America’s Jousting Renaissance! (Must Be Stopped!)

Last Sunday, a much-discussed (among alt-sports nerds such as myself, at least) The New York Times Magazine feature posed a pressing question: “Is Jousting the Next Extreme Sport?” Along with memorably cuckoo quotes from jousting fans and, uh, “professional jousters,” and one of the greatest correction notes in journalism history (scroll down), Dashka Slater’s article provides entree into the weird world of modern jousting.

The neo-Medieval nature of the jousting Slater writes about creates some strange contrasts. As two men in armor earnestly attempt to do one another harm in the name of competitive excellence, campy Renaissance Faire antics surround them on all sides. Behold:


“The knights have received their lances!” It’s certainly not going to replace “play ball!” any time soon. However, jousting’s underlying formula—two competitors; weapons; vehicles; mayhem—obviously retains its trans-epochal appeal. Just yesterday, I happened to learn about an annual bike-jousting competition with pies instead of lances that is held by a Seattle tavern, which looks like fun, or something close to it:


And that discovery led me to this amazing footage of Toyota RAV4 jousting, which sadly appears to be an advertisement rather than a preview of a Mad Max-meets-Camelot future:


For that, I guess you have to watch Segway jousting, which at least discovers a use for those things:


And for a less-self-conscious, more middle-American take on the concept, there’s lawnmower jousting:


The moral of the story—if, indeed, there is one—is that as long as human beings use fast, large conveyances to get around, they will devise ways to knock one another from them. While I have nothing against jousting’s modern-day knights, I must admit that the phenomenon makes me think of Red Fang’s fantastic (in more ways than one) “Prehistoric Dog” video.


Photo (CC licensed) by Flickr user Jeff Kubina

AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less