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Ripples #8

Compiled and written by Lenny Giteck

Ripples artU.K. Utility Company Offers Free Swim Lessons to Dead Woman - But She Doesn't Respond

British Gas, a major energy provider in the U.K., recently offered free swimming lessons - among other services - to a customer who died five years earlier. In writing to the dead woman, British Gas emphasized that it was "always there for her."

According to a report on the Web site DailyMail.co.uk, the company sent three letters to the deceased Stella Nesbitt, even though her son Rick had informed the company of her passing years earlier and had transferred the account to his name.

DailyMail.co.uk noted that one of the letters assured Ms. Nesbbitt, "At British Gas we're always looking for ways to help you. Here are just some of the ways we are helping to make life simpler."

The company has apologized for the error. "I am sorry for any distress we have caused Mr. [Rick] Nesbitt," a company spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Of course, Ripples has no way of knowing whether swimming is a popular activity in the Great Beyond. On the other hand, this unfortunate episode does seem to confirm the old adage "It's never too late to learn something new."

Oh, Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo Roam - But Don't Swim

Roam...yes. Take a dip in the family's backyard pool...not so much.

That's just what happened to a couple in Georgia recently. Homeowners Chris Nonnemaker and his wife awoke to see two holes in the cover over their backyard inground pool. When they went outside to investigate, the husband noticed "something jumping underneath the cover," according to a news report on wsbtv.com.

The shaggy beast in the pool belonged to one of the Nonnemakers' neighbors but had escaped weeks earlier. (Two of the buffalo's compatriots escaped at the same time but were quickly rounded up.) Eventually, bystanders were able to lasso the wayward buffalo and pull it from the pool.

The buffalo was a real bovine trend-setter, because about two weeks later a 500-pound dairy cow in Cedar Lake, Indiana, became spooked, escaped from her farm and headed at a fast clip for the backyard of a nearby home. Bossy apparently made a running leap right through a fence surrounding an above-ground pool, then performed a spectacular belly flop onto and through the pool cover.

According to the report on post-trib.com, the Cedar Lake Fire Department came to the rescue, cutting a makeshift "door" in the side of the pool so the cow could exit with her remaining dignity intact.

VIDEO: To watch a video of the buffalo who roamed just a little too far...and deep...go to http://tinyurl.com/26gd8wx

NOTE: Some photos and videos may open behind this page.

Bravo to Crystal Fountains for Its Contribution to the Esquire House

Ripples commends Crystal Fountains for donating water-feature products and technical support valued at more than $30,000 to the Esquire House, an annual project of Esquire magazine aimed at raising money for charitable causes.

This year's house, the eighth iteration of the magazine's "Signature Space" program, is a 9,000-square-foot home in the Hollywood Hills that has been rebuilt from the ground up and newly outfitted by top designers. Although dubbed "The Ultimate Bachelor Pad," the house also will play host to charity events throughout the coming year

In keeping with its contemporary indoor-outdoor lifestyle design, the house features a dramatic vanishing-edge pool that seems to hang off the terrace. Seven streamlined jets are choreographed to dance in and out of the pool in orchestrated harmony while subtly changing color. The custom fountain was created by Crystal Fountains in conjunction with Studio H2O.

Headquartered in Toronto, Crystal Fountains is one of the world's leading developers of waterfeature technology. Among other things, the company provided the technical expertise and components for the leaping jets in the pool.

Studio H2O, based in Santa Monica, Calif., is a design firm specializing in waterscapes, landscapes and hardscapes. It designed the waterfeature to enhance the space without dominating the landscape.

The DIY Network is creating a one-hour special on the Esquire House, to air in January 2011.


To see a photo of the 2010 Esquire House pool, click on http://tinyurl.com/2arjfv5

To see images of the inside of the house, go to www.facebook.com/esquire, click on the Esquire House tab, then on "Take a Tour of the House." You'll also find information about some of the charitable events slated to take place at the venue.

Swimmer Fran Crippen Dies During 10K Race in United Arab Emirates

With sadness, Ripples notes the tragic passing of American long-distance swimmer Fran Crippen, who died unexpectedly on October 23 during a 10K open-water race in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He was 26 years old at the time of his death.

The race was the final event in a series of competitions sponsored by FINA, the international federation that administers such aquatic competitions. Crippen's death reportedly was the first at any FINA event.

Since the ill-fated race, attention has focused on the temperature of the seawater in which the swimmers competed: above 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Swimming for long distances under such conditions can lead to heat stroke or even heart failure.

The UAE organizers of the event have been criticized for not cancelling the competition in view of the water temperature, and allegedly for failing to provide an adequate presence of safety boats during the race.

Crippen's body was discovered by deep-sea divers more than two hours after the conclusion of the race. Three other competitors - two Americans and one Brazilian - also suffered heat-related problems and had to be hospitalized.

May you rest in peace, Fran.

PHOTO: To see a photo of Fran Crippen, go to http://tinyurl.com/3xhps9r

Cruise Ship 'Oasis of the Seas' Boasts AquaTheater Entertainment Venue

The cover story of the November issue of WaterShapes is a fascinating look at the AquaTheater on the new Royal Caribbean cruise ship Oasis of the Seas - the largest cruise ship in the world. The article, which explores the difficult challenges faced in designing and building the AquaTheater, is accompanied by stunning photos of the aquatic entertainment venue. If you missed the article, Ripples strongly recommends that you pull out the issue and read it.


Ripples is pleased to bring you several videos about this extraordinary vessel.

To watch a video of the AquaTheater in action, click on the following link: http://tinyurl.com/2vyuyrh

To view four more videos about the ship - including one that focuses on its many waterfeatures - click on the following link and scroll down: http://tinyurl.com/yhbu66t

Lion Cubs Go for Their First Swim

We close with yet another animal item. Ripples is not one to violate the open-range credo of "Where never is heard a discouraging word"...but face it, a buffalo in a swimming pool really isn't all that cute. Much more adorable are four lion cubs having their inaugural swim experience, courtesy of handlers at the Smithsonian National Zoo in the nation's capital. The first three cubs seem less than enthusiastic about their wet adventure, but the fourth clearly is destined to be a feline Olympic swimming champion.

VIDEO: See the heart-melting video at http://tinyurl.com/29eqcx6

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

- Ripples is compiled and written by Lenny Giteck

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