In 1973, inventor Martin Cooper made the first mobile phone call. In the time since that first cellular call, the number of cell phones in use has now reached more than five billion throughout the world. With that many cell phones it was only a matter of time before someone came up with a use for them that actually made sense.
Christine Lund, an interpreter in Finland founded the sport of “Kännykänheiton” which roughly translated means, “Boy, it is very cold here in Finland. I wish we had really good television. There is never anything to watch except shows on pickling herring. Why does my cell phone company charge me so much when I can never get decent reception? I’m going to take this phone back to the store and show them exactly what I think of their crappy service.” For the benefit of English speaking participants the name of the sport was shortened to “Mobile Phone Throwing.”
What started in Finland as a sport with just a few fans has grown to become a sport enjoyed throughout Europe and the United States. There are annual world championships held in Savonlinna, Finland, where the best throwers congregate to compete for the title of “the person that throws the cell phone really, really, really far”. (Finnish is extremely difficult to translate into English.) The 2011 World Championships attracted competitors from Australia, Finland, Russia, Ukraine and the United States.
Even though there are competitors from both Russia and the United States, the organizers do not require doping tests on participants. Being a sport, mobile phone throwing is governed by a formal set of rules. There are four categories of phone throwing: Juniors, Freestyle, Original and Team Original. Each of these categories is governed with minor variations by the same set of rules.
For the true aficionado the “original” category is considered the purest version of the sport. In “original” the phone must be tossed using the “traditional over the shoulder throw.” There has yet to be any official confirmation that points are deducted if anyone in the male division throws “like a girl.” Each thrower is permitted two throws, but each throw must be made using a different mobile phone. A competitor cannot take longer than 60 seconds between throws. The competitor who throws the cell phone the greatest distance is declared the winner.
The 2011 winner in the Men’s category was Oskari Heinonen who won with a throw of 76 meters. (If there are any Americans reading this 76 m is approximately 220 feet farther than the record distance for tobacco spitting.) Oskari did not come close to beating the world record distance of 94.7 meters, which was set by Mikko Lampi in 2005.
To help keep in top form between championships there is an Android app available called, “Throw Me” that is designed to let you practice throwing your phone and determining how far it would go. It is important to remember not to actually throw your phone, but just go through the motions. On a personal note, be advised that if you throw your phone, even if it is for the legitimate purpose of a recognized sport, your cell provider insists you keep paying until the end of your three-year contract. I bet Oskari never had that problem.
Originally appeared in The Cascade newspaper http://ufvcascade.ca
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
The average IQ in the United States is 98 and in Canada it is 99. To be considered a moron, a person’s IQ must score 50-69. The American Psychological Association reports that watching reality TV is a leading cause of mental illness. Physicist Kim Ung-young has a verified IQ if 210; doesn’t watch reality TV. Mathematician/Physicist Stephen Hawking has an IQ over 160; doesn’t watch reality TV. Actress Sharon Stone has an IQ of 154; appeared in a movie without underwear and flashed her lady business. So, can someone please explain to me the popularity of reality television?
Thanks for your reasoned arguments and in response let me just say, “Toddlers and Tiaras”. I’m sure to the programming execs it must have seemed a good idea at the time, but I can only assume there were copious amounts of alcohol or other substances involved.
TV Exec 1: Okay, we missed out on “Survivor”, “Housewives of New York”, and “Temptation Island” whose left to humiliate? It’s all been done.
TV Exec 2: How about we film some parents dressing their kids up like sexually provocative adults and making them gyrate on stage for very little prize money and every once in a while a puppy dog? Oh and lots and lots of trophies; stuff that will look good inside a mobile home.
TV Exec 1: That’s too much. No way anyone one is going to do that to their kids and no one would watch it. Do you think the viewers are morons?
TV Exec 2: Children’s beauty pageants.
TV Exec 1: Oh.
Is it just me or do other people think there is something not quite right about what this show is documenting? I’m not sure it’s normal to dress a three-year old as Dolly Parton and give her false boobies and a padded tushie. Now as you know by now I don’t like to be judgmental, but in the name of all that is holy how did this ever become acceptable TV fare? In case you have never seen this gem of a show let me share some coaching advice a mother gave to her four-year-old daughter during an episode, “Okay, now rip off your skirt. Now swing it. Shake that bootie good”.
Lest you think “Toddlers and Tiaras” has the monopoly on “What were you thinking?” allow me to point out a couple of other masterful marketing gems. Abercrombie and Fitch, well-known for its refined and tasteful products marketed padded, push-up bras to eight year olds. I remember when A&F sold safari gear. Tesco, a large store chain in Britain marketed a pole-dancing kit in its toy section until the famous British press pointed out this was inappropriate. Another company sells a nipple tassel t-shirt sized for 0-6 month old children. What kind of adult would think this was a good idea?
Instead of producing the same old reality TV shows I think that they should create a show that focuses on Darwin’s theory on natural selection. Oh wait, I guess they did. Never mind.
 Editor’s Note: This paper makes no claims to the accuracy of information provided by this writer. To be perfectly honest I think he makes most of these claims up. Well all except the lady business. I once spent an evening just repeating that scene. You know in the days of VHS it wasn’t easy to do, but in Blu-ray, wow the clarity is amazing.
 Editor’s Note: To the TLC legal dept. let me make it clear that we don’t believe this is how your executives decided on your delightful reality television show, so don’t include us in the lawsuit.
Originally published in The Cascade newspaper