Fun, Amazing, Etc.

This is the official blog of indie author / adventure writer Andy R. Bunch, author of the fantasy book, "Suffering Rancor." As always, I'll post funny or amazing things I find in my travels or from poking around online. This is a great place to kick back and relax a bit. You may note that I’m not too clean or too dirty. For more information on my book, go to Here are links to first two books and

Saturday, September 29, 2007

How To: Boomerangs

Science of Boomerangs: How to Make and Throw the Aussie Magic

Throwing a boomerang is part science, part magic — and, as Eric Darnell knows, so is making one.

By Dan Drollette

At the preseason tryouts for the U.S. Boomerang Team in Greenfield, Mass., one figure stands out among the hacky sack players and pizza delivery guys gathering in the soccer fields, limbering up their throwing arms.

Eric Darnell, a soft-spoken 62-year-old Quaker and backyard inventor from South Stafford, Vt., has brought 60 of his latest handmade boomerang prototypes, along with several notebooks, two windsocks and printouts of weather forecasts. While others just hurl their rangs — as aficionados call them — Darnell tries to be as meticulous and scientific as possible about the objects he refers to as "my kinetic sculptures."

When a boomerang won't soar, he adds extra weight here, shaves a wing there or drills a hole somewhere else to improve flight characteristics. When asked what he's doing, Darnell — who has coached three U.S. teams — explains with a blizzard of information about airfoil shapes, Reynolds numbers, local atmospheric conditions, wind shear and the effects of drag.

But he also acknowledges the role of art and intuition: "One of the things that is near and dear to my heart about boomerangs is that there's still some magic involved. You can't completely computerize them. I've seen computer-designed boomerangs, and they’re junk. Sometimes, to fly well, a rang needs to be asymmetrical or unbalanced or off-center. It's counterintuitive; it's not in textbooks about airfoils." Plus, imperfections make a boomerang more fun. "When you see a rang made for maximum time aloft vibrating in the air, it just seems alive."

Though Darnell's degree is in regional planning, he is a self-taught engineer and avid consumer of trade magazines on materials science. He is also a tool-and-die designer, and his list of inventions includes chest protectors for sports, helmets for lacrosse and ice hockey, and a wood-burning stove that is sold all over the world.

But his first love is boomerangs, which he began to make as a child after losing one too many gliders. ("For a 12-year-old, that's devastating," he says.) Today, his boomerangs are used by more competitive throwers than those from any other single boomerang designer. To create a boomerang, Darnell relies on a little theory and a lot of experimentation, often with previous designs. "I have about a thousand rangs in my barn that I use for inspiration," he says. Some of them came from well-wishers and some from obscure shops — several are even made from the same exotic carbon fibers used in submarines.

But the boomerangs he most treasures, Darnell says, are the ancient wooden ones. Aborigines made rangs for hunting, fishing and imitating the flight of hawks; they made boomerangs to catch on the edge of an enemy's shield and hit him from behind. Some have two wings; others, four. Nearly all have some unique feature that Darnell tries to incorporate into one of his own designs.

It must be a sound strategy: Twenty-five world records have been set using Darnell boomerangs or rangs inspired by his models. At last year's world championship in Japan, 127 of 130 competitors used Darnell rangs.

And, yes, there is such a thing as a world boomerang championship. (Next year it will be held in Seattle.) National clubs thrive in the United States, Germany, France, Japan and England. There are rules, regulation fields, exhibition games and individual and team events. There are even pro tours, which date back to 1985, when 10,000 screaming Parisian fans watched U.S. Boomerang Team members Chet Snouffer, Barnaby Ruhe, Peter Ruhf and Darnell set records. "It was like we were the Beatles," Ruhf says.

Darnell has himself set world records for endurance (43 catches in 5 minutes) and maximum time aloft (1 minute and 44 seconds). He has also sold millions of boomerangs. He says he isn't into the sport for the money, although he admits, "I make many happy returns."

Boomerang Flight

Eric Darnell turns native oak into boomerangs that return with eerie precision. Few experts agree on exactly why boomerangs fly the way they do, but a few basic principles apply: lift, spin and an effect called precession.

How It Works

Air passing over the curved top of a boomerang’s airfoil — at the leading edge of the wing — is forced to go faster than air passing over the relatively flat underside. As described by Bernoulli's principle, this generates less pressure above the wing, creating upward lift.


The rate of a boomerang's spin is determined by the length of the wings, the angle at which they're joined, the distribution of material and the amount of force applied by the thrower. Like a gyroscope, a boomerang has greater stability the faster it spins.


