Rolling logs, swinging axes, saws aplenty, and even an appearance by the Musky Queen: welcome to the Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward, Wisconsin. ... 2015 marks the 56th-annual edition of the “Olympics of the Forest,” founded in 1960 “to perpetuate and glorify the working skills of the American lumberjack,” and with more than 120 qualifiers, this year’s games boasts the largest field of competitors in event history. The larger sporting sphere looks in every once in a while. Wide World of Sports was here in 1979. The Great Outdoor Games, while they existed, featured its events. Kenny Mayne did a segment at the championships in 2013. But whether the outside world is watching or not, the games continue, without a lot of regard to who’s paying attention. These athletes are not here for your cameras. They’re here for themselves, and for each other, and for a lucky few to be able to go home and say, “Look at this chain saw I won.”
Over the past decade, Americans have done something that would have once seemed downright un-American: They've given up soda. And when you’re craving a can of pop, LaCroix is a decent substitute. Unlike tap water, it has carbonation and a little flavor. Unlike a countertop SodaStream, it's cheap, readily available, and portable. Close your eyes, wrap your hand around the perspiring aluminum can, and you could be holding a Coca-Cola. LaCroix is succeeding as methadone for the soda addict. ... LaCroix isn’t the only brand to benefit from the sparkling water boom. But it’s the one that’s risen to the coveted status of lifestyle brand, not just generating loyalty but becoming part of how we define ourselves. The secret behind LaCroix’s rise is a mix of old-fashioned business strategy and cutting-edge social marketing. When Americans wanted carbonated water, LaCroix was positioned to give them them fizzy water. Then, sometimes by accident, LaCroix developed fans among mommy bloggers, Paleo eaters, and Los Angeles writers who together pushed LaCroix into the zeitgeist.