Compiled and Written by Lenny Giteck
"Sin City" Adult and Topless Pools
Make Big Splash with Tourists
"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," as the brilliant marketing slogan says - and apparently for an increasing number of the city's approximately 40 million annual visitors, that extends to Sin City's adult and topless swimming pools. (All topless pools are adult pools, but not all adult pools are topless pools. Adult pools don't allow the underage set in - and most don't allow women to go topless. They may, however, permit fairly racy behavior.)
According to USAToday.com, the Las Vegas trend often includes "exposed flesh, blaring deejays and bodacious celebrity 'hosts' at the ever more popular and proliferating adult pools." The Web site also reports that the "season" during which these adult environments are active begins this month and next.
It should be noted that Europeans have been quite accepting of topless swimming and sunbathing for many years. Even some parts of America - which has a long history of being highly puritanical - have quietly tolerated selective beaches that permit toplessness or even complete nudity.
But what's happening in Vegas is a step beyond, if only because it is taking place at a number of the city's most ritzy and reputable resort hotels, some of which actively promote the option. Clearly, this is an emerging cultural phenomenon with swimming pools at its center.
One only need watch the brassy and exploitive TruTV program "Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel" (set in Las Vegas, of course) to see which way the prevailing winds are blowing. While far from being prudish, Ripples nevertheless cringes at the unbridled crassness, tastelessness and cheap sexuality the show generally presents and promotes. On the other hand, Ripples also freely admits to being a bit of a fuddy-duddy.
Yet even in Ripples' old-fogey opinion, the bottom line is simple: If you object to uncovered women's breasts or "adult environments," don't frequent these places. For everyone else, here's information that can help you find the Las Vegas adult swimming venue of your dreams:
For information about when various facilities will again be open, go to: http://tinyurl.com/6yxmhl9.
For more details about what a number of these pools offer, go to: http://tinyurl.com/4qjkfjl.
Note: Some Web sites may open behind this page.
Dr. Splash Dives for Lucky 13
Who is their right mind would plunge from a height of 36 feet into - or perhaps more accurately, onto - one foot of water in a tiny, inflatable kiddie pool?
Apparently, Colorado resident Darren Taylor would - and actually did in Trondheim, Norway. Not only did "Dr. Splash," as Taylor is known, live to tell the tale, he even smashed the previous shallow-diving world record, which had been held by...him.
According to BBC.com, the impressive feat in Norway garnered Taylor his "13th Guinness certified record." Ripples doesn't have much to add, except to say emphatically, do not try this stunt at home...or in Norway...or anywhere else on the planet...ever. Instead, just experience the thrill vicariously by watching the video linked below.
Since Ripples is not a trained mental-health professional, we'll leave it up to you to decide whether Dr. Splash is in his right mind. When making your determination, factor in the following from the BBC: "Mr. Taylor...has 25 years' professional high-diving experience and works as a stunt diver."
Video: To watch Dr. Splash in action, click on http://tinyurl.com/5vfkres.
Ah...Those Zany Norwegians!
Dr. Splash wasn't the only one to pull off a don't-try-this-at-home water stunt in Norway. There also was the local fellow who first ice skated on a frozen lake, then dove into the frigid water in an area where the lake wasn't frozen (with skates still on), then cut a hole in the ice and dove through it into the frigid water, then guzzled booze out of a bottle. How do you say "shrinkage" in Norwegian?
Video: Go to http://tinyurl.com/4jv5xqj.
Berlin: A Public Swimming
Pool That Floats on a River
What do you do when a major river flowing through your city is so polluted, it's absolutely unsafe for human swimming? If you're German artist Susanne Lorenz, you design a public swimming pool that will float right on Berlin's river Spree. Lorenz created the design as part of a program sponsored by the City Art Project Society of Berlin.
The Badeschiff floating pool - which opened in 2004 - has become a favorite of residents of the German capital. They're attracted not only by the pool's clean and safe water, but also by the facility's wooden boardwalks, open-air bar and beautiful urban views. The pool itself was fashioned out of the hull of a vessel.
And during the months of chilly weather in Berlin? The Web site AmusingPlanet.com, reports, "Each year between November and March, the entire area is covered by a translucent shell and transformed into an enclosed wellness area."
Photos: To see images of this unusual floating pool and the translucent shell, click on http://tinyurl.com/4pjw6hl. Be sure to scroll down all the way.
Water Takes Center Stage
In the Japanese Disaster
Like most Americans, Ripples has been greatly moved by the images of death and destruction resulting from the huge earthquake off the coast of Japan; although it is tragic when anyone dies in a natural disaster, thinking of the thousands of children who perished is especially heartbreaking.
Water - which although necessary for life can also destroy it - has played a central role in the unfolding catastrophe. Following the monumental earthquake, the tsunamis that struck Japan washed away entire towns, leaving only rubble and tears in their wake.
(You've undoubtedly seen videos of the tsunamis striking, but you may not have seen what the earthquake itself did to one swimming pool at a U.S. Navy base in Japan. Go to: http://tinyurl.com/4dswb4w.)
Since March 11, the news from Japan has gone from bad to worse to even worse - and the tragedy is still far from over. Indeed, the long-term ramifications of the disaster's nuclear component may not be known for years to come.
The thoughts and prayers of all Americans should go out to Japan - and if possible, our financial support as well. If you would like to help the Japanese people cope with this unprecedented disaster, go to http://tinyurl.com/6aa79dl.
Until next time, happy watershaping to you!