A boomerang is thrown at a slight outward tilt from vertical. The top wing rotates with the object's forward motion, so it moves faster than the bottom wing, generating more lift. Because the boom­erang is spinning, the lift exerts a steady force that is felt 90 degrees later, at the point in each rotation farthest from the thrower. This force nudges the wing laterally and the spin axis shifts. The boomerang turns — eventually curving all the way back to its starting point.

Four Boomerang Designs


Roughly 30 in. long, this 19th-century rang from Western Australia is made from mulga — a wood so dense "it sinks like a stone in water," Darnell says. It weighs nearly 2 pounds, so, "You definitely want to stay out of the way when it comes back."

The unknown maker carved grooves into the top and bottom, shaving off a tiny bit of weight (crucial in a sport where the mass of a paper clip can clinch a record throw). The grooves also form hollows that — like the dimples on a golfball — create a blunt airfoil, which increases lift.

"This boomerang inspired me to put a shallow hollow, or undercamber, on the bottom of my boomerangs," Darnell says.


The 1.5-ounce, 11-in. Tri-Fly is Darnell's most popular — and most imitated — boomerang. Its multiple wings were inspired by Aboriginal designs.

More wings mean more lift, which makes the boomerang turn in an extremely tight circle. Unfortunately, early prototypes circled too tightly — traveling only 16 yards before returning. Darnell corrected this problem by putting a single hole near the end of each wing. This spoiled just enough lift to allow the rang to sail out farther — to 27 yards.

"In addition, the holes slowed the rate of spin, making this boomerang easier to catch," Darnell says. "They showed me that drag is not a four-letter word."


The classic V shape, with a twist. The wings' positive angle of attack allows the boomerang to climb farther and faster. It's made from a type of polypropylene plastic soft enough for the user to bend the wings further, yet resistant enough to hold the resulting shape — making this the first "tuneable" boomerang.

At about 2 ounces and 14 in. across, the Pro-Fly can travel out as far as 40 yards. Even so, Darnell was unsure how the plastic model would be received in Australia, the home of the wood boomerang: "Then I met Bluey Roberts [a well-known Aboriginal artist] — and he was throwing a Pro-Fly. He goes, 'Oh yeah, bloody good rang.'"


Made for the Maximum Time Aloft event at competitions, the MTA has asymmetrical wings that present more surface area to the wind, maximizing lift. And at a mere half-ounce, the 13-in.-wide MTA floats on the slightest updraft.

"It's a crazy shape compared to most other designs," Darnell says. Its airfoil, however, is extremely efficient. It loses little energy to the formation of noise, for example.

A few years ago, officials informally timed the silent rang at 17 minutes aloft. "Sometimes, an MTA just disappears," says Ted Bailey, a former president of the U.S. Boomerang Association. "We call that 'losing it to the jet-stream god.'"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Smart Funny Jokes

Life is a matter of perspective, sometimes the hot new trend exposes how hot you are and sometimes it exposes how dumb you are.

These are clever observations, enjoy.

Now that food has replaced sex in my life, I can't even get into my own pants.

Marriage changes passion.
Suddenly you're in bed with a relative.

I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt with "Guess" on it so I said "Implants?"
She hit me.

How come we choose from just two people to run for president and over fifty
for Miss America ?

I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose-fitting clothing.
If I HAD any loose-fitting clothing, I wouldn't have signed up in the first place!

When I was young we used to go "skinny dipping," now I just "chunky dunk."

Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell who's who.

Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?

Wouldn't you know it....
Brain cells come and brain cells go, but FATcells live forever.

Why do I have to swear on the Bible in court when the Ten Commandments cannot
be displayed outside?

Bumper sticker of the year:
"If you can read this, thank a teacher -and, since it's in English, thank a soldier"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Toilet Cleaning Instructions:

1. Put both lids of the toilet up and add 1/8 cup of pet shampoo to the water in the bowl.
2. Pick up the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the bathroom.

3. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both lids. You may need to stand on the lid.

4. The cat will self agitate and make ample suds. Never mind the noises that come from the toilet, the cat is actually
enjoying this.

5. Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a "power-wash" and rinse."

6. Have someone open the front door of your home. Be sure that there are no people between the bathroom and the front

7. Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both lids.

8. The cat will rocket out of the toilet, streak through the bathroom, and run outside where he will dry himself off.

9. Both the commode and the cat will be sparkling clean.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Don't let life's obstacles get you down:

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Millau Viaduct

The Millau viaduct is part of the new E11 expressway connecting Paris and Barcelona and features the highest bridge piers ever constructed.
The tallest is 240 meters (787 feet) high and the overall height will be an impressive 336 meters (1102 feet), making this the highest bridge in the world.

That's roughly the altitude of Mount St. Hellens. Let me be the first to bet some idiot is going to sky dive off this.