When it gets Too Cold
to throw boomerangs, what will we do instead to get our manual dexterity fix?
Well, I will be playing with this...

GTO Aluminum yoyo by Dif-e-yo

How is this similar to boomerangs?

Glad you asked.

Both boomerangs and yoyos are physics toys, and both reward consistent practice and teach patience and other overrated Christian virtues, but those are the same lame reasons that Duncan has used for years to try to convince parents that yoyos are actually educational. The real similarity is the possiblity for injury; both can bite you on the return...

This machined aluminum yo has a patented bearing system and weighs in at a knuckle-busting 69.5 grams (that's about double the weight of the WalMart special that maimed you as a kid). It's easily capable of sleep times in the 5-6 minute range, which is more than enough time for me to get the string wrapped around my neck, and it can do some insane RPMs that give it sufficent zip on an early return to chip a tooth or administer a nasty black eye... because it's not really fun if it can't kill you.

If yoyos are too common for your tastes, try spin tops. These are the old-fashioned wooden tops that you wind a string around and then throw to the ground - of course today they are made of polycarbonate and aluminum, have sealed bearing sets in the tips, and it's no longer enough to just toss them to the sidewalk.

Spintastic's Hollow Point

The top spinners in the world are doing tricks that bring the top back to the hand that threw it (a trick called, naturally, a "boomerang"), as well as all sorts of string catches. It's hard to describe - go here and look at any of the advanced videos, like the "Sewing Machine" or "Speed Bumps" to see what I mean. These guys make it look easy, but it's clear that the potential for personal injury and property damage is quite high for the beginner. The Hollow Point shown above, for example, is a solid hunk of aluminum weighing around 80 grams - and it's intended to have another top stacked inside it for advanced (read: "more deadly") tricks.

I guess the common thread here is really the desperate un-coolness of all three. You're not going to be a big hit with the ladies (or the gents for that matter) by mastering any of these skills. Not as bad as being a Whovian or LARPer, but pretty damn dorky none the less. That's probably why I feel at home with these hobbies.

Once the snow flies, perhaps the Flock can meet on Sundays at some indoor site (the Fine Arts lobby?) and try to give each other concussions in one of these new ways. The Ice Cream Rule can still apply.


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