October 24th, 2011

Snarky Candiru2

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Halloween costume arc begins with Mike overestimating how skilled John is and how willing he is to do things for his children.

(Strip Number 325, Original Publication Date, 25 October 1982)

Panel 1: As our story continues, we find a beaming Mike wearing a pilot's helmet from the 1910s and holding the accompanying pair of goggles in his hands; he tells John that he found them at Mrs Baird's house.

Panel 2: He then says how neat they are and that Mrs Baird said that he could borrow them and be a World War One flying ace for Halloween; said ace, no doubt, is meant to be a beagle on a doghouse.

Panel 3: All he needs is a scarf and one more simple thing that John can make; John asks what that simple thing is.

Panel 4: Mike's telling him that the simple thing to make is an airplane staggers John.

Summary: It doesn't stagger me; that's because I know that seven year olds like Mike don't really have much of an idea how tricky that is. They don't mean anything hurtful by it, they just don't. John doesn't know this and assumes that wild-eyed, well-meaning ignorance is calculating malice.
Snarky Candiru2

Curling 101

I realize that a lot of you are both fascinated and confused by the Canadian pastime called curling; for those of you who compare it to bocce ball, shuffleboard and bowling, you're on to something. You see, it started out as a winter sport in Scotland; when the rivers froze over for the winter, they used to play a sort of bowls using large, flat-bottomed river stones. The name 'curling' came about after it was noticed that if they swept the ice in front of the rock in the right way, its path could be made to curve around so as to go where it was wanted.

Now for the rules:

1) As for the playing surface or curling sheet, it's an area of ice that's carefully prepared to be as flat and level as possible and whose dimensions are 146 to 150 feet length by 14.5 to 16.5 feet width. At either end of the sheet, there's a target called the house that's marked off by three concentric rings (the twelve-foot, the eight foot and the four foot) surrounding something called the button which is at the intersection of the center line and a tee-line that's 16 feet from the backboard at the end of the sheet. The playing area or free guard zone is marked off by the hogline which is 37 feet from the backboard.

2) The curling stone itself is a thick granite disc that weighs anywhere between 38 and 44 pounds and is usually three feet in diameter and a few inches high and has a colored handle on the top so as to identify which team it's for; it's swept down the sheet by two members of a four-player team so as to get as close to the button as possible.

3) A curling team is led by a skip who usually plays last. The others are called the fourth, third and second.

4) Each game is divided into either eight to ten ends in which each team gets to curl two stones down the sheet; the team whose stone is closest to the button after the last one (or shot rock) is played wins the end and has the hammer or right to play shot rock in the next end. Now, a typical end would have the team with the red rocks have one or two of theirs as close to the button as possible with a white stone just a bit farther out; in that case Red gets two points and the hammer going into the next end.

5) At the end of the tenth end, the team with the most points wins unless there's a tie wherein they go to an eleventh end.

6) The appeal of the game is trying to see just how they can curl the stones so as to keep the other team from getting to the house; this is why what's called 'the roaring game' is also known as 'chess on ice'.