"With Christmas not far away, you may start seeing ads for video games that try to marry the VCR with traditional board games. Unhappily, that marriage more often resembles the bickering Lockhorns than the mild-mannered Nelsons. Here's a look at three of the games now
out in 1986." But that's only a snapshot of the dynamic world of VCR board games, which peaked in the early 1990s with the Atmosfear series, known as Nightmare in Australia, where the game series was a huge cross-media empire, bigger than "Crocodile" Dundee. Another significant game was Star Wars: The Interactive Video Board Game, if for no other reason that it is canon and expands the story of the second Death Star. There are less than 100 VCR board games, and the videos for many of them are currently online, with more game documents and details on Board Game Geeks. By the end of the 1990s, the VCR was on the way out, replaced by DVD board games. Let's browse the isles of toy stores past, thanks to the crowd-sourced nostalgia that is the internet. [more inside]
Curiosity led me to cut my collection of golf balls in half to see what the cores looked like. To my surprise, what I found inside inspired me to consider that I could discover, in the unlikeliest of places, elegant formal qualities and surprising metaphorical possibilities.
20 year old Jordan Spieth is tied for the lead heading into today's final round at the Masters. If he wins, he'll become the youngest champion. Spieth, teeing off at 2:40 Eastern, is 20 years, 8 months and 17 days old. If he can hold off his playing partner Bubba Watson and the rest of the field, Spieth will continue an odd pattern of a new youngest champion every 17 years — going back more than half a century. [more inside]
Mefites are awfully fond of abandoned places, whether they be water parks, train stations or even entire communities. But how about golf courses? A look at what has happened to some of the abandoned courses in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (via Salon).
Triple Crwn Winners-3 Perfet games pitched-23 300 games bowled-50k Rick Baird notched 18 straight hole-in-one shots to record a perfect putt-putt score. In more than 50 years of sanctioned competition, it was just the third time that anyone had achieved the feat. Putt-putt is different from miniature golf. It’s played only on official courses; there are no pirate ships, no windmills, and no holes that cannot be conquered with one stroke — if you execute the perfect shot. On that day in 2011, Baird executed the perfect shot 18 times in a row [more inside]
Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt invented a radical new golf putter. But Dr. Vanderbilt may not be exactly whom she seems to be....
Controversy struck the exalted Augusta grounds of the Masters golf tournament on Friday as Tiger Woods put himself at risk of disqualification. It all began with a situation in which Woods had the extraordinarily bad luck of bouncing his ball off the flagstick on the 15th hole into the water. Instead of dropping his ball "as nearly as possible" to it's original position, Woods dropped it a couple of yards back. In an interview after the round, Woods said: "I went back to where I played it from, but I went two yards further back and I took, tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit and that should land me short of the flag and not have it either hit the flag or skip over the back." Woods signed his scorecard without assigning himself the two shot penalty the rules of golf require for an improper drop. The following day, the Masters Rules Committee ruled that Woods would not be disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard, justifying it by using a new rule that allows tournament committees to waive rules infractions called in by TV viewers, even though the intention of that rule was to prevent disqualifications based on tiny movements of the ball or sand imperceptible to the golfer but visible on close-up HD shots. Many in the golf world were outraged at both the ruling and the fact that Woods didn't withdraw himself from the tournament. Nick Faldo suggested it would be "the manly thing to do." [more inside]
Obama, DC Press Corps Locked In Mutual Loathing Pact. Mike Allen, of Politico, in his article Obama, The Puppet Master, said that Obama " has shut down interviews with many of the White House reporters who know the most and ask the toughest questions." John Cook (Gawker) replies: I will now tweet every question Politico's Mike Allen asked President George W. Bush during a May 2008 interview" (Screenshot) [more inside]
If ever there were a question about the ballooning scale of America's prison system, the Louisiana State Penitentiary provides an answer. It has its own golf course.
A Magazine article on when to take off a wedding ring after a marriage fails generated a large response from readers. The feature asked when it was appropriate to remove the band, and explored the symbolism of doing so. Here, readers share their stories about the dilemma of what to do with a symbol of marriage once the relationship has broken down.
"I had these clubs when I was a young bachelor, hair down to my shoulders, tearing up the town in a 1990 Volvo 740 SEL with the sunroof open and the road before me like some great American Dream ready to be snatched, the way candy is from a baby, or a kiss from an easy and drunk woman."
Writer Marc Lewis is selling his awful golf clubs.
Writer Marc Lewis is selling his awful golf clubs.
There is a small jail on Santa Catalina Island. And apparently, it pays to be sent there, when you're a pro golfer....
