Malletball

Yesterday afternoon in the park, we helped celebrate our friend Thomas’s birthday with a potluck and games. I played some chess, had my hand injured in a slack-line tightening incident (I’m fine), didn’t come in dead last at croquet, and ate some of the best devilled eggs and broccoli salad I’ve ever had. By all accounts, it was already a great afternoon, but then something amazing happened.

Thomas pulled out a volleyball and together with five others of us armed with croquet mallets, we spontaneously created the new lawn game and soon to be sensation, “Malletball”.

It was amazing how simple and yet complex the game was from the start. We cordoned off a small section of the park, using croquet gates to mark goal posts. We felt that it would be too difficult to score if one could just block with his body, but what would be the punishment if you did block? I came up with the idea that it should be a point for the other team if the ball touches you and Thomas added then that it would be five points for a goal. So quick; so perfect.

Probably the most amazing part was that despite swinging mallets at each other nobody got hurt. As long as Matthew’s smashed thumb doesn’t count as somebody. There were a few near misses. One time I raised my mallet up over my head to stop a flying ball, the end of the mallet unscrewed and came tumbling down nearly grazing my head… resulting in the birth of the no high-sticking rule.

Some other interesting developments, Thomas invented a way to juggle the ball in the air, I created a fairly inspiring “behind the back” maneuver, not to mention the ways we learned to flip the ball up to a teammate to try and hit it at an unsuspecting opponent. (Though it is easier said than done).

The teams were very even. We decided to finish at 100 points, and the final tally was 100 – 94. I can’t wait to try it again, perhaps with hockey nets next time.

Malletball

The Bad Review Revue

The Huntsman: Winter’s War: “The script lifts so much plot from Disney’s animated Frozen that it could qualify as a remake. No one sings “Let It Go,” but my advice to audiences is to do just that.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

The Boss: “Did they set out to make an even worse movie than 2014’s Tammy? Well, they did-crude, cruel, coarse and laughless.” Jim Lane — Sacramento News & Review

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: “The film’s only other notable ingredients, sadly, are the most rumbling soundtrack since Earthquake, a lot of jaw grinding by Ben Affleck, some narrative confusion remarkable even by director Zack Snyder’s standards, and… hours and hours of your time.” Stuart Klaxons — The Nation

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2: “Here’s an invitation to decline.” Linda Cook — Quad City Times

Meet the Blacks: “The movie as a whole is such an incompetent train wreck, you can’t look away, just to see how much worse it can get.” Christy Lemire — RogerEbert.com

Sascha

Today Andrea and I said goodbye to our lovely dog Sascha. She hasn’t been doing well and eventually the time came that the kindest thing we could do for her was to euthanize.

Young Pup Sascha

Andrea got Sascha from a women, who got her from a family, who got her from a shelter, who got her from a family. As in, Andrea became her fifth and final family, way back in 2006.

The story goes that the woman couldn’t really keep Sascha but she didn’t want to return her to the shelter because she had already been to the shelter once and, according to the woman, if Sascha went back, there was a strong possibility she would be put down.

Sascha with Andrea

When Andrea and I started dating, she explained to me that she and Sascha went for walks in the coulee everyday. They were returning from one of those walks when I happened upon them in April of 2013. So, in a way, I have Sascha to thank for meeting Andrea.

Sascha with Andrea and me

She was so lovely. She will be missed.

The Bad Review Revue

Gods of Egypt: “Gods of Egypt is a movie that requires more effort to sit through than it did to make it.” — Will Leitch, The New Republic

Triple 9: “Worth the $15 to get out of the cold.” — Mike Ryan, Uproxx

Risen: “Risen never rises, if you will, above the material.” — Maitland McDonagh, Film Journal International

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2: “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny isn’t so much a continuation as a Xerox copy with cheap toner.” — Jordan Hoffman, Guardian

Zoolander 2: “Stumbles down the runway like an overdressed supermodel with two left feet.” — Steve Davis, Austin Chronicle

V8 Working Papercraft Engine Model

Perhaps the most impressive papercraft I’ve ever seen, engineer Aliaksei Zholner created a working v8 model almost completely out of paper with just a few pieces of scotch tape added to reduce friction. The engine is so tiny it fits inside the plastic container found inside a Kinder Surprise egg. In this demonstration video, Zholner shows that tiny size doesn’t interfere with the engine’s moving components and when hooked up to a steady stream of air from a balloon, the whirling motor purrs in a rhythm not unlike a real engine.

The Bad Review Revue

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip: “The next time the chipmunks make something together, I hope it’s a fur coat.” — Kyle Smith, New York Post

The Forest: “The clich├ęs are so thick, sometimes you can’t see ‘The Forest’ for the cheese.” — Stephen Whitty, Newark Star Ledger

Point Break: “The new version of ‘Point Break’ is pretty dumb. But in other ways, it’s not like the original at all.” — Eric D. Snider, ericdsnider.com

Pan: “Given how much of Pan is frustratingly wrongheaded, the whole thing should have been given the hook long before it ever hit theaters.” — Christopher Lawrence, Las Vegas Review-Journal

The Himalayas: “If someone had pushed the film cans for The Himalayas off a mountain, we’d be all the better for it.” — Diva Velez, TheDivaReview.com