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Ripples #30

Compiled and Written by Lenny Giteck

 
Is President Obama Building a New 
Swimming Pool at the White House? 
 
Our friends at the British tabloid Daily Mail recently raised that intriguing — if completely unsubstantiated — possibility
 on their dailymail.co.uk Web site. According to the report, a mysterious hole, 100 by 100 feet in size, has been dug on the White House lawn, in front of the venerated structure and near the West Wing. 
 
Notes the Daily Mail: “Official explanations have ranged from an update of the air conditioning system to something 'security' related. But that has not stopped speculation that the President is installing something else entirely — from a swimming pool to a spa. Others have guessed it could be an expansion of the presidential bunker, which was originally built in the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt.” 
 
Personally, Ripples finds it hard to believe that the First Family would want to swim or soak right in front of multitudes of gawking tourists — not to mention that the location of the alleged pool or spa would give the Secret Service one huge, collective stroke.
 
Ripples has come up with an alternative theory to explain the mystery, which can be summed up as follows: Attack of the Giant Tea Party Gophers. Can a Hollywood horror movie of the same name be far off? 
 
Photo: To see the mystery hole in the White House lawn, click here. 
 
 
Why Has the National Mall’s Reflecting 
Pool Become One Big, Ugly Mud Pit?  
 
Still on the subject of the nation’s capital… 
 
If you haven’t visited Washington, D.C., since November of last year, you may not know what has been transpiring at the reflecting pool on the National Mall: It has been undergoing extensive repairs to solve a leakage problem, as well as to install an improved circulation system that will make the water cleaner. As a result, the once-lovely pool now looks like a singularly unattractive mud pit. 
 
But do not despair, patriotic Ripples reader: According to Steve Lorenzetti with the National Park Service, the renovation is on track despite the pool’s sad appearance at the moment. "I describe it as almost done with the infrastructure necessary for us to finish this project," he said in an article on cnn.com. According to the Web site, the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool project is slated to be finished in the spring of 2012.
 
Although the completed pool reportedly will contain one-third less water than before and be shallower than it was, Lorenzetti insists its main feature — the wonderful way it reflects the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial — will remain unchanged. 
 
"The reflective quality of this pool is of paramount importance to us," he said. "So what you will see if there is no wind is a flat, glassy surface."
 
Photo: To see the reflecting pool in its current less-than-spectacular state, click here. 
 
 
Bull Moose Falls Into Swimming Pool 
— Legendary Bullwinkle Not Amused 
 
No member of the Cervidae animal family has garnered much media attention since Bullwinkle Moose and his pal Rocket J. Squirrel defended the Free World against villainous “Russkies” Boris Badanov and Natasha Fatale — until now. 
 
When an unidentified moose recently fell into a New Hampshire swimming pool, the unusual event made a huge splash all over the Internet and on TV news programs. The eventual rescue of the wayward creature — which involved the combined efforts of nine firefighters — warmed the hearts of moose-lovers everywhere.  
 
Not everyone was amused, however. The Web site mooseboosters.com quoted the legendary Bullwinkle — now retired at 80 — as grousing, “Back in my day, a moose paid attention to where he was going. Obviously, this [expletive deleted] bull is a [expletive deleted] idiot!” By all accounts, Bullwinkle has grown increasingly cantankerous over the years. 
 
Rocky the Flying Squirrel was unavailable for comment: Tragically, he was fatally injured in a 1997 collision with a Piper Cub. 
 
Videos: To view footage of the moose’s watery adventure and rescue, click here.  To see Bullwinkle, Rocky, Boris and Natasha in their heyday, click here. 
 
 
Cheerleader Falls Into Swimming Pool 
— Even Wet, the Show Must Go On! 
 
Over the years, more than a few stage actors and other performers have fallen into theater orchestra pits — sometimes resulting in broken bones and other serious injuries. Luckily, cheerleader Mariana de Leon, performing a routine with the rest of her team at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, only fell into a swimming pool and emerged unscathed and unbowed, if dripping wet. 
 
As reported by the Web site washingtonpost.com: “[de Leon] went straight into the water after stepping back during one of her moves and not realizing she was close to the edge, going in feet first. The crowd gasped and then cheered as one of her dancing teammates helped her out of the pool. The rest of the cheerleaders stopped briefly but continued their act, and de Leon quickly rejoined the group, despite a wet uniform.” 
 
Apparently, the cheerful young lady is the type to see the bright side of any situation: “I’ll be fine. Maybe the attention will bring me good things,” she was quoted as saying. 
 
Video: To watch Mariana de Leon look disaster in the eye and stare it down, click here. 
 
 
100-Year-Old New Jersey Man Drives, 
Works and Swims Laps at the ‘Y’   
 
Centenarian New Jerseyan (it seems the term “New Jerseyite” is much hated by the state’s residents) Irving Krause is quite an impressive and inspiring older gentleman: Despite having recently reached the century mark, he continues to drive, work as an insurance agent and regularly swim laps at his local YMCA. 
 
(There’s a certain irony in the venue: Not only did Krause’s status as a young man end many decades ago, he also happens to be an Orthodox Jew.) 
 
In the video linked below, we see the delightful Mr. Krause barely peering over his car’s dashboard as he drives himself around town. (Of course, whether he should be behind the steering wheel at his age is another matter.) We also see him at the insurance office, where he works with — and outperforms — his 47-year-old grandson. And we see him swimming laps and lifting weights as part of his exercise regimen. 
 
Ripples would like to believe that swimming is the secret to Mr. Krause’s longevity — along with the luck of the genetic draw. But we can’t help thinking that he reveals another important factor in the video: Asked whether he plans to retire someday, he replies, “I’ll never retire. I don’t know what my clients will do when I die, because they really need me.” 
 
Would that all seniors felt so needed. 
 
Video: To meet 100-year-old dynamo Irving Krause, click here. 
 
Until next time, happy watershaping to you! 

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