Learning to edit my own videos by studying tutorials and scouring Google has been exciting, rewarding, frustrating and opened up a new art form for me. For years I have relied on others to create the things I imagined and it is a joy to now have the ability to bring my thoughts to life.
Here is a really fun glimpse at some cool baton twirling and the beauty of Queen Lilioukalani Park located in Hilo, Hawaii.
Please SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel and leave a supportive comment!
My name is Harold Newcomb and I purchased your video with the training skills and I really love it. I purchased it for my grand daughter, but she wasn’t interested.
As I tried learning all these tricks and drills I found out it is a very good way to exercise while doing something very fun and enjoyable. It is no easy task for me even though I’m a good athlete. I have several problems learning and performing the tricks. I’m 6′ 2″ and I’m 80 years old, but I’ve got heart and determination.
I am an inventor. I mow lawns and use a zero turn Cub Cadet mower. I’ve invented a special mower and I can use the feet to steer the mower, so I am free to do many things with the hands.
I also must alter some of the tricks because of the seat on the mower and can not use my legs because I’m using them to steer the machine. The zero turn circle enables me to use the baton to perform many of the neck rolls, continuous elbow rolls, mouth rolls, elbow pop rolls, as well as many other functions.
I am still learning to do all these tricks and would like to someday make videos for you tube. I would much prefer teaching you to steer the mower and allow you to do the baton tricks. I do have the patten on the invention and these videos would help in selling the idea to some huge manufacturing company.
I had thought that it would be much easier to teach you to operate the zero turn mower than me to do the tricks.
Please let me know what you think of the ideas.
I play your videos every night and imagine myself twirling the baton to some wild James Bond music.
My days are filled with humor, and I want to share some of it with you!
Applying for a residential visa in Norway requires company employment. A “real job” is something I’ve never experienced aside from a stint at McDonald’s. My step-father insisted I “learn to work.” I disagreed, and was artfully fired after 2 days.
I have been self-employed since I was 14. I’ve taught baton twirling and circus, created companies, choreographed productions, presented speeches, worked contracts for Cirque du Soleil, etc. etc.
Now, however, I wake up early, get my kids off to school and ride my bike to a pristine office to do my day job.
I am employed by wonderful people at a huge private pre-school/kindergarten chain in Norway. I accidentally landed my job due to my gift of never censoring my laughter. On a trip to Norway earlier this year, the magnificent people who own the company asked for my opinion about an objectives manual, which had recently been translated from Norwegian to English. Browsing the halted narration I noticed some spelling errors and oddities before hitting the jackpot that ultimately redirected my life. Written, clear as day, was this sentence: “Our children are the most sensual children, who are willing to take it at every angle.” My reactionwas not subtle. In a classic Ned display I laughed far too loud for waaaaaaay too long.
Alarmed, my friends asked if I knew of anyone who could help. I said I did and the next morning I gave them a re-written brochure. Upon reviewing my work, I was handed an academic manual and a polite request was made for me to “please fix it”.
Since beginning at the office about 2 weeks ago, I have been translating direct from Norwegian rather than simply fixing the English errors. I have learned to decipher the written language by memorizing the “floor pattern” of the language like choreography. When I am stuck I ask co-workers for definitions and I utilize “google translate”….. which brings me to the reason for this post. I am amused by the decoding aspects of my assignments, and thrilled by the ridiculous translations that pop up each day. My co-workers are often curious as to what I have come upon when my laughter echoes through the halls.
Without further adieu, here are real examples of my favorite “google translate” faux pas:
Best of Google T. Faux Pas:
…placing your penis in the flask with your hand while you are nicely speaking to each child, in turn.
…an adult has a burning torch and lights the children one by one.
…the child will be selected as this days ass-kisser / boot-licker and sit on the chair.
There are so many more, but you get the gist from these examples. I’ve got to get to sleep now so my brain can be clear, refreshed and firing… Honestly, I can’t wait to get to work in the morning.
