Blog Posts by Sarah D. Bunting

  • Is this the world's cutest kitten?

    Ben Torode is an Australian translator living in Japan; he's not a professional photographer. But Torode's photos of his very teeny, very fluffy kitten, Daisy, look like they took years of training to achieve. He gets super-cool action shots and effects: water in mid-splash, Daisy airborne in mid-pounce. Even more impressively, he somehow got the kitten – whom Torode and his wife adopted on impulse from a pet store – to cooperate on "stories" like sitting quietly while bubbles fly past; wriggling through a leg of jeans; peeking out from under a hat; and napping in a mixing bowl.

    According to My Modern Met, Torode deliberately sets up his compositions to emphasize how teeny Daisy is (in one shot, she's next to a miso soup bowl, which is only about 10 cm across – and she's not a whole lot bigger). But how does he get a kitten, not exactly the most trainable creature in the animal kingdom, to collaborate? My Modern Met interviewed Torode over the weekend, and based on his comments about

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  • Skiing bad boy Bode Miller engaged to beach volleyballer Morgan Beck

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 11: US Olympic Skier Bode Miller (L) and guest arrives at the 2012 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)Olympic champion and alpine "bad boy" Bode Miller has put a ring on it – he's engaged to model and former Cal volleyball player Morgan Beck, 25. (And said ring is fierce.)

    The world learned about the engagement via Twitter when Miller, 34, tweeted, "I have found the one!!! And convinced her to marry me."

    Beck retweeted her new fiancé, but apparently she made him work a little bit for that "yes"; Miller tweeted later that "It was a process MorganEBeck is hard to convince. I'm super excited."

    Beck plays beach volleyball professionally. At six foot three, Beck occasionally gets comparisons to another model/volleyballer, Gabrielle Reece. Beck was previously married to Penn State volleyball player Matt Proper.

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    Beck wrote on her blog earlier in the month of her plans to move to San Diego and live with Miller on his yacht. (She also wrote about some disappointments at the Association of Volleyball Professionals championship – and

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  • Hoops coach to kids: Play everything!

    Ellen Burstyn in the 2011 film based on the '72 team. Cathy Rush has seen a lot change since she started coaching college basketball in 1970 -- and when it comes to kids getting too specialized in sports, she's not sure that's a good thing.

    When Rush signed on as the women's hoops coach at Immaculata, PA's Immaculata College in 1970, she had "no budget"; her team practiced in a novitiate because the gym had burned down; and the uniform consisted of pleated wool jumpers, ironed white shirts, and bloomers.

    Rush modernized the team and led the school to three straight national championships in 1972-4, upping the nation's interest in women's college hoops, and thanks to Title IX, a lot has changed since the early '70s – but Rush thinks that might be hurting kids who focus too much on a single sport, not just injury-wise but interpersonally as well.

    Rush, who retired from coaching in 1977 and went into a family business running day and sports camps, addressed the St. Mary Health Expo in Falls, PA last weekend, and her keynote covered not just

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  • Ko's early success sparks debate

    Lydia Ko, of New Zealand, hits her second shot on the eighth hole during the final round of the LPGA Tour's Canadian Women's Open golf tournament, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012, at the Vancouver Golf Club in Coquitlam, British Columbia. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)The British Open is underway at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, with 15-year-old Lydia Ko a member of the field.

    Ko, who won the Canadian Open to become the LPGA's youngest winner ever, seemed excited for the challenge: "I have had an amazing summer, and I feel it can only get better." But as an ESPN-W piece by Lewine Mair points out, that kind of success at Ko's age may have its downside. Ko has admitted that she's had to forego typical teen activities in favor of golf and practice. Ko's not the only adolescent in the tournament, either – Lexi Thompson, who had held the record for youngest winner, is still just 17, the UK's Charley Hull 16 – and the presence of these prodigies does raise some questions as to how hard they're pushed, how fast, and whether players "getting better sooner" is worth it.

    Previous "generations" of young golfers prioritized school and "regular" life. Today, young golfers like Ko may treat it more like a job – a full-time one that leaves less room in their

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  • Cat arrives at Disneyworld after 10 hours in suitcase

    Bob-bob, reunited with owner Ethel Maze. Orlando Sentinel / Jacob LangstonThis cat's trip to Disney is no fairy tale: Bob-bob came along on his owner's annual trip to Orlando – in her suitcase.

    Ethel Maze, who runs the Maze Residential Care Home for disabled veterans, had a lot to do in the lead-up to her yearly jaunt to Florida. She had to confirm flight and hotel reservations for her group – 18 disabled veterans and volunteers – and find someone to watch her six pets. But according to the Orlando Sentinel's story on Bob-bob's unlikely journey, the 14-month-old cat was not trying to hear about staying home in Circleville, OH. As Maze packed the last of her things Monday morning, Bob-bob made sure he got packed as well, sneaking into her suitcase.

    PHOTOS: The Cutest Kittens on Instagram

    Mike Groleau, who wrangles the group's baggage, did think he saw the bag move – but it had been a long night, so Groleau just tagged the green suitcase and put it with the others. "This was the last bag I grabbed," he told the Sentinel, and "somehow it got zipped up."

