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Ripples #71

Compiled and written by Lenny Giteck


Ripples art--smallFemale Iranian’s Record
Swim Goes Unrecognized   

Iranian authorities have refused to recognize the record-breaking, 20-kilometer swim of Elham Asghari, an Iranian woman, because they consider her appearance while getting out of the water to be “un-Islamic.” The right of Iranian women to swim is severely restricted by the country’s fundamentalist regime.

Asghari performed the long-distance swim in the Caspian Sea, on Iran’s northern border. Her specially designed swimsuit — which was based on the traditional hijab and covered her body from head to toe — reportedly added six kilograms to her swimming weight and was, according to the 32-year-old woman, very uncomfortable.

Asghari told the Web site guardian.co.uk, “Although I [stuck to] the full Islamic dress code and had swimming officials present at all times, [the authorities] said no matter how Islamic my swimming gear, it was unacceptable. They said the feminine features of my body were showing as I came out of water."

As of this writing, a video of Asghari posted on YouTube has been viewed by some 120,000 people, and she has received many expressions of support via social media.

The Guardian Web site went on to quote Asghari as saying, “My 20km record has been held hostage in the hands of people who cannot even swim a distance of 20 meters. I have passed tough days and nights. This incident is unbelievable for me. I will not give in to pressure. Swimming is not exclusively for men — we ladies do well too.”

According to The Guardian, Asghari is hoping the situation of female Iranian swimmers will improve after the nation’s recently elected president, Hassan Rouhani, is sworn in next month. Rouhani is seen as more moderate than current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


Ripples Classic: November 23, 2011  

‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie’ Dead,
‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie’ Alive?

Given the symbiotic relationship between the world of watershaping and the world of swimwear, Ripples considers it a sacred journalistic duty to keep readers abreast of the latest developments on the bikini front. For example, you may recall the item we ran about a $1,500 solar-powered bikini, which enables the wearer to recharge her electronic devices at the beach.

This week, Ripples learned of the recent passing of Lee Pockriss, one of the two collaborators who joined forces to compose the midcentury “bubblegum” pop classic “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” Pockriss died on Nov. 14 at the age of 87.

In a report about Pockriss’ demise and the famous ditty, NYTimes.com noted that the “novelty number was about a young woman ‘afraid to come out of the water’ and be seen in the revealing swimsuit she was wearing. Her reluctance was understandable, because the navel-revealing bikini was still considered relatively shocking outside Hollywood and the French Riviera. In fact, the song has been credited with helping [bikinis] gain acceptance.”

Ironically, Pockriss’ writing partner for the song, a gentleman by the name of Paul Vance, was declared dead about five years ago by the media. Shortly thereafter, the inconvenient fact that Vance was still very much alive was revealed. (He’s still kicking to this day.)  

As it turned out, a fellow named Paul Van Valkenburgh had falsely told his family for decades that he’d written “Itsy Bitsy” under the pseudonym Paul Vance — and his relatives, seeing no reason to disbelieve the claim, included it in his obituary.

When the real Paul Vance learned of his supposed death, he was understandably dismayed. The Web site NYTimes.com quoted him as saying, “My kids went nuts. My closest friends are still calling.” The article continued: “Mr. Vance said that two racehorses he owned were scratched from races yesterday because organizers believed he had died.”

One is reminded of the famous Mark Twain quote, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” In any event, there is no doubt that the still-breathing Paul Vance was the true cowriter of the song, because he has been collecting royalties on it for decades. “Believe me,” observed Vance, “if they think you’re dead, they ain’t going to send the money.”

Audio: Singer Brian Hyland — who also is still alive — is the performer most identified with “Itsy Bitsy,” having had a #1 hit with the song in 1960 at the ripe old age of 16. To hear his rendition, click here.


And with that, Ripples once again says…
Until next time, happy watershaping to you!

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