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Where tall tales, real and imagined, absurd and compelling, are served with a smile
Brad Ludden is a literal superstar in the world of professional whitewater kayaking. He began his affair with fast-moving water as a young boy, ultimately ascending to the pinnacle of the sport. This did not come easily. Kayaking can have an unforgiving learning curve and Ludden’s passage through those trials was not smooth sailing. Admittedly, encounters with confidence-shaking terror proved to be nearly impassable obstacles for Brad, at one point leading him to quit the sport for an entire year. I get this. I have not been back in my kayak since almost cashing in on The Big Thompson River almost two years ago. Fortunately I walked away with only a dislocated elbow, an absolutely pulped lower body and back, hypothermia, and a determination to never stuff myself into a tube of hard plastic on a violent river again (at least, that is how I feel now…). Brad Ludden, however, did find his way back into the current. Flash forward a number of years and Ludden is a professional that travels the world, seeing places that most of us could not even imagine, and tackling rapids that only a handful of kayakers would even dare. His accomplishments are legion though his greatest feat, in his eyes, is his establishment of First Descents, a non-profit kayaking camp for young adults with cancer. Kayaking is unlike any other sport in the world. It is at the same time intimidating, exhilarating, challenging, and inspiring. But perhaps above all else, it is empowering. Through First Descents, Brad Ludden brings that empowerment to ordinary people confronted with extraordinary circumstances and within the boundaries of moving water, opens the horizons of a moving soul. Brad Ludden, you are awesome.
Please take a moment to watch the story of Brad and First Descents.
Excerpt from The Vanishing Point, an original work by Jeff Moore
THERE IS AN EARNESTNESS about a plane taking flight. It is as if the entire collection of metal and wire and moving parts knows that it is defying more than gravity. That it is somehow a fraud, always on guard against the ultimate exposure. When I am actually awake and observing the initial ascent of an airliner, I often find myself anxiously rooting for it to achieve a zenith that will allow it to stop holding its breath and cruise closer to normal. I imagine that as it gains altitude, it looks back over its shoulder and realizes how commitment defines it and desperation drives it to not fail its flock, the passengers. Or that it, too, is terrified at the thought of dropping out of the sky. A self-contradicting aviophobist.
Thoughts like these – coupled with the dreams – make it fair to presume that I don’t like to fly. That is not the case, however. I don’t mind flying at all. The process is a system, no more, no less. Millions of things in a day to day existence are founded upon the integrity of systems. Sure, the system may fail. But agonizing over that statistically minute possibility wasn’t going to help keep the plane aloft.
The reality was that I love to drive. Particularly alone. I’ve gone on trips into remote areas of the country and south of the border where it truly feels as if the map reached a point in the rearview mirror and stayed behind while I carried on. That kind of road-bound unknown is very liberating. I see things and people that ninety-nine point nine percent of the earth’s population never will if only because there really is no reason to. For me, that makes those sights special – the fact that they only are what they are, nothing more. There will be times when I’ll find myself rolling down the macadam without seeing another car or other sign of life for hours. What freedom. Just me and the smooth hum of rubber on asphalt while a veritable time warp is traversed. Be it desert, mountain, forest… At times like those there are no voices for miles. But the terrain itself is speaking to me like Shakespeare. Read more of this post
We’re coming into the week’s homestretch. Sometimes that is when we most need a boost. Take a look at this video short for Corona. I don’t surf, but this had me dreaming of destinations I covet and the stories that would see me there.
Greetings, all. Because great commercials are often manifestations of great writing, The Nonsense Cafe will regularly welcome you with something you may or may not have seen before (hopefully, no). Often these will be spots from overseas, like this one for Cravendale milk by Wieden + Kennedy London.
If you have a little more time (3 mins.), another humorous offering from the agency JTW New York for Wilkinson Sword, apparently a company that makes body lawn mowers of a sort (though perhaps the ultimate messaging is a little lacking). Being prone to the occasional hair or two in places only appropriate to time-traveling cave men, this one gives me an insider’s chuckle.
The following is a work of fresh fiction. I have no preconceived notions as to where this story will go or end up. It will be a collaborative piece based upon input from readers. There will be two or three questions at the end for consideration. Any other freeform suggestions/contributions are welcome as well.
IT WAS COLD, but not too cold. Because it was early, the temperature hovered in the low teens. The air was crisp like cold water and biting like a wind in the bones. That would change as the day progressed with the march of the sun, the temperature easing into the mid-twenties.
Ian Ware didn’t notice the cold. There were parts of him that had grown numb to any sensation whatsoever in fact. Others served as lightning rods for sadness, remorse, and pain. Still as stone, he absently regarded the pristine peak reaching towards the sky before him. He wasn’t alone, which was fine. Other early risers let skis and boards fall to the firm snow, landing with a wet slap, as they waited for the aerial tram – nicknamed ‘The Red Heli’ – to start loading. It was mid-week at the renowned resort and out of the high season, so the numbers were relatively few. That, too, was fine.
