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154139.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:54 am Reply with quote

Study shows that sword swallowing is dangerous:

Most injuries are caused by perforations to the oesophagus.

Sore throats are common.

There was no apparent correlation between the length of the longest sword each person could swallow and their height

154153.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:11 am Reply with quote

Excellent. The abstract of that study is worth quoting in full:
Objective To evaluate information on the practice and associated ill effects of sword swallowing.

Design Letters sent to sword swallowers requesting information on technique and complications.

Setting Membership lists of the Sword Swallowers' Association International.

Participants 110 sword swallowers from 16 countries.

Results We had information from 46 sword swallowers. Major complications are more likely when the swallower is distracted or swallows multiple or unusual swords or when previous injury is present. Perforations mainly involve the oesophagus and usually have a good prognosis. Sore throats are common, particularly while the skill is being learnt or when performances are too frequent. Major gastrointestinal bleeding sometimes occurs, and occasional chest pains tend to be treated without medical advice. Sword swallowers without healthcare coverage expose themselves to financial as well as physical risk.

Conclusions Sword swallowers run a higher risk of injury when they are distracted or adding embellishments to their performance, but injured performers have a better prognosis than patients who suffer iatrogenic perforation.

I wonder what other forms of entertainment there are which sound dangerous and it turns out that they actually are.

154154.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:13 am Reply with quote

Absolutely no use to use, but I love the fact that the most common complaint in sword-swallowing is a sore throat.

154156.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:15 am Reply with quote

No, I think that is useable, isn't it? It's one of those things that sounds like a trick question but is actually a double-bluff.

154159.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:19 am Reply with quote

Yes, I love this - I would definitely get the klaxon is someone had asked me, on the assumption that sword swallowing looks so deadly that if it was how it looked, it would be impossible to do.

I suppose other jobs this might be true of would include lion taming, fire-eating, human cannonball ...

154494.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:01 am Reply with quote

I once received a CV from a young lady where she listed "fire-eating" among her interests/hobbies. Otherwise - a perfectly normal CV!

154510.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:15 am Reply with quote

We found that up to two thirds of fire-eaters had spirometric abnormalities in basal measurements, these mainly consisting of an obstructive component. Up to two thirds of fire-eaters presented mild airflow decrement, which partially correlated with number of years spent in this activity," says the report.


Molly Cule
156139.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:31 am Reply with quote

Pall Mall and shopping malls are both named after a game of the same name, which is a cross between croquet and golf; the game was played with a mallet and ball, the players whacked the ball up the course then had to shoot a ball through a suspended hoop at the end, whoever took the fewest shots won. Pall Mall was popular in England in the late 17th C, Pepys writes about watching it, he called it Pell Mell as that was how the players he watched pronounced it. Charles II built Pall Mall especially for the game to be played, the name comes from the Italian pallamaglio - palla (ball) and maglio (mallet).

When playing Pall Mall fell out of favour people still used to congregate around the areas where it had been played and so shops and cafes sprung up to cater for the people. These areas for wandering and shopping were called Malls, just like they are today in America. So American malls are named after a very English game that was probably never played there. The clubs on Pall Mall are descendents of the coffee shops which sprung up. Pall Mall was like the Wembley of the 17th C.

The name literally means “ball and mallet” and comes via the obsolete French pallemaille from Italian pallamaglio (palla, a ball + maglio, a mallet).

Last edited by Molly Cule on Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:59 am; edited 1 time in total

158727.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:51 am Reply with quote

Gulls first arrived in London in 1891, driven to seek the warmth of the city during a severe winter. Londoners found them fascinating:

“Citizens thronged upon the bridges and embankments in order to watch them dive and tumble. In 1892 London magistrates forbade anyone from shooting them, and at that point the habit of feeding the gulls appeared; clerks and labourers of the 1890s would, during the free hour for lunch, go down to the bridges and offer them various foods. Theodore Dreiser walked upon Blackfriars Bridge one Sunday afternoon, in 1912, and found a line of men feeding ‘thousands of gulls’ with minnows which they purchased at a penny a box.”
- London the biography by Peter Ackroyd.

158733.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:00 am Reply with quote

That's bizarre. You see gulls following ploughs and things miles and miles from the sea. One for the Victorian show, maybe.

158742.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:10 am Reply with quote


158784.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:22 am Reply with quote

Perhaps in those days there was more gull food outside cities than in them, so they only "discovered" London when the climate froced them to? It is odd, though.

Molly Cule
171543.  Wed May 02, 2007 10:13 am Reply with quote

Anyone know which sportsmen/women use gelatin?

Oddly, sychronized swimmers smear it on their hair to keep their hair in place during routines. Its cheap and it doesnt dissolve in swimming pool water. They also wear waterproof make-up. The sport was first practiced by men, then some 600 girls called The Modern Mermaids took it up and sychronized swimming took off. Before then it had been called all sorts of things like water ballet and so on...

171551.  Wed May 02, 2007 10:38 am Reply with quote

Channel swimmers use a special grease called "Channel Swimmer's Grease" to keep them warm and stop chaffing. They used to use goose fat, and Captain Webb used porpoise fat.


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