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Showing posts from August, 2008

Australian School Bans Cartwheels, Fun

Australian School Bans Cartwheels, Fun
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2008

My youngest daughter fell in love with Olympic gymnastics this year. The last two weeks have been a constant flurry of cartwheels, flip-overs, and handstands. Sometimes she cartwheels around as a mode of transportation.

Belgian Gardens elementary school of Towsnville, Queensland, Australia would have a hissy fit.

They recently banned students from doing cartwheels, handstands, somersaults, and any other form of gymnastic tumbling that kids love to do. They will also only give one serving of gruel at lunchtime, and you should never ask for more.

According to a recent news story in the Townsville Bulletin, Belgian Gardens had declared these types of gymnastics "a medium risk level 2," which ranks it right up there with soccer, tennis, cricket, and running with scissors, all of which are not banned by the school. Except the scissors thing.

Education Queensland, part of Australia's Department…

I am now a big fan of Vermillion Lies

I normally don't post non-humor stuff to this blog, but I had such a good time at the opening night of the Indianapolis Fringe Festival, I had to tell everyone about it.

(This review originally appeared on Smaller Indiana.)

Vermillion Lies is what you would get if Tom Waits and Tom Ze formed a cabaret duo. And were women. And sisters. And one of them sounded liked Billie Holiday.

I got to see Zoë (the Billie Holiday soundalike) and Kim Vermillion, the two sisters from Oakland, on opening night at the Indy Fringe Festival's outdoor stage. (That's Zoë on the right, in the red dress.)

If I were on the music/art fringe scene on the west coast, I'd have something really clever to say about juxtapositions of styles and modern retro cabaret. But I'm from Indiana, so all I can say is wow.

Wow wow wow wow WOW!

I've been a music reviewer for over seven years, with a special place in my heart for female acoustic singer-songwriters. A woman, her guitar, and some emotional a…

I love Kitchen Pundit - Michael Phelps photo

I can't help it, I just love the I Can Has Cheezburger family of websites. I made this one on Kitchen Pundit.

Swish-Whack, Take That! Awards for Week 2

Swish-Whack, Take That! Awards for Week 2
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

Since the Olympics are in their second week, we have a second week of the Swish-Whack Take That! Awards. The awards were inspired by American fencer Mariel Zagunis who won gold in the individual saber event both in 2004 and 2008. Her 2004 gold was America's first fencing medal in 100 years, yet NBC only showed 30 seconds of coverage that year, and only the final touch of this year's victory. The awards are named to honor her achievements, and to remind NBC that there are more Olympic sports than swimming and gymnastics.

To start, remember how Australia's 5-time gold medalist swimmer Ian Thorpe said there was no way Michael Phelps could win eight gold medals in one Olympics? And, remember how Michael Phelps won eight gold medals in one Olympics? Yeah, that was cool.

So the first Swish-Whack goes to Michael Phelps. Normally, Swish-Whacks go to the little guy who does something amazing, l…

Clayton, California Mayor Bans Children's Vegetable Stand

I thought Ebenezer Scrooge was cured if his stinginess and dislike of children. But apparently, he relapsed and got himself elected the mayor of Clayton, California.

That’s because Clayton mayor Gregory Manning shut down a vegetable stand run by 11-year-old Katie Lewis, and her 3-year-old sister, Sabrina.

According to a story on, the two girls were selling homegrown watermelons for $1, and zucchini. A town official told Mike Lewis, Katie’s dad, that it was all right if the stand was open on the weekends. But after two (TWO!) residents called to ask if the stand was legal, Mayor Manning brought the long arm of the zoning law down on the two little girls who just wanted to sell healthy food to their neighbors.

(This is when you all go “awwwww.”)

Mike Lewis compared his daughters’ entrepreneurial efforts to a lemonade stand, which Mayor Manning says are also illegal. However, he says town officials overlook those, since they only last a day or two. But not Katie. She’s saving her…

Don't call Lucas Oil Stadium "The Luke"

Apparently, Forrest Lucas, founder/owner of Lucas Oil, hates it when you call Lucas Oil Stadium "The Luke." Lucas says we're giving free publicity to Russian rival Lukoil if we call it "The Luke."

Forrest, you've got to understand that while the media, the Colts, and city officials will always refer to it as Lucas Oil Stadium, fans will forego the six syllable moniker for something easier to say. Something that has, oh, two syllables. Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia is "The Linc," despite the gnashing of teeth from Lincoln Financial.

But I can get on board with it. I can refrain from calling it "The Luke" for, say, two seats in your luxury box at the Colts-Patriots game

At least didn't buy the naming rights.

(Hat tip to Jennifer at the, Indianapolis' ABC affiliate)

Swish-Whack Take That! Awards for 2008

Swish-Whack Take That! Awards for 2008
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

Swish-whack, take that!

Four years ago, during the 2004 Athens Olympics, I created the Swish-Whack awards to shine a little light on the Olympic sport of fencing. Since it gets no coverage on TV, but it's such a cool sport, I named it after the sound the foil makes when a point is scored, and give it to people who surprise and astound us.

I created the 2004 Swish-Whack, Take That! awards after America's Mariel Zagunis, then 19 years old, won America's first fencing gold medal in 100 years. NBC's coverage was so lame, they only showed her three points, and then skipped the national anthem. The entire coverage lasted for 30 seconds.

Fencing is one of the few Olympic sports that are actually based on real fighting and killing skills people needed centuries ago: fencing, archery, shooting, javelin, and race walking, to name a few. As I pointed out in 2004, all the other sports are based on…

I has a funny

I made this over at the lolcats I Can Has Cheezburger site, Pundit Kitchen. I don't know why, but it cracked me up way more than it should have. You can build your own lol pictures, and be a complete geek like me!

(Note: Avada Kedavra is the killing spell in Harry Potter.)

BlogIndiana blogging conference coming up -- and I'm speaking!

It’s nearly time! The BlogIndiana conference is coming up on Saturday, August 16 at IUPUI in Indianapolis. If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, you can get a 15% discount if you use the code BLOGDISC in the online registration page. (Registration is $49)

I’m giving a session, Writing for Blogs, at 10:45 on Saturday. It’s all about how to write so your blogs are 1) easily read, and 2) easily found. Learn the 6 simple rules for writing well, how to measure your writing clarity, and a few rules for search engine writing.

Whether you’re a newbie blogger, a corporate blogger, or a big time pro who just wants to hear the shrieks of adoring fans, this is the place to be.

Paris Hilton Announces Candidacy for President

Paris for Prez
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

It was the snit heard 'round the world. The snarky, scantily-clad video response that got pundits tongues wagging about something other than politics, at least until their wives saw them.

Paris Hilton says she's running for President.

The vapid, blond heiress and star of "The Simple Life," announced her candidacy in a spoof video on Hilton said she was running because that "wrinkly white-haired guy" – John McCain, for those of you emerging from under your rocks – used her image in a TV spot against his opponent, presumptive President of the United States, Barack Obama.

"Hey America, I'm Paris Hilton, and I'm a celebrity too," she said without a sense of irony or shame. "Only I'm not from the olden days, and I'm not promising change like that other guy. I'm just hot."

Oh man, this is really bad. I've always been a big supporter of third par…