For those kept off the links -- particularly those with windmills -- by Irene, a flash alternative (via Kottke). Needs ice cream, but otherwise oojah-cum-spiff (via Wodehouse).
How about a game of golf on Saturn's moons?
Severiano Ballesteros, golf legend, has passed away at 54. If you could say anything about his game, was that he could win a British Open from the car park.
Kevin Na made it to the 9th hole of the first round of the Valero Texas Open on Thursday with a decent score of one under. Unfortunately, he left the hole with a much, much worse score. [more inside]
Greatest calls in sports is a selection of 32 great calls in broadcast sports, chosen by Joe Posnanski, obviously US-centric but featuring some good choices. Want some elation this Friday? [more inside]
One more thing to ease our collective guilt: Organic Golf. "Opened eight years ago, the club is thought to be the only completely organic golf course in the United States, its 18 holes groomed without the use of a single synthetic pesticide, fertilizer, herbicide or other artificial chemical treatment."
Twirdie allows you to play golf via twitter. Type a word and swing: the strength of your shot is proportional to the number of times the word has been tweeted in the last 20 seconds. A project of Twitter game outfit Local No. 12, whose SXSW presentation "Playing with 140 characters" is available here. (Via the just-concluded 2010 Games, Learning and Society conference here in Madison.)
Tiger Woods will return to competitive golf today, teeing off at the Masters at 1:42 EDT today. ESPN will carry the tee shot live, then begin full coverage at 3 PM. Last time Tiger returned from a long break due to surgery, Nike's ad was lighthearted. This time, things are very different, and the new ad released yesterday definitely has a different tone, invoking the words of Tiger's late father, Earl Woods. Of course, some in the media are going to keep teeing off on Tiger's scandalous affairs, including this new revelation of a tryst with a neighbor's 21-year-old daughter.
Simon Dyson was the winner at the Dunhill Links Championship, but Manuel de los Santos may have made the biggest impression at the pro-am event, which was played on St. Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie. De los Santos, 25, is a former baseball player who lost a leg in a car accident and picked up golf in 2004, after moving from his native Dominican Republic to France. He plays to a 3-handicap without the aid of a prosthesis.
Edwin "Bud" Shrake - journalist, novelist, playwright, and screenwriter - died early Friday in Austin. [more inside]
A detailed history of miniature golf, from it's genesis in the Ladies' Putting Club of St. Andrew's to the creative and extravagant future.
Golf course architecture goes back more than 100 years. Golf courses can be incredibly beautiful, very tough, or extreme. Which are the best golf courses? Of course, the golf course critics over at Golf Club Atlas might not agree. [more inside]
Bush interview with Politico: "For the first time, Bush revealed a personal way in which he has tried to acknowledge the sacrifice of soldiers and their families: He has given up golf."
Are golf courses bad or good for the environment? Chances are the answer you give depends on whether you are actively involved with the game. Representing anti-golf we have the Organic Consumers Association, the Journal of Pesticide Reform (pdf), and the Global Anti-Golf Movement. Speaking on behalf of golf course management the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (pdf) and the United States Golf Association. A group of leading golf and environmental organizations have jointly developed Environmental Principles for Golf Courses in the United States.
Disc golf- like it's ball-and-club cousin- challenges the player to navigate the obstacles of a pre-designed course from tee to basket, with progress being marked by the distance of your throw. It's my favorite way to enjoy the outdoors- and most courses are free to play! The sport is easy and fun to get into, yet provides an exhilarating challenge to players of all skill levels. You can play to relax, socialize, or win, depending on your style. What is disc golf, and where did it come from? With over 1000 courses in the US alone, you should have no problems finding a course in your area. Pick out some discs, grab a few friends, and go get throwing! Here are some tips for new players. [more inside]
World Golf Tour in cojunction with Taylormade have released a beta version of photorealistic flash competitive golf simulator As of now, nothing but a closest to the pin challenge is available, but they promise full playable courses are coming soon. It promises to be World of Warcraft, but for chubby middle aged men, enabling play with friends in real time. Avid golfers may never be productive again. Fortune Magazine checks it out.
The hucksters behind the QLink Pendant claim that it "utilises Sympathetic Resonance Technology to rebalance the energetic systems of the body". Apparently, some scientists and engineers think £69.99 is a fair price for a necklace consisting of a copper coil and a zero-ohm resistor [neither of which are actually connected to anything]. The inventor claims that the QLink does not use electronics components “in a conventional electronic way” yet it "increases your capacity to function in EMF saturated environments."I guess golfers will buy anything that promises an improved score. It's the perfect accessory for my new Faraday suit.