Norwegian> Hvorfor Aktiviteten bevisstgjør barna på hva som fremkaller gode følelser, og de får øvelse i å uttrykke seg i en gruppe.
What google T gave me> Why Activity deliberately makes kids what Evoke good feelings cheaper than its fancy the receive training in Out themelves in a group.
My conclusion> Purpose: This activity helps children to evoke good feelings and to be comfortable speaking out, in turn, within a group atmosphere.
As the thick curtain of weekend rain lifted, Monday’s set was a vibrant blue sky, and nearly warm sunshine.
What a glorious day to head to the Norwegian Department of Taxation and register for the ever elusive “D” number.
Something I’ve learned as I dance upon the splintery stage of immigration is that there are required official forms that you must complete before getting to the next round of applause; but, in order to get certain forms you must already have been approved for the form that comes next. It’s a bad running order of dangerous circles and mind acrobatics. It must be well choreographed, performed with precision timing and sold with magnificent stage presence… in other words, it is the WHEEL OF DEATH. Donning my best “I’m a normal person” costume, I exited the train station with my duet companion, Devin, and had no idea which way to go.
Still having no internal sense of Scandinavian cultural boundaries, which include the unstated but known thought, “please do not interact with me, I’m uncomfortable in the spotlight”, I bounced up to the first person I saw. The nice Norwegian man tried to help although he knew very little English and had no idea where the office was or that it existed. Receiving the same results from my next victim, I scanned the perimeter of my life theater for the perfect audience volunteer. Near the second row I spotted the handsome Arab taxi driver and set my focus hard, knowing he too must have participated in Cirque Du Immigration at some point. He saw me coming and looked willing to participate. My hopes were high as I asked the compelling question, “do you know where the tax office is?” He stood to his feet with enthusiasm, smiled widely, shrugged his shoulders, and pointed to his mouth as he exclaimed, “لا اتكلم الانجليزية!” Determined to be in the closing act, however, he turned to his friend and asked him to translate. Having been given detailed direction we took our show notes and Devin and I headed out to the next venue.
After walking for some time we began to doubt our whereabouts and began asking random stagehands if we were near the elusive destination, first stopping a frail, elderly woman who seemed terrified, and then a lovely geriatric man who spoke beautiful English, and although he had no clue where to send us, he was quite happy to engage in general, back stage chit-chat.
Mesmerized by the gentleman’s compelling conversation about cheese, I was nudged back to life by Devin who had an expression of surprise as he gestured to look down the walkway. Coming towards us with a dazzling smile was the handsome taxi driver. As we approached him he held out a small piece of paper and simply said, “I queued for you”. As he passed me the paper I realized that he had driven ahead of us to the tax office, scaled the stairs, taken a number in our stead and then found us exactly when we were needing a prompt. This seemingly obscure volunteer had just proved to be the most inspiring, resourceful stage manager of all time. Star struck by his heroic act of kindness, I thanked him and hugged him for way too long.
The tax appointment was a real hit and if all goes well I’ll receive rave reviews from the immigration office in a few weeks, and top billing as Norway’s newest and only side show, umbrella twirling, knife wielding freak.
