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Thread: Good News!

  1. #46
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    Ever had a package delivered, then stolen from your place? An engineer designed a trap for the thieves. Watch and be amazed.


    This could totally go in the laugh thread as it gets real funny at around 7 minutes in.

    Last edited by Dreamtimer, 12th January 2019 at 09:25.

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  3. #47
    Senior Member United States Maggie's Avatar
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    On the subject of Good News, the ongoing illumination of where evil is able to lie unchallenged is occurring. Along with that, there is good news of heros/heroines who are helping people heal from generations of trauma.


    Miss Val on the crisis of abuse in US gymnastics

    Katelyn Ohashi went to UCLA where she met Miss Val (a GREAT coach who is retiring this year.). Katelyn (along with many other atheletes) was beaten down by an abusive system that only cares for wins and not the atheletes. She lost her joy.


    The UCLA Bruin gymnastics spirit is one of a safe haven where these atheletes can experience trust worthy care and concern. It exemplifies what sports is supposed to promote IMO. Miss Val is a wayshower who loves the Light. People who do, are fun, creative, lovable AND successful.

    Whenever I get a bit petrified of the unknown, I always turn toward the Light, the Light that is inside of me and the light outside that I can physically see.

    Rather than instructing myself to “find the Light,” I realized I’ve just naturally done this for years. I find a quiet place where I can think without distraction and tap into my inner Light. That energy is my North Star, my internal barometer of my contentment, fulfillment and happiness. So many people impose their definition of those words on us, and when we follow their definitions, we are often left empty and unfulfilled.

    When I get internally flustered, I also seek out physical light. I don’t drop to my knees in prayer, I literally go find light. Even if it’s looking out a window on a cloudy grey day, I seek where the sun is behind the grey. That light is what God created, and I’m always drawn to distinguishing the juxtaposition of what was Created and what man has assembled. Even as I look outside at a building or the freeway, I am amazed by the beautiful canvas of nature that gives background to these structures.
    In the 28 seasons that Miss Val has been head coach, UCLA hasn’t always been on top of the nationals podium, but the one constant—from the high drama of Yvonne Tousek in the early 2000s to Angi Cipra’s crowd-favorite “iPhone routine” in 2016, to this season’s “escaped asylum inmate” performance-art piece from Gracie Kramer—has been the Bruins’ multifaceted, high-concept, complex floor and beam choreography. It is only fitting that in her final season—Miss Val announced her impending retirement this past September—every exercise in the UCLA catalog is Val to the max. (In Ohashi’s case, it’s Val to the power of Val, on a triple espresso.)

    This is all so fun! It really, really is. Man, college gymnastics is fun. And I bet you’re wondering: If gymnastics can be this fun, why do most Olympic floor routines look like awkward misery? Why don’t the Bruins go to the Olympics and show them all how it’s done?

    One word: difficulty. The NCAA—where many elites go after they’ve “retired” from international competition—has different rules than Olympic-style gymnastics. Remember that infuriating open-ended scoring system in Rio? That system means that there is literally not a limit to how much elite gymnasts can tumble, and because they get extra points the more difficult those tumbling runs are, and because the routine length is still the same 1 minute 30 seconds it’s been since the days of Nadia and the piano, that means that on the rare chance these (sometimes very) young women get to stop defying death for four seconds, they have to do über-difficult “dance” elements like full-twisting switch leaps and quadruple pirouettes. There’s no time to moonwalk.

    In her teens, Ohashi wasn’t just one of these elites—she was the best in the world. (She is, in fact, one of the last people to have ever beaten her good friend Simone Biles in a major competition.) Check out her floor exercise from the 2013 American Cup, which features much more difficult tumbling, and lots of it. (Or her legendary 2013 beam routine, still considered one of the most difficult the world has ever seen.) But in 2015, nursing a serious shoulder injury, Ohashi found that her body and her spirit were broken and dropped out of elite competition. It was only after joining the Bruins in 2015 that her joy in the sport returned. And lucky us!

    Most college floor-ex routines are peppy and cocksure; many employ what I am pretty sure young people call the Hot Dance Moves of Today.
    You see, in the NCAA world, there are rules more befitting the humans of Earth. Instead of being pegged to the international elite level, the difficulty and execution code of points comes from what’s called JO Level 10 (in fact, the majority of most college teams are recruited out of the Level 10 ranks). On floor, this means exactly three tumbling passes and a maximum start-value of 10. And because of this emphasis on execution rather than difficulty, NCAA gymnasts have the time and incentive to train in dance. Simultaneously, because elite gymnasts don’t really dance anymore as NCAA choreography has become more dynamic, with few notable exceptions (such as Dutch wood sprite Eythora Thorsdottir), elite choreography has become … belabored, which is the official gymnastics term for eeeeeeeeeech. The days of Bolshoi-trained masters of the avant-garde such as Svetlana Boginskaya or Olga Strazheva are as forgotten as a Yakov Smirnoff set.

    Additionally, because gymnastics culture, and especially American gymnastics culture, is conservative by nature—most elites are underage, homeschooled, and forbidden from dating or going to parties—the choreography, especially in the American tradition, has always been kinda cutesy. It is unlikely that even in 2019, an elite American floor routine will, like UCLA’s Margzetta Frazier, werk it in tribute to drag legend Kevin Aviance. But just because the gymnasts of NCAA are allowed to be playful and slightly bananas on floor doesn’t mean they all can be. Most college floor-ex routines are peppy and cocksure; many employ what I am pretty sure young people call the Hot Dance Moves of Today—but as of yet, nobody but Miss Val can conjure that je ne sais quoi (or perhaps I should say je ne sais shamon) that makes the internet lose its collective mind.

    With Miss Val’s encroaching retirement, you may fear that the days of hyper-expressive (or at any rate, hyper-viral) NCAA floor choreography will end, and this is a valid concern. Though other top teams are often stepping up their choreo game—Trinity Thomas of the 2019 Florida Gators is looking particularly wow—nobody has ever come close to Val-era ’zazz. (The closest any non-UCLA squad has yet come is BYU junior Shannon Hortman-Evans’s Super Mario Bros. routine. It has flossing in it. Really.)

    We’ll have to see what the Bruins squad brings out in 2020, the first year of their new epoch. (If you hear the dulcet strains of Madonna, Bell Biv Devoe, or literally any Jackson whatsoever, that’s the tell that Miss Val banked a few routines before she left.) Maybe the Bruins will come out looking more like their competitors’ perky cheerleader-types, and we can all mourn together. For now, at least, at least you can bask in the frenetic joy of Katelyn Ohashi—if the whiplash doesn’t get you.


    Last edited by Maggie, 15th January 2019 at 21:30.

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