exploring the world of tennis . . .     
Junk Shots 2009
The DHMO crisis

What was said and done at the Copenhagen Summit is now just so much fish'n'chip paper, but it may be an opportune moment to alert people to the dangers of another threat to the planet: dihydrogen monoxide.

Dihydrogen monoxide, or DHMO as it is referred to, is a major component of acid rain, contributes to the greenhouse effect, erodes our natural landscape and accelerates corrosion of metals. Unfortunately, it's already found in many foods and there are high concentrations in our rivers, lakes and seas. It has been known to cause electrical outages and has been a factor in traffic accidents by causing brake failure. It is fatal if inhaled and has been detected in malignant tumours.

The scientists are virtually screaming from the rooftops now. The debate is over! There's no longer any debate in the scientific community about this. But the political systems around the world have held this at arm's length because it's an inconvenient truth, because they don't want to accept that it's a moral imperative.

If we did not take action to solve this crisis, it could indeed threaten the future of human civilisation. That sounds shrill. It sounds hard to accept. I believe it's deadly accurate. But again, we can solve it. Future generations may well have occasion to ask themselves, "What were our parents thinking? Why didn't they wake up when they had a chance?" We have to hear that question from them, now.

Enough is enough. It's time to start the campaign to reduce DHMO.

The most influential tree in the world!

Leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) reveal that scientists cherry-picked tree ring data from the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia. Anxious to make the data fit the IPCC's iconic "hockey stick" graph, computer modellers found that they had to ignore samples from all but one single tree, YAD061, dubbed the most influential tree in the world. Perhaps that's the one they put the fairy lights on!

Losing your way in the rain!

Rain delays are generally frustrating, but Aaron Krickstein must hate them more than most. His fourth round encounter with Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open has featured in the contingency plans at CBS for many years now. TV audiences apparently never tire of seeing this never-say-die performance by Connors, who was 39 years old at the time - he won the five-set thriller during his remarkable run to the semi-finals. But, in truth, it was Krickstein who had by far the more impressive five-set record.

Krickstein, who earned the nickname "Marathon Man", boasted a 75.7% (28-9) winning percentage in five-setters (Connors managed a more modest 62%). In the locker room, players like Jim Courier jokingly accused him of "padding" his record every time he won another five-set match.

Despite his impressive five-set record, poor Krickstein now loses every time it rains at Flushing Meadows!

Get a grip!

While working on this page, I've been trying to use my mouse with a chopper grip instead of an eastern backhand grip, although a full western is out of the question. Do you think I play too much tennis?

The blame game

To err is human. To put the blame on someone else is doubles.

No flies on us

Halting a television interview momentarily as a fly landed on his left hand, President Obama recently swatted a fly with his other hand. "I got the sucker," he declared. The incident was widely dissected (!) in the world media. The BBC consulted various experts such as Max Barclay, an insect expert at the Natural History Museum, and published what it claimed was the top ten ways to kill a fly. The suggestions included: killing early in the morning when the fly is a bit dopey, approaching from behind because a fly takes off backwards, the old-fashioned slap (now known as The Barack), using chopsticks, gadgets, rolled up newspapers and implements with holes. That's all rubbish. Experts? Pah! The trusty method recommended by On The Line is to get an old lady to swallow the fly. However, readers should be aware that this kind of action has a tendency to escalate. Remove all pets and other animals from the vicinity.

Ladies and gentlemen, tradition is suspended

Now that there's a roof over Centre Court at Wimbledon, how long before the All England Club completely sell out to TV and start the singles finals late in the afternoon to accommodate American networks?

Better to be occasionally cheated than perpetually suspicious?

All I'm going to say about the MPs' expenses scandal is: we shouldn't tar them all with the same brush. 99 percent of MPs give the rest a bad name.

Politicians are bananas

Most politicians are bananas. They start out green, turn yellow and never grow straight.

Looking high and low

To define and achieve a realisable ambition in anything, including tennis, you should keep your feet on the ground while your mind takes a leap in the dark.

Dave who?

Rod Laver, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Dave Winship all played tennis. Huh? Well, I just wanted to be in the same sentence as the other three.

Anyone for Sphairistike?

Englishman Major Walter Wingfield is often credited with inventing tennis. A racket game believed to have originated in medieval France was adapted by Wingfield for garden parties on an hourglass-shaped court (wide at the baselines, narrow at the net). He patented it in 1874 under the name of Sphairistike (ancient Greek for 'the art of playing ball').

Take a big breath

The total surface area of your alveoli (your lungs) is about the size of a tennis court. Just thought you might like to reflect on that the next time you play tennis and, you know, do breathing and stuff.

Dance like no one is watching ...

Dance like no one is watching, sing like no one can hear, love like you've never been hurt, play tennis like you've never lost.

Better bend than break

I've now officially abandoned the search for Truth and I'm going to settle for an honest mistake.

Dave Winship

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