The thrill . . . the energy surge . . . the savage delight of pitting yourself against a river that is trying to kill you . . . the constant, smothering spray of water, in your eyes, down your neck, sloshing around the bottom of your vessel as it sinks . . . the screams and shrieks from your comrades and loved ones . . .
Again I ask, who doesn’t love whitewater rafting?
And I answer – only sane people, that’s who!
But if you insist on shooting the rapids because you have some kind of suppressed death wish or perhaps are planning on pushing someone overboard to collect on their insurance (that last one is a movie script in development, so hands off) then Hikingware.com wants to introduce you to some of the best whitewater rafting and canoeing in the world. Put these sites on your bucket list to visit:
Fatal Falls, Montana. The Widowmaker River. Nestled in the midst of the Rockies, this bend in the river features not only boulders, rip tides, undercurrents, and whirlpools, but the water itself, fed from austere mountain glaciers, is so cold that if you happen to fall in you will not only turn blue but lay icicles for the next fortnight. Old Joe Codger runs the Falling Inn, where you can rent an inflatable coffin . . . er, raft, and paddles to shoot the treacherous Fatal Falls. This stretch of whitewater is about 2 miles long, and only 15 feet wide – so if you manage to survive the rapids you’ll probably run aground on the rip rap and tear your flesh to ribbons. Have fun!
Gruesome Gorge. Arizona. The Scorpion River. When pioneers tried to navigate this deadly length of river they quickly decided to build a bridge instead, after finishing the graveyard first. The whole river is notorious for its piranha, introduced by the state Game & Fish Department during the Great Depression as a way to attract tourists and dispose of cattle rustlers. The little darlings are always hungry, and do not scruple from jumping into your raft just as you are fighting for your life to start nipping at your heels. You can rent an aluminum skiff from Pappy Doldrums, who runs the Broken Arms Hotel and Mortuary. For a small fee he’ll Photoshop a shot of you plunging down Gruesome Gorge to send to friends and family so you can spend all your time well away from the water collecting horned toads.
The Suez Canal. Egypt. No whitewater here; it’s as smooth as a mill pond. But there’s always a war breaking out along it somewhere, so you can be sure of plenty of danger and possible massacre. And if you happen to meet a super tanker you’ll have enough stories, and scars, to keep your grandchildren entertained for years.
The Vale of Volatility. Ireland. The River Hideous. This is five miles of pure heck. Not only is it filled with Blarney stones that lull you into a sense of false security, but it is so polluted from the gin mills upriver in Dublin that your skiff will inevitably warp and sink within ten minutes of entering the water – or else it’ll pick a fight with you over some dumb soccer team. If you manage to survive those dangers you can always depend on a thick fog to keep you running blind – and if you are rash enough to drink any of the water, you’ll STAY blind!
Grassley, Hatch Press Social Security Administration, Justice Department
on Benefits for Suspected Nazis
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Orrin Hatch are seeking details from the Social Security Administration and the Justice Department on Social Security benefits given to suspected ex-Nazis. It’s unclear why the federal government allowed millions of dollars to flow to these individuals, including those who have left the country. Record-keeping discrepancies have exacerbated uncertainty and confusion over U.S. government practice and policy on allowing ex-Nazis to retain their Social Security benefits.
“We have introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to close the Social Security loophole in order to prevent this practice in the future and hope that it will become law soon,” Grassley and Hatch wrote in letters to each agency. “However, there remain questions about DOJ’s actions and what will be done in current cases if the law is not passed before they are resolved.”
Grassley and Hatch asked for statistics in areas including the total number of Nazi suspects who received Social Security benefits after leaving the United States, how many suspected Nazis currently receive Social Security benefits and live outside the country, information on the potential outcome of certain identified cases, and details of interaction between the Social Security Administration and the Justice Department on the issue.
Hatch is the sponsor and Grassley is an original cosponsor of bipartisan, bicameral legislation to terminate Social Security benefits for Nazi persecutors who receive them because of a loophole in current law. The practice appeared to be little-known in recent years until an Associated Press report exposed the practice, leading to scrutiny from Congress and public outcry.