There are 302 events scheduled for this year’s Olympic games. If you had to list them all you would struggle to come up with a tenth of the entire list. Some are variations of a sport, like running, rowing, or swimming. But some are delightfully different from the rest, and many people don’t realise they’re Olympic sports at all.
So here’s a list (we like lists).
Modern pentathlon - this is a series of five (hence the ‘penta-‘ prefix) events; shooting, with an air pistol; fencing (sword-fighting); swimming; horse riding; and finally running. These were chosen by the founder of the modern Olympics in 1912 as the five things a 19th-century infantryman would need to do behind enemy lines. Which makes it a very cool sport indeed.
Synchonised swimming – also known as ‘water ballet’, this sport comes from Canada. Think of it as dancing to music in a pool. New Zealand has a duet competing this year.
Tug of war – to be fair, this was only an Olympic sport between 1900 to 1920. But what a sport! Unfortunately New Zealand never entered a team – we would have cleaned up the medals.
Wushu – at each Olympics a ‘demonstration sport’ is chosen, usually by the host country, to promote the sport and to add a little flavour to the games. At the Beijing Olympics Wushu is to be on display (though not officially as a demonstration sport). Wushu (武術) was created in China in 1949 in an effort to nationalise the various martial arts. Sparring one another is part of the sport, and performing a routine, like gymnastics, is also a large part of it – instead of throwing a ribbon and ball about, competitors perform 720 degree jump kicks and backflips while wielding a sword. Awesome.
Trampolining – Competitors bounce and do flips and so on (but without swords). The last time I used a trampoline – at high school – I dislocated a toe, ending any Olympic dreams I had.
Handball – this sport was first in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, as Hitler was a fan. It was re-introduced in the 70s. Handball is a bit like football, but competitors can only use their hands. Sort of like volley ball or netball, I guess. But without nets. Well, sure, there are nets, but like hockey goals. I hope that explains it to you.
This week’s focus is New Zealand. Make sure you review a book written by a New Zealand author to get a bonus entry into the prize draw. Want some ideas? We’ve got some info on New Zealand authors here.
For another chance to win, do the New Zealand quiz: get 100% right and we’ll give you a bonus point.
Finally, make sure you’re at Karori Library this Friday for an awesome gaming night! See you there…
ps: not registered? Do it now!
I’ve already written about this week’s new books, but we have more.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox, by Mary E. Pearson (266 pages) – In a world where biotechnological brains are possible (though illegal), a teenaged girl – Jenna Fox – awakens from a coma; what is the secret that no one will tell her? Why can’t she remember who she is? Well?
Fly on the Wall, by E. Lockhart (199 pages) – Gretchen Yee wants to learn more about guys, and wishes that she could be a fly on the wall in the boys’ locker room. Her wish is granted!
M+O 4evr, by Tonya Cherie Hegamin (165 pages) – From the catalogue: “In parallel stories, Hannah, a slave, finds love while fleeing a Maryland plantation in 1842, and in the present, Opal watches her life-long best friend, Marianne, pull away and eventually lose her life in the same Pennsylvania ravine where Hannah died.” Sad, but happy too!
Facts of Life, by Gary Soto (176 pages) – This is a collection of short stories for teenagers. The stories are about discovering one’s place in the world and the transition from childhood towards adulthood.
The Ashleys : Jealous?, by Melissa de la Cruz (241pages) – The Ashleys are three rich girls; they all go to an exclusive prep school, and are all named Ashley. In the precarious world of high school popularity they have it all. But will it last? Will some other people become more popular? Will Ashley Alito’s boyfriend become taller?
The Last of the Warrior Kings, by Sarah Mussi (450 pages) – Reviewers on Amazon love this book. It has South London street gangs, stolen Nigerian treasure, espionage and intrigue, thrills, spills, mystery, and adventure. Which is about everything one needs in a book.
Last night’s SubText event at Tawa went well – a lot of pizza was consumed, art was produced, songs were sung, and even a dance was, well, danced. We took some photos of the evening - there’s a small selection on the right. Congratulations to everyone who won a prize on the night!