The Philosophy Podcast seems to be a podcast where great philosophical works are read aloud. Unfortunately you need to pay for the full works, but the bits are fun. For something a little more contemporary, check out Philosophy Talk, hosted by Ken Taylor and one of the funniest contemporary analytic philosophers: John Perry. In particular, check out Perry's light essays in which the power of procrastination can be harnessed (and apparently now put on t-shirts), an ideal desk is a giant lazy susan, and connections are drawn between golf and suffering.
He stands a mere 5'1" but can drive a golf ball over 330 yards, and this past weekend he became the youngest player in 50 years to make the cut and play on a PGA Tour event. The golf media is ready to embrace Tadd Fujikawa as its Next Big(!) Thing. Of course, it was quickly noted that the amateur Tadd outplayed, upstaged, and overshadowed another young Hawaii-bred golfer who did not make the cut at the Sony Open: the 17 year-old Michelle Wie, who turned pro at age 16 and is raking in an estimated $10 million in endorsements from Nike and Sony (but maybe we shouldn't break out the Hater-ade over that...). Michelle is widely known for drawing huge crowds while unapologetically ruffling feathers as she attempts to play in various men's tournaments. Her critics note that she hasn't won against the Ladies yet, let alone the men, and is no longer deserving of the hype. Thus the parade of talented and ambitious youth continues to plunge into the waiting, toothy embrace of marketing execs worldwide, shouldering the dreams of their parents and weathering the barrage of the critics' cynical ink...
Audi released its new super-sportscar, the R8, at the Paris Autoshow today. With cars like the R8 and the Bugatti Veyron at the top end and the Toyota, Volkswagen or Lexus, there's lots of neat stuff going on in the automotive world...just not from GM, Ford or Chrysler. Maybe it's just me, but pumping out crap like this may be part of the reason. Just guessing.
The web moves in wonderful ways. Case in point, must see mashups WeatherBonk.com and SkiBonk.com . If you are ski freak or weather geek, you will really find these pages useful. There's even a golfbonk in beta, if you are into it!
Extra! Tabloid photographs from the Los Angeles Herald Express (1936-1961), showing celebrities, fashion, tragedy, (early) CHiPs, and babes with guns. Via the Virtual Gallery at the LA Public Library, which has many other fine exhibits, such as California in the 20s, the 1932 Olympics, celebrity golf, and a wonderful collection from the golden age of travel posters.
How the hell did Fuzzy sink this hole-in-one?! It hangs for looooong seconds in the rough, then accelerates directly to the hole. I swear, there were magnets involved! Quite possibly the most amazing hole-in-one ever.
Though not the first time golf has been played in space, Russian cosmonauts are still planning to go ahead with the world's longest drive (3-4 years in orbit) from the International Space Station, as sponsored by the golf company Element 21 [link is to a rather neat CGI video of the shot, in wmv format. Coral Cache version.] The only problem -- it might hit the space station with the force of a 6.5 ton truck moving at 60 mph, though others are more worried about what the stunt means for the space program.
A little high stakes golf, anyone? It's no surprise that people play golf for high stakes, but it does make for an entertaining read.
There's an excellent two part dialog between Bill Simmons and Malcolm Gladwell on ESPN's Page 2 this week. The two cover a wide variety of topics such as writing, how a kid with no TV from the middle of nowhere in Canada can be a sports fan, the NFL, the economics of sports, and everyone's favorite NBA GM Isiah Thomas.
Should the LPGA control photos taken at its events to this extent? It seems like they are shooting themselves in the foot. Don't they want to be featured in the press? Are they infringing on the photographer's "rights"? More info here.
We will act deliberately and decisively, and the cause of freedom will prevail. Now, watch this drive.
Named after the hill on which Jesus was crucified, Golgotha Fun Park, once the country's #1 shaded biblical mini-golf destination, is now but a memory. Fortunately, there are still other options.
Par 5 site on the science of golf balls. Service on the newly sized tennis ball. Return on the flight of tennis balls: Part 1; Rally with Part 2. Back and forth again with Ball/Court Interaction 1 and 2, and the aerodynamics of tennis ball coverings puts it away for the point. (And apparently, the weight inside a bowling ball isn't spherical and so modeling the movement of bowling balls takes university papers and presentations.[PDF])
Urban Golf. I normally get bored quickly with golf games, but the urban twist makes this shockwave game pretty entertaining. (Just ignore the Jaguar logo and the occasional product placement.)
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