Monday, August 20, 2007

What's Long, Hard, and Full of Seamen?

A submarine. Like the one I visited at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). This is the USS Blueback:
I took a tour of the "boat" recently. It smelled like my grandpa's basement and it was really cramped. It is also the worst possible place for someone to fart in.Here is my brother Andy in the Torpedo Room. This room was actually filmed, and can be seen in the movie The Hunt for Red October.

While at OMSI I also checked out BODY WORLDS, an exhibit of preserved human bodies. It is the same exhibit that Bond goes to in Casino Royale (the best movie of 2006).

One of my teachers at BYU once told me that the best paper airplane design was a crumbled up paper ball. OMSI was where I tested that theory. There was a wind tunnel device where visitors were encouraged to design a paper airplane, and see how it would fly. This is my brother's design. Notice the blurred wings, indicating a turbulent plane.
Below is my design. It is as steady as a rock. A quality you want in any airplane.

Kids are Babies

I am not an “old” man in the traditional sense. Sure I like Velcro shoes as much as the next 70 year-old, but I don’t have any “when I was a kid” gripes…until today.

When I was a kid growing up my favorite part of the school day was recess. Three times a day the teachers would cut us loose in the playground. The playground at McMillan Elementary School was an accident waiting to happen. And they did, often. We loved it because kids in my day were tough. Not like the kids today. Recently I went up to Snowbird and I saw this playground:
This isn’t a playground! It is a padded room for pansies. For starters the entire structure is surrounded by a soft cushiony concoction that makes tumbles softer on the kiddies.
Then they cover that with soft wood chips.
What a crock! In my day the playground was located in a gravel pit. Tiny hot rocks were often gathered in tiny handfuls and thrown at whoever was closest (Rock Tag). It was a common fact that if you weren’t picking gravel out of your bloody knees, elbows, and hands at recess’s end, then you didn’t play hard enough. We had huge rubber tires that were buried halfway into the ground that you could climb into. It was a great way to beat the heat if you didn’t mind the smell of urine. He had large metal structures that towered 20 feet in the air, a great place to play chicken. Monkey bars constructed from iron and decaying wood. Slivers were commonplace. We had real play equipment made from real substances that didn't spontaneously combust. We had to use our creative minds to think of games and activities. It wasn’t all spelled out for us like in these new playgrounds made of soft plastic.

But the thing that really proved to me that kids were weak was the swings.
Can you believe this? A Lazyboy swing set. You don’t even have to pump, it does it all for you. You sit down, STRAP IN, and gently rock your weight back and forth. Are parents that overprotective that they won’t put their kids in a swing unless it has a seatbelt? Parents, let your kids get hurt, let them swing and scrape their knees. Quit buying the antibacterial soap and let them get sick. Help them build antibodies and a familiarity with pain. They’ll be the better for it. Trust me.