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Holidays for the bored, why golfers keep at it, right-wing laffs

Holidays for the bored

- In an article on "the world's worst theme parks," Foreign Policy magazine includes Grutas Park in Druskininkai, Lithuania. "Step back into the halcyon days of Stalinism, experience the joys of Gulag life, immerse yourself in the warm embrace of totalitarianism. … Grutas Park is actually intended as a reminder of the dark days of totalitarianism. It's not all gloom and doom, though: There's a playground for the kids and the Gulag train, which puts a lovely spin on being sent to Siberia in a cattle car in the dead of winter."

- At this month's Tourism Futures conference in Brisbane, Australia, design concepts for creative ideas were showcased, reports. Craig Shim, the marketing manager for Tourism Queensland, said a French company offers simulated kidnapping packages. People can pay to be abducted without warning, bound, gagged and imprisoned for between four and 10 hours. "It allows you to experience the terror of the real thing," Mr. Shim said.

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Why golfers keep at it

"There are many reasons that golfers rattle off for their infatuation with the game: camaraderie, competition, exercise, the aesthetics of the golf course," John Paul Newport writes for The Wall Street Journal. "But research consistently reveals that the simple joy of hitting the ball well ranks highest. In a survey of avid golfers done 10 years ago by an industry group, for example, 29 per cent of respondents chose 'ball striking' as their top reason for enjoying the game. The second most chosen reason was 'the people you play with,' at 19 per cent. No other response drew more than 9 per cent of the vote, including posting a good score, at 8 per cent."

World o' @#%!#%

Some statistics from the current issue of Psychology Today magazine, in its article "Profane brain: The world of taboo words."

- The average English speaker utters 85 taboo or swear words per day. This includes mild expletives such as "Jesus Christ." Eighty per cent of the swearing uttered by Americans comes from just 10 words or phrases.

- In surveys of public swearing episodes by men and women, men accounted for 67 per cent of such behaviour in 1996 and 55 per cent in 2006; women accounted for 33 and 45 per cent, respectively, in the same years.

- Some 10 to 30 per cent of those with Tourette's syndrome display the uncontrollable urge to erupt into profanity. In 2000, British researchers documented the case of a deaf man with Tourette's whose verbal tics were actually expressed in sign language.

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Not in this office

To be at your best and on command, Esquire magazine recommends that you skip. "Before a big meeting, a stressful situation, the chance to beat your mom at Yahtzee - any time you need to come through in the clutch, find a way to skip. Jim Fannin, a performance coach who's worked with guys like Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Delgado, says that it's hard to skip without laughing, even if it's at yourself. Laughing adds endorphins to your bloodstream. Endorphins calm you down. Being calm reduces your stress. Reduced stress allows you to regain focus."

Bridesmaid? I'm insulted

"Brides are becoming so nervous about their appearance ahead of their wedding day that they intentionally pick fat friends to accompany them up the aisle, according to research," The Daily Telegraph reports. "One in three engaged British women admitted that they would choose an overweight friend to be their bridesmaid in order to make them look comparatively slimmer. … Results from a survey by diet plan Slim-Fast revealed that almost 50 per cent of brides diet before their wedding day, along with one-fifth of female guests."

Right-wing laffs

"A new, conservative entertainment channel launching later this summer is being promoted as having 'pro-America, pro-business and pro-military sensibilities,' " U.S. National Public Radio reports. "… Currently, RightNetwork has just three shows. One of them is a stand-up comedy series taped at a club in Los Angeles called Right 2 Laugh. The trailer for the series includes a young comedian who jokes that he's ordering one of those coins with President Obama's face on it because, he says, 'any collector will tell you a coin is worth a lot more when there's an obvious mistake on it.' "

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Thought du jour

"There are moments when everything goes well; don't be frightened, it won't last."

- Jules Renard

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