Welcome back to The Life. Happy belated Thanksgiving! It’s been a long fall out west. I’m getting sort of desperate for water. I’ve resigned to splatting the abutments of the local railroad bridge, the only thing creating current within a 50-mile radius. I like to think of it as street boating, sort of like street skating. And yes, I let my pants hang below my ass on occasion.
On to the notables: Oregon hucksters Ben Stookesberry and Jessie Coombs (left) were recently named Adventurers of the Year by National Geographic. They were nominated by a group of “30 explorers, scientists, journalist and other luminaries in the world of adventure” and profiled among other great explorers from 2006. I love these compilation features seemingly written by every outdoor magazine in existence like 5 Great Outdoor Towns or The World’s Best Athletes. I’m looking forward to 10 Ways for Chronically Absent Adventurers’ Wives to Avoid Adultery and 7 Ski Bums Living Off Unemployment You Should Know.
Andrew McAuley is vying to be the first person to solo paddle the 1600 kilometers of Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia. He’ll carry 60 kilos of fatty food to keep his energy stores up, sleeping in his kayak during the trip. Hardcore would be putting it lightly.
For the metrically challenged, that’s 1000 miles and 132 pounds of food. He hopes to finish in a month. To pass the time, he told an Australian newspaper he’ll be listening to his i-pod full of the Foo Fighters, the Smashing Pumpkins and Jack Johnson. My advice: Consider a book on pod. Too much of Johnson’s Bubbly Toes and he’ll be tearing out his own toe nails.
Some of you may have caught the underground footage passed via the web lately of Nick Easley getting his face rearranged during last month’s Green River Race in Asheville, North Carolina. Easley was knocked out cold when he came off Gorilla Falls upside down. Props to rescuers including Toby MacDermont, Tommy Hilleke, Jason Hale and others who helped pull Easley from the drink. Thankfully, he came out none the worse for wear, albeit with a screaming headache. In case you missed it, here’s the clip:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D35fat6vdWA
Bar none, the Green River Race is one of the gnarliest competitions out there. The classic-creek combo of big drops and slides back-to-back-to-back are a recipe for disaster. But I guess the rewards for the competitors far outweigh the dangers? One Paddling Life editor coined this recent accident a mauling. I was going with slobberknocker but mauling will suffice. And that’s definitely what it was.
Okay, these aren’t as much gripes as concerns. Last week two celebrities made huge faux paux’s in their respective comeback attempts. Michael Richards, better known as Kramer from Seinfeld, went off in a hate-filled diatribe during his stand up routine at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. A group of African American men were giving him a hard time and he fired back with a slur of ugly racial remarks. It was like Kramer joins the Klan. Yikes! There’s tape of it out there on the Web but I don’t want to link you to it. It doesn’t deserve the justification.
Nearly, simultaneously, OJ Simpson and his publicists announced he was releasing a book titled If I did It. I’m trying to put myself in the mindset of a man who allegedly killed his wife (there have been no other suspects identified), was found guilty of the crime in a civil court, and now wants to write a book about it, speaking in the hypothetical. No real punch-line to explain that one away. After public outcry, the publishers canceled the book. All I know for sure is the world is definitely ending when one of football’s all-time greatest running backs wants to write anything about killing his wife and a comedian from one of America’s most beloved sitcoms racially insults his fans. If it does end, you’ll find me living out of my kayak somewhere on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone. I’ll take a breakdown fly-rod, a few beers and a few good friends. And I’m never coming out. Except to restock the beer.
These washed up celebrities need to take a page out of the Brad Ludden book of public relations. It’s titled Humble and the E is silent, something they should try to be.
Games of the Week
Last week I mentioned that many paddlers are closet pigskin fans so I’d give you a couple of games to pay attention to. I was 1-1 in my predictions. Here are my contests to tune in on the radio this week as you travel out to paddle.
Notre Dame vs. University of Southern California
Classic match up this Saturday. Winner will probably meet Ohio State in the National Championship. I’m going with the Trojans 32-12. The USC offense is to high powered and the Notre Dame defense is like my buddy’s 85-year-old grandpa who just got into the Viagra trend—they get all excited but never get anywhere fast.
Chicago vs. New England
I’ve coined this the Battle of the Dress Code. A few NFL coaches, like the 49ers’ Mike Nolan and Jacksonville’s Jack Del Rio, have gotten into this wearing-a-suit thing as throwbacks to the Tom Landry days. On the other hand, Chicago’s Lovie Smith will sport his starter jacket and a Bear’s stocking cap while Bill Bellichick will wear his gray hoodie with the sleeves torn off. Together, they’ll look like they should be gathered around an oil-barrel fire under a bridge. I’ll take New England, 28-21.