A few moments after exiting the train in Oslo, Norway the bombardment began;
“Pretty Lady, please give me something, please, PLEASE, just enough for one cheeseburger… here, here HERE, TAKE THIS!” The gypsy girl forcefully pushed a small magazine of some kind into my chest. She was at least the sixth person from her clan to do so in a matter of minutes. “No thank you”, I clearly and politely replied, yet right below the surface of my kind veneer an irritability stirred. I caught myself, took a deep breath and ushered in an internal dialogue I have been practicing; “I am neither beneath nor superior to anyone.” After repeating this in my mind several times the irritation evaporated and I continued on through the crowd. This remedy reminded me of another practice that has recently come to my awareness, and I began making eye contact with those who were available. As I met their eyes I held the thought that the spirit within them, is the same spirit that is within me and I honored it. This simple exercise was powerful in that connection took place in an instant, with many people nodding and smiling at me as they passed by. I was enjoying my “drive-by” relationships when one man caught my attention and caused me to take pause. His weathered, toothless face smirked at me as I caught his eye, and he chose to not release his gaze. He was a beggar, but in that moment he was not asking me for anything. I stood there looking at him, he looking back at me; seeing him, and being seen by him. After a bit, I sat down on the walkway next to him. I said, “I’m not going to give you money because I don’t think that will do much, but if you don’t mind I’ll just sit here with you for a while. I didn’t know what language he spoke, but he nodded, grinned and scooted a little closer to me. As we sat I told him I was very new to Norway, that I had come from Hawaii and I had just completed my immigration appointment. I told him I thought it was funny that people were wearing shorts and t-shirts and that I was in a leather jacket, long pants and cap and still felt chilled. After a little while somebody dropped some coins in his tattered coffee cup, and he looked at me with surprise, a moment later some more coins went in and he verbally made a Whoop-Whoop noise and shook his boney finger at me as he widely grinned. We were laughing as his next customer made a deposit, and he took the liberty of giving me a little shove on the shoulder like an old chum. Time went on and I said I would be going to catch the train soon. I gave him a little hug, said goodbye and stood to walk away. As I turned to go I felt a tug on my ankle. I turned around and my companion stood to his feet, and with a heavy accent and perfect english he said, “that is the most kindness I have received in more years than I can remember. Will you do something just for me?” Stunned and touched, I said, “what do you wish?” He said, “please go get yourself a lovely, big ice cream and know that it is from me. You are so skinny.”
I could not stop the tears from flooding my face as I walked back toward Oslo Central Station. I was not irritated by the gypsy girls besieging me on the way back.
As I ordered the huge ice cream my heart was exploding with colorful sprinkles of gratitude.
My mom dated a variety of losers, weirdo’s, underachievers and perverts who liked the way she looked in her cropped tops, hip huggers and way-too-short mini skirts.
Concerned for her well-being and lack of ability to pick a decent man, her sister Gloria stepped in by inviting us to attend church – a 4 Square, Christian church.
This was a new one for me.
One time previously, when left home alone, I had snuck in a little television watching when I was supposed to have been practicing. Bad idea. I tuned in to a television preacher who was terrifying! He was sweating, spitting and screaming about something called the “tribulation” and detailing the atrocious events that would surely befall humankind. After seeing this, I was wholly unable to control my nightmares!
Now here I was being ushered into the very place where the knowledge of these petrifying events originated. YIKES! I was not an average kid. I knew things and saw things that other people didn’t. I had not yet been diagnosed with epilepsy but I knew I was different.
My first day in Sunday school was uncomfortable. I just didn’t get it- how could all of these people be so happy about being sheep? They were actually joyously singing about being sheep. My mom, who has always had issues with self-confidence, was immediately sucked in. She has always believed she was unworthy of…well, everything, and so church was the perfect fit for her.
“Mom”, I mused, “they all like to be sheep.”
“Honey, this is the kind of stability we need,” she retorted.
I think my mom accepted Jesus in to her heart as her savior that very first day. She was gung ho immediately, and life would dramatically change for us within a few months time. From one extreme to the next, the theme of my life continued.
We faithfully attended church every Sunday and after a brief time period, Wednesday nights became part of our routine as well. This put a cramp in my regimen since I now had to fit in my twirling practice, accordion time AND boring sheep training!
One thing about Sunday school I did look forward to was the memory challenge. I discovered you could win prizes for memorizing scripture and answering Bible questions. PRIZES! In a brief amount of time I had become a virtual Biblical scholar. I won every challenge every week. I could spout out pages and pages of memorized scriptures at the drop of a hat. I became the biggest prize hoarder of all time. It didn’t matter what challenge was presented; I refused to lose.
