The NCAA College Basketball Tournament is upon us, there's a Fanfare thread for live-watching, and Mefites are comparing predictions -- so hurry up and submit those men's and women's March Madness brackets if you want in.
Amazing pictures of the traditional Catalonian human towers called castells. Mefites share more background:
samelborp reports in from Catalonia: "... I went to the plaça de la vila (town's main square) to see them perform. One thing is to watch it in TV, but when you are there you realize what it takes to build those inmense human towers, the huge amount of people and how they arrange themselves..."
fuzz follows castelling too: "[Catalan tv] covers the Castellers every week as though it were a major sporting event. [...] it's amazing how the competition has intensified ... An 8-level castell was impressive a few years back; this time I got to see two successful 10-level towers."
In a 2005 thread, shoepal told how "I actually participated in a castelling (practice) event on a hot autumn afternoon in a small town outside of Barcelona. I was part of the base of the castle and had folks walking on my shoulders towards the center."
...and benzo8 on being a regular casteller: "us guys at the bottom may well have ten people directly on our shoulders, and maybe fifty-sixty people above us in total!"
Put your dancing shoes on and take a trip around the world, in gusandrews's fascinating comment on the myriad ways social dance changes and spreads.
Doroteo Arango II reflects on one night at a famous dance club in London. "In 2002 I made a literal last minute decision, standing at the check-in line at the airport after a visit to my sister, to stay in London and see how long and how far I could make it with 100 pounds and basic English..."
Did you catch the incredible historical find, re-created Afro-Caribbean dance music from the 1600s?
What are some of your favorite transcendent, gives-you-chills performances? (And how about most amazing heart-in-your-throat sports moments?)
Conspire describes how this dancer's sign-language performance modifies lyrics and mixes languages to better serve the intended viewer.
Come join us on FanFare to discuss the Olympics! Tonight the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. All athletic events will be in the Olympic all-sports thread, and specific sports will be listed on the Olympics page as the games go on.
There's a MetaTalk thread for giving feedback on this experiment.
There has been some good stuff around lately. Hope you didn't miss the inspiring ass-kicking Paralympic athletes...
...or the "spiritual black metal blues" of Zeal and Ardor...
...or this jewelbox of an animated video from the Israeli band Jane Bordeaux....
...or this essay about literature and magic realism in contemporary China...
...or the wide-ranging playlist of music from all over Africa from the 1930s to 1960s...
...or the influential landscapes by once-neglected but newly-renowned African-American painters from Florida.
Members are testing how Fanfare can handle sports events, and the Eurovision song contest! Come check out the new clubs:
Other folks are welcome to try out coordinating discussions for other sports, as well. Drop by the Metatalk thread if you want to hash out an idea.
And for a summer's worth of film series and book discussion and more, check out all the other FanFare Clubs.
MeFi member parliboy gives a good explanation why putt-putt golf competitions are actually pretty serious and the courses are somewhat standardized.
Things don't always go perfectly according to plan. Moisture in the carpet affects traction and skidding. And skidding plays a much larger role with a banking shot, with a decent angle, because the changed angle of the ball might not be what you want it to be if the weather is off. (And no, you're not allowed to wipe to rain off of the rail; the rules actually prohibit that.) Wind plays a role, like with "real" golf.
So, yeah — being a ref in this case did not involve the kind of ref action you'd see in boxing or other physical sports. The players were well-behaved (no cheating that I saw, no pausing, etc.). But it's a real tournament, and the players are serious. They're also using thrift store equipment that could die at any time, so I was keeping track of scores in realtime in case we lost a console, TV, etc. and I had to call whoever was ahead. Keeping track of the two scores is actually pretty hard.
At the third perfect game thrown in Major League Baseball this season, MetaFilter member Slarty Bartfast brought his 3 year old son to see his first game and it sounds like not only the perfect day but you find out the coincidences don't stop there:
At the last called strike, the crowd goes wild and the team is jumping up and down, giving each other hugs not 10 yards in front of us. My boy is getting high fives from all the people around us including the Mariners Moose and the people sitting in the row behind us who tell me my kid is the cutest, luckiest kid ever. Perfect game, indeed.
How one man made the decision to end his football career before it got ended by injury.
By my junior year I became a starter because the guy ahead of me popped a hernia. By that time I was the final OL from my peers in freshman football camp. All the other O linemen I had practiced and bonded with had to quit the team due to injury, one by one. Blown knees, wrecked lower backs, loose shoulders, and one concussion so spectacular that I remember the sound to this day.
During the second game of the year one of the juco transfer OL went down with a knee injury. I heard him yelp as he went down. As I watched him get carried off the field, I had an epiphany which was: "What the HELL am I doing?" I was like the poor soul in the war movie who turns around to realize a sniper has taken everyone else out.
No, a better analogy would be "the cop who won't stop talking about being a week from retirement". Having this realization on the 45 yd line in the middle of the 3rd quarter is not really ideal. I spent the rest of the time with my mind racing during every single play - is that the sound of me about to be blindsided? Is that the pocket collapsing towards my knee?
When this video was posted to MetaFilter of school children in Kenya recreating the end of the 1986 World Series, what were the chances a member of MetaFilter is not only in Kenya currently, but also personally met and knew Bill Buckner, the subject of that famous 1986 game?
Surprisingly, the chances were pretty good.