Tomorrow we will draw this week’s lucky winner. Everyone who has participated in SubText so far has at least one entry in the draw – those who have sent in reviews, done the quiz, and gone to event at Tawa will have extra chances to win. (If you’re still unclear about how this works, the main SubText08 page has been updated with information.)
The next event is to be held next Friday, the 1st of August, from 6pm to 8pm at the Karori library.
Oh, and it’s not too late to register!
The first SubText08 event is tonight, from 6pm to 8pm at Tawa library. There will be food, music, and entertainment. Details here.
Interesting fact about Tawa; the suburb is named after the Tawa tree, the seeds of which can only be dispersed by two endangered birds, the Kokako and the Kereru. The seeds are too large for any other bird to poo out.
The latest books are in! Let’s see what treasures await us.
The Upper Class, by Hobson Brown, Taylor Materne and Caroline Says (276 pages) – Yet another YA book about rich American teenaged girls at an exclusive school (named ‘Wellington’ in this case). It is the first of a series of four books, and yes, it has three authors.
Stravaganza : City of Secrets, by Mary Hoffman (378 pages) – This is the fourth book in the acclaimed Stravaganza series, which is set in our world and the world of Talia, a rich, fantastical place informed by Renaissance Italy. The powerful di Chimici family are on the verge of breaking through to the modern world, and must be stopped.
Generation Dead, by Daniel Waters (392 pages) – From the book jacket: ‘All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occurring. Some teenagers who die aren’t staying dead. They are coming back to life, but they are no longer the same. Termed “living impaired” or “differently biotic”, they are doing their best to blend into society again’ One of the living impaired keeps a blog at mysocalledundeath.com.
Juno of Taris, by Fleur Beale (360 pages) – The latest by one of NZ’s better-known YA authors. Taris is an isolated eco-dome in the South Pacific designed to survive even if the outside world perished. Juno, who lives in the dome, wants to know what lies Outside, but how can she when she has no freedom of her own?
Vortex, by Chris Ryan (272 pages) – The latest adventure in the very popular Code Red series. ‘Dramatic, explosive, and full of thrills.’
Everyone who enjoys so called ‘alternative’ sports should be grateful to skaters like Tony Hawk. He began the process of turning what people previously viewed as a pass-time hobby into fully professional sports with his amazing skills. The first Summer X-Games was in 1995 and since then has exploded in popularity and diversity with Moto X becoming a feature and a Winter X-Games first taking place in 1997. The X-Games have been a catalyst for a change of perception for alternative sports so now you should be able to get out on your board without old folks shaking sticks at you.
We certainly think so which is why we have plenty of resources you can make use of at the library.
Thrasher: The Radical Skateboard Book - YA 796.21
Skateboarding is Not a Crime: 50 Years of Street Culture - YA 796.22
Skateboarding: New Levels, Tips and Tricks for Serious Riders - YA 796.21
Here are some online activities and resources relating to Māori Language week.
Try this quiz – you might not know any Māori but you may be surprised.
Learn some new words and phrases with these interactive conversations.
Discover which 100 Māori words every New Zealander should know.
Learn Māori at home with maorilanguage.net. This site has video, interactive lessons, and more.
Whakarongo mai. Listen up! It’s Māori language week. This year the theme is “Te Reo i te Kāinga – Māori Language in the Home.” So here are a couple of useful words to add to your huinga kupu (vocabulary).
hōhā - (1) be boring, bored, wearisome, tired or fed up with (2) nuisance. “My little brother is hōhā “. I also have it on good authority that it can be used with angsty parents, as in, ” Mum, don’t be so hōhā!”
turituri – shut up. Not to be said to your elders!
So there you have it. Two new kupu to try on your whānau.
Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2008 – karawhiua mai! (Māori language week 2008 – bring it on!)
NASA has created a video from stills taken in deep space that show the moon moving around Earth. This is very rare footage as, well, it’s not everyday photos are taken in deep space.
During a full Earth rotation, images obtained by Deep Impact at a 15-minute cadence have been combined to make a color video. During the video, the moon enters the frame (because of its orbital motion) and transits Earth, then leaves the frame. Other spacecraft have imaged Earth and the moon from space, but Deep Impact is the first to show a transit of Earth with enough detail to see large craters on the moon and oceans and continents on Earth.