After a while those scriptures started getting under my skin. I began feeling guilty about the things I did that were less than holy. I began modifying my thoughts and actions. It was almost entirely based on fear, but I must admit, I was becoming more aware of my behavior. These Bible scriptures were kind of like instructions on how to keep from burning to a crisp in hell. I decided it wasn’t so bad and figured it was better to pretend to be a sheep than end up as a human shish kabob.
I am a baton twirler… Okay, stop yourself right there. I know you just conjured up an image of a smiling cheese-ball in a cheerleading costume marching in a parade. Do you really think that all of these hours of practice, sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears I have been alluding to thus far are for the benefit of neighborhood parade attendees drinking beer and cheering on the local senior citizen garden club? PAALLLEEAASE!
I was born into a family of baton twirling nuts. I was raised and trained to live and breathe the sport of baton twirling. I am an elite dancer, and floor exercise gymnast. I can remember more routines, tricks, and series of movement than any math scholar on the planet. I am an athlete, artist and sports psychologist all wrapped up into one skinny, strong, baton-slinging body, and I’ve got big news for you: I am not alone.
For your quick education here is a short twirling glossary:
SPINS = The amount of pirouette turns your body completes under a tossed baton.
ROLLS = The tricks that roll on and around your shoulders, arms and neck. It looks like a magnet is holding the baton there as it twirls.
CONTACT MATERIAL = The super fast, low tossed, flips and whips that build speed in your routine.
BREAKS = Penalty! When the baton stops and jerks unintentionally rather than flows.
DROPS = Obvious. Go kill yourself now. You’ve lost and your mother is coming to beat you senseless.
Twirling was HUGE in the 70’s and 80’s. Competitions lasted for days and were so ferociously stacked with talent that any one of the top ten at Nationals could have been the champion. At the State championships my single age division boasted more than a hundred entries. Just to get to the final round you had to make it through several preliminary age cuts. The top three then moved on to compete against the top three from the other age divisions in that category.
For example, the Juvenile division was comprised of 9 to 11 year-olds. The top three 9 year-olds competed against top three 10, and top three 11 year-olds. THEN, the single champions from each Division would compete against one another for the Grand title.
In the end ONE Champion was left standing as the winner.
If you won Grand at Nationals you were truly a GOD. You were awarded the DIAMOND CUP (a monstrous trophy bejeweled with five real diamonds) and you were plastered on the cover of TWIRL Magazine! (Insert angelic chorus here)… and that was just USTA!
The United States twirling Association (USTA) has flourished since the 1960’s. It was a branch off of the other original twirling organization, the National Baton Twirling Association (NBTA). NBTA is a mega federation of countless twirlers. NBTA was less concerned about “technique” and more focused on speed, tricks and showmanship.
The two organizations were brutal enemies back in the day. It was political suicide to jump from one to the other and the style differences between the two organizations made it nearly impossible to win in both. Only one person had ever succeeded in capturing both Grand titles: Cathy Fujymi. You may bow humbly to the ground now.
Cathy Fujymi was the untouchable deity of my dreams. She lived in my imagination. She was real but I had never seen her. Cathy Fujymi was IT for me. My hero. My fantasy. My reason for daydreaming that one day I might, on a fluke, make the top 3 in my age division at State. My mom told me magnificent stories about her.
“She caught a 6 spin, split leap pull-out on the grass! She has a roll named after her, the Fugymi Roll!”
Nobody could ever be arrogant enough to think that the accomplishments of Cathy Fujymi could possibly be matched. To do that, somebody would have to be strong enough to bust through political boundaries, be ten times better than everybody else athletically, be persistent, confident, superior in every way . . . wow . . . I would have loved to been able to catch even a glimpse of someone like that. They would probably come from a great family with lots of money, they’d have beautiful costumes, a sparkling personality and they would definitely be trained by the perfect coach.
My yearlong sentence to the hell that was Rhode Island ended and my mom, cat and I once again conquered the highway and found our road home to Southern California. I enrolled in my former elementary school, reacquainted with my few friends and trudged forward with my practice regimen and now-tainted childhood existence.