    When it

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  • Great Dane Zeus now world's tallest dog

    The king of the gods is now king of the dogs: Zeus, a Great Dane from Otsego, MI, is the world's tallest dog, according to the Guinness World Records 2013 book released today. The 3-year-old Zeus measures 44 inches from his shoulder to his foot -- just one inch more than Giant George, now relegated to world's second tallest dog.

    When he's standing on his hind legs, Zeus is seven feet four inches tall, dwarfing owner Denise Doorlag. Zeus presents some challenges thanks to his size, though. Doorlag had to buy a van big enough for Zeus to fit into, and he eats 12 cups of dog food each day -- the equivalent of a 30-lb. bag. Doorlag also seems rather weary of the constant jokes about putting a saddle on the dog.

    Doorlag says the whole family (which includes two other dogs, who appear positively toy in comparison) is proud of Zeus. Zeus has lots to brag about, as he's a therapy dog -- and he needed some therapy of his own to conquer his fear of the T-square, the device used to measure him.

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  • Best of times and worst of times for two teen athletes

    In this photo taken Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, Sierra Harr, who helped the Castleford High School boy's golf team win Idaho's 2A championship in May, poses for a photograph while putting at the Clear Lakes Country Club near Buhl, Idaho. The Idaho High School Activities Association is mulling rule changes that could prevent the 16-year-old from golfing with the boy's team this spring. (AP Photo/John Miller)First, the good news: 12-year-old Katylynn Welch is an excellent runner. How excellent? At an XTERRA half-marathon event in Waco, TX on August 18, she won the women's field and placed 11th overall. True, according to Outside Magazine's Adventure blog, trail running gives female athletes more opportunities to truly compete with men than most sports – but Outside's Katie Arnold notes that it's also a sport in which top runners may not peak until their thirties or even forties. Top runners like, say, Claudia Spooner, a 42-year-old and triathlete who typically dusts her competition in XTERRA events, and who finished two minutes behind Welch last month. (Welch, modestly: "I think she was sick that day.")

    Finishing behind Spooner, meanwhile, was another mighty mite – Welch's sister, Heather. Their father, Rodney, hinted that Heather's the real threat, since her main goal is to keep up with her older sister, who has finished the Houston Marathon in well under four hours. Unfortunately,

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  • VIDEO: Man builds box tower as apology to cat

    Rufus (not shown) was sad about ear drops; owner Billy Browne built him a box palace to cheer him up."Rufus Tower" isn't your average internet cat video. Popular AV cat memes mostly fall into two categories: cats cutely doing something human, like playing the piano; or cats cutely being somewhere they shouldn't be, like on top of a Roomba. "Rufus Tower," shot by Australian commercial and music-video director Billy Browne, is different. It's about a cat feeling sad, and his owner trying to cheer him up – by building him a large and complex tower of cardboard boxes to play in.

    The five-minute video, starring Browne and his beleaguered orange cat Rufus, is up to a half million YouTube page views as of this writing. It kicks off with an explanation from Browne about what led to this architectural marvel. Rufus had an ear infection; the treatment was ear drops, which Rufus hated, running away from Browne when Browne came home from work. Browne admits that Rufus has been hiding from him for two weeks now (we know the feeling, although with our sulking orange tabby, it was eye drops).


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  • 70-lb. Dachshund put on Biggest Loser-style program

    Obie enjoys a sunbeam. Photo Nora Vanatta / FacebookCue up the "pig in a blanket" jokes – a 70-pound wiener dog, a Dachshund named Obie, is going on a major diet to try to slim down.

    The average Dachshund has a maximum weight of 32 pounds; five-year-old Obie (who used to be called AJ; we assume the "Obie" nickname is short for "obese" – aw, poor guy) weighs more than twice that, topping out at 77 pounds when new owner Nora Vanatta met him last month. (That's seven times what a Miniature Dachshund would weigh.)

    His previous owners, an older couple, had to give Obie up because of their own declining health, but thanks to what must have been expert begging by the dog, they'd managed to feed him almost to death in the meantime.

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    Vanatta first heard about Obie because she follows Oregon Dachshund Rescue on Facebook, but when she read his weight, she assumed they'd gotten confused about the breed. Nope: he's a purebred. He's also really lucky; Vanatta already owns a couple

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  • SportsDivas offers busy women a sports "cheat sheet"

    Monica Murphy-Vargas, the founder of SportsDivas, grew up immersed in sports. She played softball, golfed, and swam; she rooted for the Indians; she became, in college, a self-described "obsessed and annoying Ohio State fan." But when she landed a job at ESPN, Murphy-Vargas says in the new site's note to readers, she felt overwhelmed with all the sports intel she had to get on top of fast. "I realized that there was no quick way to really learn sports; no way to break through all the sports news and clutter targeted to educated fans," she remembers.

    It's an issue I've given a lot of thought to myself, for several reasons. One, my boyfriends never know that much about baseball, and I've many times considered printing and laminating "Bunting's Baseball Basics" wallet cards to save me trying to explain why a given play or at-bat has me in the fetal position on the couch. Two, that cuts both ways – my attempts to learn about the NFL meant that my patient friend Alesh spent an hour drawing

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