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Ripples #3

Compiled and written by Lenny Giteck

WhRipples artite House Mystery
Pool Revealed

Ripples would never publish anything damaging to the national security of the United States, and we're confident that this item about a mysterious White House swimming pool won't tell foreign agents anything they shouldn't know.

It seems that, in addition to the well-known outdoor pool behind the West Wing, there's also an indoor pool in the White House, right beneath the media briefing room. It was virtually unknown to the public until a recent article in The Christian Science Monitor exposed it to the world. Apparently, the pool was rediscovered back in 2000 by workers installing cables at the White House.

According to the Monitor report, the now-empty pool - which has not been used in decades - was formerly enjoyed by the presidential likes of Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy. "But [Richard] Nixon," the article notes, "was more concerned with press coverage than practicing the breast stroke. He laid a floor over the pool and created a White House media briefing room."

The chance of the pool ever coming back into service is slim to nonexistent, according to the newspaper: "Reporters would go ballistic if any administration tried to displace them in the name of increased opportunity for presidential relaxation. The nattering nabobs want to be as proximate to power as they can, and any new briefing room would likely be much farther from the Oval Office."

Global Warming and
Water Shortages

A new study claims that climate change may create water shortages for up to 70 percent of counties in the U.S. by 2050. The study - prepared by a California environmental consulting firm at the behest of the Natural Resources Defense Council - also claims that a third of U.S. counties will face "high or extreme" shortages. Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and part of Florida face the highest risk, the report indicates.

Ripples is well aware that a sizeable number of Americans are convinced global climate change is nothing more than a hoax. Still, the aforementioned study should give pause to any skeptics in the watershaping industry, since it's difficult to imagine selling watershapes if there's no water available to fill them.

Man Bites Dog, Woman
Punches Shark

Although Ripples hasn't seen any headlines lately about a Homo sapiens taking a chunk out of a Canis lupus familiaris, we were intrigued by this headline on the Orlando Sentinel's Web site: "Woman tells how she slugged shark to swim another day."

In early August, 59-year-old Judy Fischman (a perfect name for the story, we might add) was swimming approximately 200 feet offshore when she was bumped by a large sea creature - one at least eight feet long by her estimate. Before she knew it, the animal lifted her out of the water and she identified the tail as belonging to a shark. Amazingly, Fischman kept her composure and punched the fish twice on its side and, when it rolled over, once on its abdomen. Apparently she packs quite a wallop, because the creature immediately disappeared.

Witnesses on the shore who observed the incident agreed with Fischman that her attacker was indeed a shark. However, George Burgess, director of shark research at the Florida Museum of Natural History, isn't sure. "I don't have a doubt about the story," he was quoted as saying, "but it's a matter of interpretation of what it was. The woman was clearly lucky if it was a shark because if it was as big as she said, she could have a very severe injury."

Tragically, not nearly as lucky was Tim Delano, an 18-year-old Florida teenager whose left hand was torn off in July by a 10-foot alligator while he was swimming in a local canal. Although Delano managed to punch the reptile with his remaining hand, the damage was already done and beyond repair. The severed hand was later found inside the animal's stomach after the creature was destroyed.

The moral of the two stories, according to Ripples? Whatever the real or imagined risks of spending time in swimming pools, they do not include life-and-death encounters with voracious sharks and alligators.

Vermont Pool Enters
Digital Age

The Killington [Vermont] Parks and Recreation Department has added wireless Internet access at a local community pool to enable parents to use their laptops while supervising their children's summertime recreation, according to WCAX.com. "Parents can catch up on their work while the kids are playing," explained Michael Sutcliffe of the parks and recreation department. Ripples notes that keeping the laptops high and dry might be a challenge.

Tykes Wet Pants at Legoland...

...and their parents couldn't be happier! Of course, that's because we're talking about the new, kid-size waterpark at Legoland California, 35 miles north of San Diego. The waterpark is a first for Legoland, and if it proves successful, the company reportedly plans to open others in its chain of Lego-based theme parks.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the new, $12-million attraction "is a break from traditional waterparks that tend to be...geared toward the teen and college set. At 5.5 acres, the Legoland waterpark is about one-third to one-quarter the size of traditional waterparks, with smaller slides and pools geared toward the toddler and elementary school set."

To see a multitude of photos of the new waterpark, click on the following link:


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

- Ripples is compiled and written by Lenny Giteck

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