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Enthusiasts whack pickleballs on game's 50th anniversary

Whacking pickleball

Aficionados gathered on Saturday at the Water Tower Recreation Center in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia to play "pickleball" to mark the sport's half century mark. The sport, a mid-way mash-up of ping pong and tennis, was made up 50 years ago by a Washington state U.S. congressman and some friends to amuse their bored families after a shuttlecock couldn't be found to play badminton. Pickleball is becoming increasingly popular among aging baby-boomers who enjoy racket sports but find it  difficult to cover the ground required on a regulation size tennis court. Dan Wheeler founded the Northwest Philadelphia meetup group which now numbers over 500 members. Watch video and interviews here.

Enthusiasts whack pickleballs


Dollhouse size library now open

Renee Polsky of the Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library shows off the "little free library, " a dollhouse-like wooden structure mounted on a post next to the book return bin outside the Chestnut Hill Library. The public is welcome to take one book at a time and donate a booking return. The miniature honor system lending library holds about 20 books. In the three weeks since it was installed many of the books supplied by the Friends haven been taken, Polsky says, but the books donated by borrowers haven't been as good quality. The Friends purchased the pricey house from a catalog and Polsky says these little libraries are springing up in small towns around he country. She is hoping to check out similar ones that she has heard have popped up at private residences elsewhere in Chestnut Hill. Watch video here.


Vet sports LOVE cap

Veteran wears LOVE cap

Seventy six year old Mr. Bell, whose granddaughter is often at his home in Mount Airy, didn’t think his granddaughter would mind if he borrowed her cap with the big red letters shouting “LOVE” on his walk to the doctor’s office in Wyndmoor. He says he loves people, always wears a smile no matter what his problems and being from North Carolina, is “just like that.”  Outfitted in full fatigues, Bell, now retired, cheerily related his long work history since serving in the army when he was eighteen as an automotive mechanic at a base near Frankfurt, Germany.

Watch video interview here.


GO MO MATH - Math Museum of NYC

squarewheeltrikespherestickies

We arrived at the Museum of Math one hour before closing on a Saturday in late summer and zipped through it. The exhibits deserved more than the limited time we gave them and these videos, summarized below, will help us understand what we experienced with the intriguing interactive demonstrations. GO MO MATH!

SHAPES OF CONSTANT WIDTH You sit on a boat-shaped platform above a field of irregularly shaped objects and yet glide rather smoothly over them because these objects, such as the Meissner tetrahedron, all have the same constant diameter whichever way they roll.

SQUARE WHEELS, CATENARY CURVES You ride a tricycle with square wheels without any problem. This is because the surface you are riding on is catenary curved (hyperbolic cosine). And, for any shaped wheel, there is a corresponding road that will facilitate locomotion.

A SPECIAL SQUARE When you and others step upon this large lit-from-below square, the square divides into as many differently colored geometric areas as there are people and each point within any one’s area is closer to that person than to any one else.

THE HUMAN FRACTAL TREE On a projection screen, a copy of your body is copied where your arms are and on those projections, your body is again copied where your arms are and so on, forming a fractal pattern of you as a tree.

SOLIDS OF REVOLUTION SLICED TWISTED, REATTACHED AND ROLLED Solids of revolution are cut along the axis of symmetry and then twisted and reattached to form an asymmetric object which then describes a distinct path when it rolls and it’s your job to match up each object with the trail it makes.


Siri performs in their Odyssey of the Mind

Chestnut Hill Garden Festival 201305

Effervescent Sammi Baker and her partner Nathan Hyer brought their paper Mache puppet “Siri” out to Chestnut Hill Garden Festival to raise funds for “Odyssey of the Mind.” The Plymouth Whitemarsh high school students participate in this extracurricular activity in which school teams compete against each other in creative problem solving and have to keep their builds within a set budget. (Siri appeared in their competition skit.) Their team (which also includes Cooper Smith, Colleen McFillon, Ryan Silverthorn, Michael Krone and Diana Westerfer) placed fifth in the Pennsylvania state finals but that wasn’t quite high enough to entitle them to a trip to the globals this year.

Watch video here.

 


Waves down cars for Liberty Tax Service

Waver for Liberty Tax Service

With a shiny turquoise gown and spiked Statute of Liberty hat to match, bearded Tom Humphrey waves at cars passing by on Ridge Avenue in Roxborough to drum up business for Liberty Tax Services. “It’s a fun job,” and he gets to meet a lot of people and see his neighbors, says Humphrey who works four-hour shifts, morning, noon or night, depending on his schedule. Some “wavers” who work other shifts are not so keen on the rainy, sleety or snowy conditions that, he hints, don’t faze him. According to Humphrey, this is Liberty’s signature and effective way of advertising, as the company does not advertise on radio, TV or in newspapers. Watch video here.

 


Dances midst sculpture: Philly Fringe

Averill-Goudie Dances       dance with braided branches

Watch video here. Ellie Goudie-Averill of Stone Depot Dance Lab performs structured and improvisational dances amidst art installations in the warehouse space of Pieri Creations in the  Frankford section of Philadelphia. She talks about how a poetry workshop by Philly poet C.A. Conrad inspired her to write dance instructions for her "Serpent" piece for her part of the bill of "Make it, Break it, Rebuild it," a series of dance performances for the Philadephia Live Arts/Fringe Festival. Averill narrates her first of two dances with a large, branch braided shield-like object, Averill talking about how it's hard to go to sleep with the television on and how 60 some percent of people aged 20 to 37 get their news primarily from Jon Stewart.

Dancer deconstructs or something"Experimental movement artist Zornitsa Stoyanova. Often times theatrical, her collaborations explore non linear stories, movement invention, spoken word, and object installation." From the Philadelphia Live Arts Fringe Festival 2012 program description. When we walked into this performance, Stoyonova, dressed in large inflated, translucent plastic bags including one over her head was making fine and deliberate movements, sometimes just with her hands which drew our focus, trying to elicit meaning or purpose to their transformation. Watch video interview here.

Scotsman plays joke on partygoers

Scotsman plays joke on partygoers

Watch video here.

I went to a party in West Virginia and it was a guy’s retirement party. And he had this t-shirt on and it said “Glasgow, Scotland” because he was in the military, he was in the Marines, or Navy that one, one of three. And we’re having a few drinks and someone says, you should go up to the microphone, it’s Karaoke and say you’re Kaley’s son from Scotland. I said, “I can’t do that.” He says, “Come on.” So eventually we had a whip around. And the whip around was up to sixty dollars and being Scotch, you can’t turn down that money. So I went up to the microphone. I was like, “It’s finally great to meet my Dad bringing me here to meet at his retirement party.” Half the party knew I was doing it but the other half didn’t. So it was like, “Chhhh!”  But it turned out the guy knew, he found out this was going to happen. He stood up, come up and just hugged us for a good five minutes. I was standing there, I didn’t know he knew.  So I was kind of thinking this is great, he thinks, this guy doesn’t know. And then his mother comes from nowhere so gives us a hug. “It’s great to meet you now.” “Oh, you too.” And eventually I found out they knew. But later on I’m talking to this girl at the party and getting a bit closer to her. It’s going all right. A guy comes up to me, “You all know she’s your cousin.” And I’m like, yeah. “It’s alright now, you’re in West Virginia.” I thought it was brilliant"

As related by a UK Elite soccer coach who, for this story, prefers to be identified as "John Deere."