austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

If you're looking for some fun, you can always count upon

While I was looking up myself I ran across some Singapore news. The Great Singapore Duck Race is coming back. This is a festival in some way related to charity in which people buy ownership rights on a yellow rubber duck, and then one unsuspecting morning the lot are dumped into the Singapore River, and whoever owns the first one to float to the designated target wins, and we get odd little pictures of squeaking yellow flotillas of ducks sailing past the Raffles Landing Site. I was upset with myself for having missed it last year and the year before, particularly since that's when I had my rather good camera and had started to use fancy tricks like wide-angle lenses and might even be motivated to buy a telephoto lens, so I could have displayed all sorts of photographic tricks with ducks. But it turns out it's not my fault that I didn't see anything about it: they haven't had the race in a couple of years for no reason made clear in the Channel NewsAsia web site article about it.

Unfortunately, they warn, this year's might be the last Great Singapore Duck Race, since plans are under way to turn the Singapore River into another reservoir and this will presumably alter the flow patterns of the river. (The only river currently not being looked at as a potential reservoir is that running through the Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve, but it would kind of go against the spirit of the thing to dump thousands of rubber ducks in there. Also it would probably confuse the otters and crocodiles.)

And as long as I'm on odd news, I learned through Reuters that Dorset, England, recently held a World Nettle Eating Championship, a competitive eating contest in which people try to eat the plainly inedible and superficially quite painful. Mouth-numbing substances aren't allowed, apart from a bit of beer between bites. The champions were Paul Collins, a 28-year-old graphic designer who ate 58 feet, and Sonia Fewkes, a 23-year-old female woman of the non-male variety, who ate 30 feet. I like England, as much as I think appropriate for a natural-born citizen of one of her breakaway provinces, but there are times I suspect the whole country is a practical joke that got out of hand and went far past the original intended target, and now they don't know how to stop, and just have to hope if they carry on long enough somebody will call them on it. (Please don't stop it on my account, though, as it's fascinating reading.)

Trivia: The Mendip lead mine in Somerset was being worked under Roman control in AD 49, only six years after the Roman conquest of Britain began. Source: Roman Britain and Early England 55 BC - AD 871, Peter Hunter Blair.

Currently Reading: The Age of Napoleon, Will and Ariel Durant.


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