My hair had grown out to a shaggy, who-gives-a-shit length and I can see from photos of that era I had a very haunted look in my eyes. It was a look that even a smile could not disguise. I was no longer a problem in school. I was more . . . invisible.
One day, while on our back patio grinding out my daily twirling routines, I heard the doorbell ring. This was unusual, as nobody ever visited.
I heard a man’s energetic, booming voice and my curiosity got the best of me. Peeking around the corner I saw a man in a funny, ill-fitting suit opening a big black case.
My mom, proclaiming her disinterest, was powerless to stop him. When he pulled out the contents from the mysterious case it was as if the heavens opened and I heard a chorus of angelic hosts lifting their voices just for me. I may have actually seen a giant sunray beaming through the front window, highlighting the most amazing treasure I had ever seen.
AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! My eyes actually lit up.
The cheesy salesman lifted the heavenly object to his chest, strapped it on and began playing a magnificent polka. That sealed the deal for me. Although I already had practice responsibilities beyond any average 9 year-old kid, I begged my mom to sign me up for the six-week, door-to-door accordion rental and lessons.
Did she give me the If-you-sign-up-you-will-stick-with-it-for-a-year-without-complaint speech? YES. Did she make sure I understood that I would practice this skill for a minimum of a half hour per day, everyday? YES. Did I tell her that I had found my calling in life, I couldn’t live without this divine instrument and I would become the most famous accordion player of all time? ABSOLUTELY.
And so it began.
I loved playing the accordion. I practiced more than my assigned time and I was quite a natural. The small, white, rented accordion was sufficient and I was satisfied with my blossoming music career.
During an outing to purchase sheet music I spotted something that obliterated my contentment. Displayed in a faux black alligator case was the largest, shiniest, most impressive accordion I could have ever imagined. Pearly, iridescent keys that spanned miles, so many black button chords I couldn’t even count them, so large, so beautiful . . . my eyes swirled like a cartoon character.
“MMOOOOOMMM!” I yelled through the store. “THIS is my LIFE! I MUST have it!”
My mom gazed at the atrocious instrument and with a lump in her throat she sadly stated, “Honey, this is $600. We just can’t afford it. EVER.”
Oh no! On the silent drive home my mind was racing. How can I get that king of accordions? There must be a way. I can be sold for child labor. No. How? How . . .
“MOM! I’ve got it!” I squealed with joy. “Christmas is only two months away and SANTA can bring it! Santa doesn’t have to pay for it!”
What an awesome idea! My world was complete again. I just had to wait two months and that magic man would deliver my dream-come-true right to my living room. Now my mom didn’t have to worry. After all, we received food stamps. $600 dollars in two months was more than her hard-earned paycheck could supply. Thank goodness I had Santa!
As the weeks rolled on, my conversation always found its way back to the beautiful accordion. I visited Santa in front of 7-Eleven and described in detail the gift he was to deliver. Knowing how special it was, I informed him I would hold no grudge if it was my only gift.
Things were going great for me.
For some reason my mom was working a tremendous amount of hours and I was able to cheat on my practice chart, completely bamboozling the babysitter who knew nothing about baton twirling. About a week before Christmas my mom sat me down for a serious talk.
“Ned, honey…is there anything else you can think of that you would like more than the accordion?”
Easy answer, “Not a chance.”
My mother blinked.
“Well, I know it is a big deal to you and I just don’t want you to be too disappointed. I think the elves may not be able to build the kind you want. It is very detailed and large.”
I was undaunted, though.
“Oh, don’t you worry mom. Santa will bring me the perfect accordion. I believe it.”
Christmas Eve was exciting. I couldn’t go to sleep. I lay in the hall facing the tree, waiting. I was determined to see how the hulking gift would be delivered. Of course, I eventually nodded off.
When morning came there was a giant gift, wrapped in the most beautiful paper I had ever seen. Even though I knew it would be there, I have never been so giddy. Tearing through the paper my heart was racing. Oh My Gosh! There it was. THERE IT WAS! It looked exactly like the one at the music store! Santa was the smartest, best, nicest, most generous, amazing guy EVER!
