didn’t stop Jenna Franklin of Warsop Val in England. The parents of this 15-year-old girl went along with her choice of a 16th birthday gift (as any responsible parents would do); getting a breast enlargement. As Miss Franklin explained to The Guardian newspaper, “You’ve got to have breasts to be successful.” This teenager no doubt has a great future ahead of her.

Just in case you think Jenna is the only deep thinker among us let me refer you to the story of Joan Lloyd, who at the age of 65 made the rational decision to dip into her life savings in order to increase her breast size from A to F. Joan reports that now, after the surgery she dates men as young as 24. She says that, “some of them don’t even know how old I am.” I’m sure her four children, 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren are very proud. Not to be outdone, 83 year old Marie Kolstad also recently underwent breast implant surgery. The New York Times reports her reason for the surgery was, “I want my children to be proud of what I look like.” (No word yet on the age of the men she is now dating.”)

Silicone gel-filled breast implants
Image via Wikipedia

Perhaps you may be considering getting breast augmentation surgery and have many questions. For example,
1. “Will my implants explode while I am flying?”
Put your mind at ease. No, there is no danger of your breast implants exploding at high altitudes (they might temporarily expand a little, but that generally isn’t considered a problem). OR

2. “Will I have to change the way I do things day-to-day?”
Generally you will not have to adjust your life, however when shopping be very careful when turning quickly in the glassware department (you break it you buy it) and you will need to practice the following phrase: “Hey, my eyes are up here.”

For other questions you will want to ask your surgeon. It is suggested you take someone along with you to that meeting for support. (NOTE TO MEN: If you are present during the consultation refrain from repeatedly asking the doctor, “what’s the largest size available?”) (NOTE TO WOMEN: Avoid looking at any photos of Tori Spelling’s boob job. All I’ll say on this is “Eewww!”) It is important to be aware that many women will not agree with your decision to have breast augmentation. Radical feminist Sheila stated in an interview that breast implants are a “harmful cultural practice” rather than a liberating one. On the other hand, she stopped shaving her legs and armpits around 1973.

You may think that breast augmentation is strictly for women. Well you’re wrong. Breast augmentation for men (technically Pectoral Augmentation) is gaining in popularity. Hey it beats having to exercise. One fake pec recipient told Fox News, “”People buy cars, right? People buy property. I thought, ‘I’ll buy a set of pecs.’ Like shopping at Crate & Barrel.” Who could possibly argue with that logic? But that is a whole different article. Did I mention that silicone breast implants were invented by men? Go figure.

Originally published in The Cascade newspaper

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I Don’t Hate Children

Shockingly diverse kindergarten group in Paris
Image via Wikipedia

Okay, let’s get this out in the open right away. Regardless of what you might have heard “I don’t hate children”. Let me repeat that, “I don’t hate children”. There, now that I have that off my chest I can begin. Okay, just to clarify I’m not saying I like children, I’m just saying I don’t hate them. Are we good now?  Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, just so there is no misunderstanding let me be clear in fact by saying there are definitely some children I don’t particularly like all that much, but ” I don’t hate children”..

Okay, if I’m being totally honest, there are maybe one or two children I could be classified as hating, but they’re not really very nice children, so I feel justified in saying that “I don’t hate children”. Okay and maybe that school bus load of children that yelled particularly nasty comments at me as the bus drove by, well, let’s just say I don’t remember you fondly. Oh, and to the ginger haired boy in the back seat of that bus, you might want to get those spots on your behind checked out by a doctor, very nasty. Okay, but apart from those one or two understandable exceptions let me make it very clear once and for all, “I DON’T HATE CHILDREN!” Okay, now their parents on the other hand…

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Dealing with Procrastination

The Passage of Time
Image by ToniVC via Flickr

Well, I’ve finally decided it’s time to deal with my procrastination head on. In this article I’ll speak to the issue of …hold on I’ve just realized I have to take the garbage out.

Okay, I’m back. As I was saying procrastination is something that can be dealt with by a well organized plan…hold on I just realized that a show I wanted to see on the miracle food chopper is coming on. Back in 30.

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