Kneeling, he worked a loose strap on one of his bindings, ensuring that it didn’t require immediate attention. Satisfying himself that there were no structural concerns, he stood and began some light stretching, concentrating on his hips and shoulders. The legs would loosen themselves. Limber shoulders, however, were key to avoiding injury in the event of an unexpected fall. Throughout his relaxed movements his eyes loosely scanned the arriving skiers and snowboarders, vigilant without being overtly so. The colorful collection had grown to about twenty-five people. For the most part, they looked the part of experienced riders. Jackson Hole was a challenging mountain; not exactly replete with beginner fare. And, again, it was early…on a weekday…out of the high season.
There was a murmur of both sound and movement as the attendants opened the gates at the head of the line, announcing without words that the first tram was about to start loading. Like a cross between cattle and an elite military unit, the purposefully attired, world class athletes moved towards the promised land, their breath painting the air around them in vanishing clouds and their gear clattering softly.
Ware kept his eyes, hidden behind polarized goggles, active. Between the goggles and his helmet, as well as the moderate beard he had diligently cultivated and the controlled chaos of the moment, he had no concerns about being noticed. Moving loosely and quietly, he made his way to the loading area and carefully positioning himself so that he would have some degree of say as to where he stood once inside the one hundred person carriage. The expectant energy in those around him was palpable. A fast-moving storm had dropped half a foot of snow on the mountain the night before. Not enough to inspire a rash of local sick days, but enough to warrant the early start. Under normal circumstances, Ware – an avid snowboarder that had spent the better part of a quarter century honing his skills – would likewise be experiencing the kind of giddiness that the promise of a perfect day generated. But not on this day. He had come a long way and not just in terms of geography to find himself standing in that particular group, on that particular day, at that particular time. Keep Reading!
I discovered this in the lifestyle section of DigitalTrends.com and find myself conflicted with regards to my feelings about the concept. On the one hand, any and all efforts to bring one of the most enduring pillars of guzzle games into the living room should be lauded. On the other, Beer Pong is a highly sloppy sport (that’s right, sport) and the finely-tuned athletes (that’s right, athletes) that partake in it must not be shackled by the strictures of indoor (non-basement, non-garage) decorum. Furthermore, the width of this fashionable facsimile of the repurposed pong-pitch is a concern. Would it hinder or accentuate top-level defense? I do not know. I do know, however, that the ball-retrieval scoops cut down to the center bay are a win because Beer Pong players are generally amongst the laziest of the lazy.
The Starburst “contradiction” campaign, where oxymorons come to life, from the firm TBWA\Chiat\Day strikes me as pretty creative if only because it is inherently open to infinite possibilities. In the spot below, we’re presented with the Slow Getaway Driver contradiction.
In the meantime, a Starburst spot of a different nature.
You are now armed with an effective response when confronted with a displeasing situation at home or the office (or anywhere for that matter) – just break into the Berries & Cream dance. Can’t miss. Though if you resort to this last line of defense with your wife, leave out the fake kick at the end. You’ll thank me.
One can dream, can he not?
Lago di Como, Italy
I awoke this morning and said, “Buongiorno!” to my wife before choppily asking, “Quale è il suo nome?” She told me that her name was Amber and kindly requested a moratorium on my clumsy attempts at Italian. “Ho bisogno di fare pratica con il mio italiano!” (I need to practice my Italian!). “No!” (No!). Disregarding her implied irritation, I bellowed, “Bene! Torno Subito.” (Good! I’ll be right back.) before throwing on a long, flowing scarf and hopping on a Vespa for a pair of laps around our hillside townhome overlooking majestic Lake Como. Read more of this post
We are well deep into the throes of the football doldroms. Soon things may become desperate enough that we resort to donning the shoulder pads and tackling strangers out on the street. But be warned: “It was a clean hit, Your Honor!” is a tenuous defense at best – except maybe in places like Green Bay and Pittsburg. With the 2010 Super Bowl a seemingly distant memory and the very existence of the 2011 season in question, some simple inquiries to whet your pigskin whistle.
I would have chosen Phillip Rivers for both. My wife is a rabid Chargers fan and she wears the shoulder pads in our house.
Ahhh, the prank. In advance of April Fool’s Day, it would appear some determined hoax-sters have thrown down the gauntlet with a harmless practical joke of the roadside variety. The mock warning was displayed along the road leading from Boulder down to Denver. Predictably, nobody bought it (at least I hope so). But the guffaws were many. In total, zero actual zombies were reported though I am quite certain that I spotted a few doing the painfully slow, zero gravity of the moon, ten minute teen-strut through a ten foot crosswalk over by CU. I had to read lips but I am pretty sure they were muttering, “Brains,” over and over again as they slow-walked themselves backwards in time. Read more of this post