I couldn’t stop talking about how great he was! My mom was kind of tired, but had a satisfied look on her face. I tried to motivate her by giving her a lecture on the power of BELIEVING! Then I hammered out song after song in an effort to help her stay wide-awake all day!
I am a believer in magic – the magic and hope in life. I have faith in the unexpected, life altering magic that appears right when it is needed. I never doubt that a new possibility is going to flourish at any moment. My mom gave me this gift of belief. One of the many ways she did this was through Santa Claus.
For me, Christmas was always the most amazing day of the year. Not only did I get material gifts and a visit from the Fat Man, it was the ONLY day of the year I had a “No Practice” pass!
Many children believe in Santa Claus, and many parents conjure up magical scenarios for their children to enjoy; but I have never come across any presentations more convincing than those concocted by my mother. My mom was not blind to the fact that we led a tough life. She knew I suffered in many ways. She was determined to push magic into my world . . . and she did.
The year we lived in Rhode Island was the worst year of my life and so I had many concerns as Christmas approached. Would Santa bring me anything? I had lied to everyone at school about my gender and beat most of my classmates to a pulp. I secretly wished horrible things would befall my creepy, mean cousin. I cursed like a truck driver and I cheated on my practice chart when my mom was unable to watch my every moment. These were unforgivable grievances in my mind and I was sure Santa would not be able to reward my existence.
Aside from my behavior I was terrified that even if he had some small token for me he would not be able to locate me in the tool shed for lack of proper address and I was certain there was no room on the roof for all eight reindeer. Restless and guilt-ridden I eventually fell asleep on that cold, snowy Christmas Eve.
Morning came and my stomach sunk with disappointment. As I had feared, Santa had bypassed my home. There was nothing in the tiny room where I slept. Nothing. As I sat on my bed, filled with remorse I heard my mom’s excited voice yelling from outside.
“Ned! Ned! Get out here right away! Oh my goodness! I can’t believe it! It’s amazing!”
I ran outside immediately and was astonished to see such a miracle. Our shed roof slanted drastically. Carved into the thick, icy snow were very obvious sled tracks! Sled tracks and reindeer hoof prints! Sled tracks, reindeer hoof prints and . . . could it be . . . lots of presents! Stuck in the snow, on the roof and surrounding the shed at various distances were loads and loads of presents!
Obviously Santa did have a difficult time delivering to my home. Although the reindeer could fly they had a hard time floating. Not all of them could fit on our roof, (as I had suspected), and the others simply could not float off the side long enough for a proper delivery! I was overjoyed! From agonizing disappointment to unimaginable joy…that was my life!
The real topper came as I moved along collecting the gifts. A bit of a distance down the road I saw a large, colorful package. I ran to it, snatched it up and couldn’t believe my good fortune. Written on the label was this: To Tommy, From Santa.
WHAT! Not only did I hit the mother load, this extra gift, meant for someone else, had fallen from Santa’s sleigh right into my grasp! HAHAHAHA! What a bonus! What a miracle! I was so grateful. I repented a thousand times over in my mind as I laughed and jumped and yelled. And then I had one quick thought for poor Tommy . . . “SCHMUCK!”
I have experienced a lot of horror in my life. I am not sad. I am not bitter. I haven’t much self-pity regarding the harsh, unfortunate circumstances. I think it may have to do with the amount of love that I received as a counter balance to the evil.
My mom had many issues, including an explosive temper. I was beaten mercilessly on a regular basis. I was also loved beyond measure. In the end, the love has outweighed all else, though the volatile extremes have undoubtedly affected my choices in life. The mixed messages have also caused me to search, study and dissect my own behavior, leading me to a better understanding of myself and the pain of others.
I am grateful for the lessons I have learned through my suffering. I no longer accept abuse for myself but I have been given the gift of compassion towards those who lash out. Nobody deserves to be a victim of those who inflict hurt, not even the perpetrators themselves.