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
At the recent Oscars ceremony, Mr. Rorke wore a stylish white open necked suit like garment and in a locket around his neck was a memorial photo of his recently deceased dog, Loki. Boy, I would have loved to have heard that night’s acceptance speech. Now,I don’t for a moment suggest that Mr. Rourke is responsible for the twisted way North Americans have been humanizing their dogs, no for that I blame Paris Hilton. Photo after photo of her with her Chihuahua being carried everywhere as some sort of ugly fashion accessory. It was not long before similar body twitching, snarling nasty little creatures began appearing on the arms of tweens and teenagers. (You know who you are.)
In the United States, doggie spending survives death. The death of the owner that is. A whopping one million dogs are said to be the main beneficiary to a will. In 2007 the queen of mean, Leona Helmsley left $12 million in her will to her dog, Trouble.(Reduced to a measly $2 million by mean Manhattan judge Troy Webber in February 2009.)
I was sitting around the other day, as you do, pondering the important things in life. With the world seemingly on the edge of financial collapse, tens of thousands of people losing their jobs and the alarming increase in crime, the more I thought, the more I began to wonder how the Burger King Corporation was doing. I know what you’re saying; it’s not easy being number two in the fast food industry.
You’ll be happy to hear that in 2008 Burger King held its own. In the fourth quarter profits were up 42 percent. With almost $650 million in revenue they seem to be doing most things right. You might be asking what aren’t they doing right?
1. Not letting criminals know they don’t actually keep the $650 million in cash at the restaurants.
In Colorado Springs, a man in his twenties using a six shooter robbed a Burger King and left with a few dollars in a takeout bag. A short time later, a man matching his description hurled a rock through the local Dairy Queen drive-thru window. No word on whether the suspect was lactose intolerant or just had an aversion to Dilly® Bars.
2. Not being quite selective enough when hiring their employees.
The Seattle Times reported that an 18 year old night shift manager will likely face felony charges for being involved in his own armed robbery. During the robbery of the Burger King, the shift manager was hit in the face and head with the robber’s revolver. The King County Sheriff’s Office reported that the shift manager and the robber “were in cahoots”. Cahoots, now there’s a word that is definitely being under-utilized in the 21st century.
3. Not quite getting the idea behind a dress code.
In Christchurch, New Zealand, a Burger King outlet banned students wearing school uniforms from entering the restaurant. No word on whether the ban will be expanded to include nuns wearing habits.
4. Introducing the “Angry Whopper®” to their menu in January 2009.
The Palm Beach Post reported that an enraged man at the drive-thru of the Burger King phoned 911 to report that he was unhappy with his order. He wanted lemonade and couldn’t get it. Police responded and a 66 year old man is facing charges of misusing 911. It is unclear at this time whether he had included the “Angry Whopper®” in his order.
5. “Flame”, Burger King’s broiled meat scented body spray.
In a somewhat related note Reuters Life! reports that the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in India is set to release a cow urine soft drink. So far Burger King has made no comment.
For my first blog I thought I’d write a piece that would make readers laugh until they cried. After quickly realizing my writing just isn’t that funny, I decided to write this piece instead.
Like me, in these uncertain times I’m sure you’re asking yourself: what can I do to help foster world peace? I’ve just spent the last 30 seconds contemplating that very question and only stopped when I said “HEY!” No actually, I really did. No one else is here at the moment to confirm that I actually said it, but I’ll have to ask you just to trust me on this. Anyway, as I was saying after I had said “HEY!” (not kidding) it dawned on me that I had just missed Chinese New Year and this is the year of the ox. Now, about this time you might be asking “where is this guy going with this?” (and let me tell you I can appreciate why you might be posing this question, but can I ask you something? When you asked that question did you say it out loud? I only ask because of that whole “Hey!” part at the beginning.)
Okay as I was saying, Chinese New Year, what gives with that? You’d think a civilization that is thousands of years old and has contributed such noble advances to world peace as gun powder and those spiffy terra cotta warriors would know when January 1st was? Now lest you think I am in some way belittling Chinese culture or tradition let me address New Years in Tibet or “Losar” as it is known (I wouldn’t make something like that up). So, these bunch of losars (celebrants of the festival Losar) ring in New Years between January and March. (Not for the entire time you losar, the date changes each year.) By now you must be thinking “those wacky Asians”, but let’s keep moving west.
In India or party central as it’s known to millions, you’ll need to block out March through April (those strange customer service conversations are starting to make sense). Over in Iran set your New Years calendar to the first day of spring (not known as party central by anyone). In the countries where the Coptic Orthodox Church is supreme be ready to wow down on September 11th while over at the Eastern Orthodox Church the big ball drops on January 14th unless you live in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Romania, Syria or Turkey where they said to heck with that as it was too confusing for the tourists who expect to get drunk on December 31st. Finally lets not forget those fun loving neo-pagans who celebrate the Celtic Wheel of the Year around November 1st. (Do not even go there with me!)
Where was I? That’s right, world peace. I’m getting tired, why don’t we tackle that after we finish celebrating New Years.