So, apparently I subscribe to the Darwin Awards newsletter (I didn't realize that until today when it was in my mailbox), and I figured you all might get a kick out of the newest recipients of the award. For all those that don't know what a Darwin Award is (WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? just kidding), taken from the cover of the 1st book "Commemorating those individuals who ensure the long-trm survival of our species by removing themselves from the gene pool in a sublimely idiotic fashion."Rules and eligibility, also taken from the first book: "1. The candidate must remove himself from the gene pool. 2. The candidate must exhibit an astounding mispplication of judgment. 3. The candidate must be the cause of his own demise. 4. The candidate must be capable of sound judgment. 5. The event must be verified." So here is what was in my newsletter:
Two men, 17 and 21, imitated Darth Vader, and made light sabres from fluorescent light tubes. That's right, they opened them up, poured gasoline inside, and lit them. As one can imagine, a Star Wars sized explosion was not far behind. Darth Vader died, while his opponent survived to 'fess up to their creative, but stupid, reenactment. This one passes the "no minors" rule, because 17 is legal driving age, and oldenough to pump gas is old enough to know better. Reference: news.bbc.co.uk
Speaking of pumping gas, this is unconfirmed, but a Pittsburg woman told a gas station attendant that she had spilled some gasoline, and wouldn't pay for it. He indicated disbelief, where upon she said,"Look I'll prove it," and tossed her cigarette into the puddle. The gas ignited -- proving her point, but landing her in court in 1993 for inciting a catastrophe. When you hear the words, "Look, I'll prove it," run away!
FREEWAY DANGLER -- Darwin Award -- Confirmed (31 May 2005, Seattle, Washington) Strength and endurance are two ofthe most important characteristics that can be passed on to improve the species, so physical challenges between males are frequent. In this case, two drinking buddies found themselves on an overpass 40 feet above a busy freeway in downtown Seattle at 2:45 a.m. It turned out to be the perfect place to determine who had more strength and endurance. Whoever could dangle from the overpass the longest would win! Unfortunately, the winner was too tired from his victory to climbback up, despite help from his friend. The unidentified championfell smack into traffic below. Cartoon Art: http://darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin2005-13.html
HAMMER OF DOOM -- Darwin Award -- Confirmed August brings us a winner from Brazil, who tried to disassemble a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) by driving back and forth over it with a car. This technique was ineffective, so he escalated to pounding the RPGwith a sledgehammer. The second try worked--in a sense. The explosion proved fatal to one man, six cars, and the repair shop wherein the efforts took place. 14 more RPGs were found in a car parked nearby. Police believe the ammunition was being scavenged to sell as scrap metal. If it wasn't scrap then, it certainly is now! Reference: Odia (Brazil), msnbc.com, UK Daily Mail.
HELMET HEAD -- Honorable Mention -- Confirmed 12 August 2006 An Indiana man grabbed a roll of duct tape, fastened a large mortar-style firework to his football helmet, and lit the fuse. Astoundingly, the 21-year-old survived this party stunt with a concussion and burns. His helmet, however, was destroyed. Reference: wsbt.com, AP.
SNAKE IN THE GRASS -- Honorable Mention -- Confirmed This Honorable Mention goes to the hiker in Scotland who picked up a grass snake so his brother could take a picture. Just as he reached for it, a black serpent slithered into view, so he grabbed that too. It was a black adder, Britain's only venomous snake. Both reptiles sank their fangs into the 44-year-old, who went into anaphylactic shock. He recovered in the hospital. His excuse for his rash act? He didn't think venomous snakes inhabited Scotland. Reference: The Scotsman.
STEVE IRWIN, Crocodile HunterFebruary 1962 -- September 2006 "Crikey!" Steve's dangerous animal antics bordered on insane, yet Man's spirit to achieve greatness is linked to risk taking, and Steve excelled at taking risks to further his passion for wildlife. We regret his passing. He made a difference. Words from a California Naturalist and Aquarium Collector: http://DarwinAwards.com/media/SteveIrwin.html