The Best of Ripples 2010
Watershaping, as everyone knows, is serious business - but as Ripples has conclusively proved since its debut earlier this year, the world of watershaping can also be wild and wacky. It wasn't easy for Ripples to pick the five stories of 2010 that we liked the most, but as the selection below amply illustrates, we do have a special fondness for anything related to celebrities, the offbeat and the lurid. With that in mind, we are pleased and proud to present The Best of Ripples 2010.
August 4, 2010
Dumpsters: Manhattan's New Cool Pools
Leave it to resourceful New Yorkers to come up with a creative way to deal with the city's sweltering summer conditions: turning trash Dumpsters (or their first cousins) into refreshing swimming pools. According to a report in The New York Times, the Dumpsters will be "encircled by a five-foot-wide metal deck with a nonstick rubber surface, and accompanied by several changing-room cabanas, portable showers and portable toilets."
To read more about this surprising urban phenomenon, click on the following link:
To watch a video about a semi-clandestine Dumpster swim party in Brooklyn, click here:
NOTE: Some photos and videos may open behind this page.
September 22, 2010
Celine Dion's Private Waterpark
Ticks Off the Neighbors
Superstar French-Canadian chanteuse Celine Dion may be able to belt out a stirring ballad, but her neighbors reportedly were more stirred up by what they regarded as her extreme overuse of water.
The neighborhood contretemps arose because of Dion's newly built, private waterpark behind her $20 million mansion on ritzy Jupiter Island, Fla. An article on the London Daily Mail Web site reported that "the lavish pool system uses 500,000 gallons of water and includes two swimming pools, two water slides and a lazy river, which has a slow current to carry bathers around the pool."
Problem was, the multimillion-dollar installation - which reportedly will need 6.5 million gallons of water annually - exhausted the island's entire fresh-water supply, resulting in water restrictions for area residents. Dion's neighbors were not mollified when the singer had six wells dug on the property to store the needed H2O.
The Daily Mail report came out in June, so Ripples hopes that neighborly peace has returned to Jupiter Island since then. To learn more and view photos of the private waterpark, go to:
October 6, 2010
Powerful 'Death Ray' Fries Guests at Luxury Vegas
First there was the incident at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas at the end of August, in which some 100 people were treated for breathing difficulties after large amounts of chlorine leaked into the lazy river at the hotel's pool area. Approximately 1,500 sunbathers and swimmers had to be evacuated, with 26 taken to the hospital for treatment.
Now comes word that a number of guests at the ultra-luxurious Vdara Hotel, in the massive CityCenter complex, have been seriously burned by sunrays reflecting off the hotel's concave, glass-sheathed façade. The effect can raise the temperature of the directed rays by 20 degrees - which certainly could do some damage considering the city's already scorching summertime weather. Indeed, the phenomenon has actually melted plastic bags in the Vdara's swimming pool area.
Notes a report from Yahoo News: "The building's concave design creates a sort of magnifying-glass effect. The hotel's designers reportedly anticipated that ill-situated humans might experience some discomfort courtesy of the building's blinding glare, so they placed a film over the glass panes of its many windows. Obviously that didn't quite do the trick." Now, Yahoo News says, the hotel is positioning large umbrellas in the pool area "while designers try to come up with another remedy."
The rather overblown term "death ray" (thankfully, no deaths so far) was coined by hotel employees to describe the phenomenon. To view the façade of the hotel and an illustration of how the offending rays work, go to http://tinyurl.com/247jtv5.
October 20, 2010
Waterpark CEO Gets Down
and Dirty With AFR
on National TV Show
Face it, AFRs (Accidental Fecal Releases) are a fact of life whenever a large number of human beings - especially very young ones - spend a lot of time in water. They may not be as common as AURs (Accidental Urinary Releases) or IURs (Intentional Urinary Releases), but AFRs do take place and must be dealt with in a mature and professional manner.
When an AFR needs to be cleaned up, the unpleasant chore usually doesn't fall to the CEO of the large chain of waterparks that owns the site. That's exactly what happened, however, when Kim Schaefer, CEO of Great Wolf Resorts, appeared in an episode of the hit CBS series "Undercover Boss." (She was the first female CEO featured on the program.) Great Wolf reportedly is the largest group of waterpark resorts in North America, with $330 million in business, 12 facilities and more on the way.
Schaefer appeared on the show under the guise of a longtime homemaker reentering the workplace - and as such she supposedly was also the subject of a reality show being filmed. (Hence the cameras following her around.) Kelly, one of her young and completely unsuspecting underlings, instructed her to pick up some floating poop from a pool.
She handled - literally - this and several other difficult workplace situations with grace and humor, although not always with flawless success. Schaefer came away from the experience with a deeper sense of humility and even greater understanding of, and appreciation for, her staff.
VIDEO: To view a brief segment of the show that includes Kim Schaefer's AFR adventure, plus an emotional scene in which she reveals her true identity to two employees (Kelly being one of them) and makes their dreams come true, click on the following: http://tinyurl.com/25yqf8g
November 3, 2010
Woman Pleads Guilty in Bizarre
Ripples notes with astonishment the case of an Indiana woman who offered her used aboveground swimming pool (plus $200 "in gas money") as payment to kill her ex-boyfriend. Heidi Friedburg, who - along with new boyfriend William Alexander - was arrested last year in the murder-for-hire conspiracy case, recently took a plea bargain in Chicago federal court. According to a report on chicagotribune.com:
Friedburg admitted she texted an acquaintance in June 2009 about helping "get rid of someone 4 me." The acquaintance went to the FBI and agreed to work undercover. In a series of text messages and recorded phone calls, Friedburg offered to give a hired killer her pool - even sending photos of the pool - and $200, but she insisted the murder needed to appear to be an accident.
Ripples says: Swimming pools should be used only for good, never for evil.
On that elevated note, Ripples signs off for this year. Until we meet again in 2011...
Happy Watershaping Trails to You!
- Ripples is compiled and written by Lenny Giteck