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Ripples #5

Compiled and written by Lenny Giteck

Ripples artPowerful 'Death Ray' Fries Guests at Luxury Vegas
Hotel Pool

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.

Swimwear Malfunctions Expose Federal Prosecutor, TV Reality Star

Ripples was amused to run across not one, but two articles about recent swimwear "wardrobe malfunctions."

The first story, on the Web site Miami Herald.com, appeared under the headline "Miami federal prosecutor arrested after swimming in his boxers." It seems that 35-year-old Sean Cronin decided to take a dip in the swimming pool at a local bar while clad only in his boxer shorts. The incident took place in front of a mother and her daughter, who also were at the pool.

As the article noted: "According to the arrest form, the girl and her mother told police that Cronin's genitalia were exposed as he exited the pool. 'The victim's mother, who also witnessed the incident, then covered her daughters eyes,' the arrest form said."

The other story that Ripples noticed garnered the following headline on NYDailyNews.com: "Heidi Montag suffers major wardrobe malfunction in Costa Rica while swimming in tiny bikini." Since Ripples had never heard of Ms. Montag, a bit of Wikipedia research was in order: "Heidi Blair Montag (born September 15, 1986) is an American reality television personality and singer. She is known for starring on the former MTV reality series The Hills."

Of course, Ripples also never heard of The Hills - but be that as it may, Montag apparently is particularly well-known for her recent breast implants, one of which caused half of her bikini top to pop off. According to the news report, Montag is having second thoughts about the enormous additions to her physique.

"While attempting to make herself decent," the article revealed, "the 24-year-old simultaneously posed for the photographers, but the episode no doubt gave the mildly shocked Montag further reason to opt for a smaller size chest. In the August issue of Life & Style magazine, she said of her enhanced breasts, 'I'm desperate to go back to normal. I'm downgrading and going a little smaller....'"

Luckily, dear reader, there is a photo to record the unseemly event for posterity: Go to http://tinyurl.com/2ch3sww. Ripples recommends covering the eyes of any youngsters in the vicinity of your computer.

Gunmen Torch Gaza Waterpark

It's not hard to imagine how Islamic fundamentalists would overreact to the Heidi Montag episode - but apparently some people in the Gaza Strip didn't much approve of its only waterpark, either, because they burned it to the ground at the end of September.

According to the Web site of The Jerusalem Post, "Unidentified gunmen set fire Sunday to the Crazy Water Aqua Fun Park, one of the Gaza Strip's most popular entertainment sites. Eyewitnesses said that at least 25 men participated in the predawn attack."

The report noted that Gaza's strictly religious Hamas government - which officially condemned the attack - has been upset with the now-destroyed venue's owners for allowing men and women to sit together at a fast-breaking meal during Ramadan, as well as for allowing women to openly smoke water pipes in the park. Prior to the attack, Hamas had ordered the waterpark closed for three weeks.

French Quadruple Amputee Swims The English Channel

In the last installment of Ripples, we wrote about an intercontinental swimming race between Europe and Asia. That was a bit of a gimmick, however, because the event took place across the narrow Bosphorus strait in Turkey. Still, we noted that the race included "amputees and other physically challenged individuals" - pretty impressive even if the course was just a half-mile long.

Now comes news that in late September, a quadruple amputee from France swam across the English Channel, which is 21 miles at the narrowest point. The extraordinary feat took 42-year-old Philippe Croizon 13.5 hours, rather than the 24 hours he thought it would.

According to an Associated Press report, "The swimmer's arms and legs were amputated after he suffered an electric shock in 1994 as he stood on a ladder adjusting his television antenna, which touched a power line." Croizon swims with special leg prostheses to which fins are attached, the AP said.

The intrepid Frenchman is now planning to swim across the Strait of Gibraltar - which although a shorter distance than the English Channel, may be even more dangerous because of the currents and large amount of ship traffic. In addition to his swimming exploits, Croizon is an avid scuba diver and has gone skydiving.

"If I can show other people that life is not only suffering, I would be happy," Croizon was quoted as saying. "We suffer, but we get back up again."

To view photos of Monsieur Croizon, go to http://tinyurl.com/24snfl4.

Till the next installment of Ripples...
Happy Watershaping to You!

- Ripples is compiled and written by Lenny Giteck

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