Sunday, January 29, 2023
Precipitation: Not a chance
Sunday, January 29, 2023
Precipitation: Not a chance
The Blacktip Island’s chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a global living history group devoted to the Middle Ages, will feature members jousting on motor scooters at their 17th annual Tournament of Chivalry at the small Caribbean island’s Heritage House this weekend.
“We’ve had declining spectator numbers the last few years, so we had to do something to spice things up,” SCA island shire Seneschal Catalina Luxfer said. “Jousting was the logical next step, but there’s no horses, or even donkeys, on the island. And two people with broomsticks running at each other was pretty lame.
“That’s when Finn Kiick, our Knight Marshal, came up with the idea of using motor scooters as mounts and boat hooks as lances,” Luxfer said. “A Vespa’ll approximate a horse’s speed, and when the combatants collide, it shows how effective Medieval cavalry charges could be. We sent three knights to the clinic during practice. The tournament’s set up in multiple, single-elimination rounds, with the winner being named Lord or Lady of the Island for a year and a day.”
Kiick, overseeing the jousting, downplayed the activity’s danger.
“Safety’s our number one goal,” he said. “Jousters have to wear period-appropriate armor and helmets, mostly built from stuff at the dump, and’re allowed a top scooter speed of 15 miles per hour. And once they’re unhorsed, they can continue to fight with Wiffle-bat swords and toilet-plunger maces.
“We’ve banned lances to the head, too,” Kiick said. “Any jouster who rams another’s helmet’ll be chucked from the tournament and banished from the shire. “Course, Nurse Marissa, our chapter Chirurgeon, will be standing by to treat any injuries, and a mechanic’ll be there to mend any damaged steeds.”
Locals are eager to see the new sport.
“These SCA festivals had turned into lame cosplay, so it’ll be good to see folks go real-life Medieval on each other,” Chrissy Graysby said. “People are talking up Jerrod Ephesians as the odds-on favorite, but my money’s on Rosie Bottoms. She’s got that killer instinct. Not that I’m betting, since that’s illegal, but her at 8:1. . . that’s a gimme.”
The tournament will also feature grog and turkey leg booths, machete-throwing contests and an arena for wooden sword fighting among the children attending.
“It truly is an exciting event for the whole family,” chapter Webminister Jay Valve said. “There’ll also be a Bring Out Your Dead body stacking contest, a pit with mud and spoiled vegetables for people to fling at each other, a pox-painting booth and Jessie Catahoula, dressed as a hag, casting random curses on people.”
“We’re also thrilled the monks from St. Dervil’s monastery will bring their iguana choir to sing Gregorian chants between jousts,” Valve said. “They’ll also be selling their coconut mead, made only at their monastery, which’ll be a rare treat.”
Illuminated parchment admission tickets may be purchased at the Heritage House. All proceeds will go the SCA jousters’ medical bills and to Tiperon University-Blacktip’s Medieval studies department.
Sunday, January 22, 2023
Precipitation: Not today
A Blacktip Island divemaster disassembling weight belts on a resort dock this week created an underwater version of the popular ‘cornhole’ bag toss game for scuba divers wanting competitive activity on dives.
“I was stripping weights off belts at the end of the week, and chucking them in the bins, like always, when it hit me,” Eagle Ray Divers’ Gage Hoase said. “Resort guests play cornhole all the time. It’s all the rage. Now they can play underwater, right here in the lagoon. I’m calling it ‘conchhole.’
“You use the same slanted boards with holes in them, but toss dive weights instead of bean bags,” Hoase said. “The added heft lets them travel through the water. We’re experimenting with which weights work best. Consensus is three-pounders, though some prefer the twos. Of course, crazy-ass Finn from Club Scuba Doo likes the curved sixes.”
Players say the game’s mechanics are slightly different underwater.
“You have to wear a ton of weight to stay down and to give the tosses momentum,” Jessie Catahoula said. “Lee Helm tried wearing a pair of weighted boots from a hard-hat diving outfit. He got stuck in the sand, no one would help him and he damn-near drowned. It was Lee, so we all got a good laugh before we helped him.
“The tricky part’s compensating for whatever current there is,” Catahoula said. “It can switch mid-game, too, so you have to be alert for that. Things can also get interesting when visibility drops. Jerky Bottoms got knocked out yesterday when Alison Diesel launched a weight without being able to see where she was throwing and whacked him on the head.”
Island resorts say the game is already proving popular.
“We got divers lining up to play, even folks from other resorts,” Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt said. “We’re already selling ‘Underwater Cornholer’ shirts and caps, and we should have rash guards in later this week. And we’re also putting in underwater lights so folks can play at night.”
Other resorts are joining the craze.
“Got us our own boards and weights, set up off Diddley’s Landing where the water’s clearer and there’s less current,” Blacktip Haven dive operations manager Booger Bottoms said. “Launched a new Underwater Cornhole specialty course, too, teach folks how to play safely and responsibly. For a modest fee.”
Hoase predicts the game’s popularity will explode.
“Divers’re always trying to come up with ways to make scuba competitive,” he said. “Now, with conchhole, they can. Diving’s not a Type B personality activity anymore, and people love it.”
Sunday, January 15, 2023
Thefts this week of batteries of all types have inconvenienced Blacktip Island residents and left authorities scratching their heads over a motive for the thefts.
“There’s nothing of any great value being stolen, just batteries and things with built-in batteries,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “There’s not a battery to be had on the island. If this’s some kind of ecological protest, the perpetrator hasn’t released a statement or made any demands.
“At this point is seems like an elaborate prank, aimed at inconveniencing folks,” Marquette said. “Thing is, whoever’s doing it’s going into people’s houses and cars and boats without permission. That’s illegal. I have a list of complaints as long as my arm. Whoever’s doing this will slip up eventually. They will be apprehended.”
The thefts have angered residents.
“Whoever may not be going after valuables, but they created a giant pain in the ass,” Vera Cuda said. “They stole the batteries out of my remotes,” “My TV doesn’t have controls on it—you have to use a remote. It’s just gathering dust ‘til I can get new AAs shipped in. If they don’t get swiped in the mail.
“Stole the battery out of my car, too,” Cuda said. “When I find out who did it, I’m gonna make sure he or she has to ride a bike for a long time. And tie them up next to the dump. This island’s is getting real stinky since they stole the garbage truck’s battery.”
The island store has been hard hit as well.
“First there was a run on batteries,” store owner Peachy Bottoms said. “Then someone broke in and snagged every battery from behind the counter. What batteries I have left—from little hearing-aid jobbies to scooter batteries—are locked up in the office safe. Whoever this modern-day Luddite is, they’re wreaking havoc.”
Items with built-in batteries are also disappearing.
“There’s not an electric toothbrush or sex toy to be had on the island,” Marina DeLow said. “If it’s some loony eco-warrior, they’ve made their point. If it’s a joke, it’s not funny anymore. Frankly, it’s the kind of performance-art gag Payne Hanover or Jerrod Ephesians would pull.
“It’s killing scuba tourism, too,” DeLow said. “With no batteries for dive computers, everybody’s doing old-school table dives. Guests are getting half the dive time they used to and’re pissed about it. Plus, two dive boats are out of commission with their batteries gone.”
Payne Hanover would neither confirm or deny theft accusations. Jerrod Ephesians was at a meditative retreat with the monks of St. Dervil and could not be reached for comment.
Sunday, January 8, 2023
Precipitation: Passing us by