Work in the media? Struggle with statistics? Stan's irreverent (and often irrelevant) review of the latest media reports, news and gossip may not help at all...
Stan # 38: More Darwin awards
One of the long awaited moments of each new year is the awarding of the Darwin Award. This prestigious award recognises those people, who through
stupid and inane actions kill themselves, thus improving society by removing their genes from the gene pool. So here are the runners-up for this year's
(15 July 1999, Alabama) A 25-year-old soldier died of injuries sustained from a 3-story fall, precipitated by his attempt to spit farther than his
buddy. His plan was to hurl himself towards a metal guard-rail while expectorating, in order to add momentum to his saliva. In a tragic miscalculation,
his momentum carried him right over the railing, which he caught hold of for a few moments before his grip slipped, sending him plummeting 24 feet to
the cement below. The military specialist had a blood alcohol content of 0.14%, impairing his judgement and paving the way for his opportunity to win a
(11 August 1999) A 42-year-old man killed himself watching the eclipse while driving near Kaiserslautern, Germany. A witness driving behind him stated
that the man was weaving back and forth as he accelerated and hit the bridge pier. He had apparently just donned his solar viewers, which are dark
enough to totally obscure everything except the sun
(25 May 1999, Ukraine) A fisherman in Kiev electrocuted himself while fishing in the river Tereblya. The 43-year-old man connected cables to the main
power supply of his home, and trailed the end into the river. The electric shock killed the fish, which floated belly-up to the top of the water. The
man waded in to collect his catch, neglecting to remove the live wire, and tragically suffered the same fate as the fish. In an ironic twist, the man
was fishing for a mourning meal to commemorate the first anniversary of his mother-in-law's death.
(16 August 1999, Germany) A hunter from Bad Urach was shot dead by his own dog on Monday. The 51-year-old man was found sprawled next to his car in the
Black Forest. A gun barrel was pointing out the window, and his bereaved dog was howling inside the car. The animal is presumed to have pressed the
trigger with its paw. Police have ruled out foul play.
(1999, Nicosia, Cyprus) Under similar circumstances, an Iranian hunter was shot to death near Tehran by a snake that coiled around his shotgun as he
pinned the reptile to the ground. Another hunter reported that the victim, named Ali, tried to catch the snake alive by pressing the butt of his
shotgun behind its head. The snake coiled around the butt and pulled the trigger, shooting Ali in the head.
(August 1999, Australia) Drinking oneself to death need not be a long lingering process. Allan, a 33-year-old computer technician, showed his
competitive spirit by dying of competitive spirits. A Sydney, Australia hotel bar held a drinking competition, known as Feral Friday, with a 100-minute
time limit and a sliding point scale ranging from 1 point for beer to 8 points for hard liquor. Allan stood and cheered his winning total of 236,
(winners never quit!) which had also netted him the literally staggering blood alcohol level of 0.353, 7 times greater than Australia's legal driving
limit of 0.05 percent. After several trips to the usual temple of over indulgence, the bathroom, Allan was helped back to his workplace to sleep it off, a
condition that became permanent. A forensic pharmacologist estimated that after downing 34 beers, 4 bourbons, and 17 shots of tequila within 1 hour and
40 minutes, his blood alcohol level would have been 0.41 to 0.43, but Allan had vomited several times after the drinking stopped. The cost paid by
Allan was much higher than that of the hotel, which was fined the equivalent of 13,100 US dollars for not intervening. It is not known whether Allan
required any further embalming.
(28 January 1999, London) A flock of sheep charged a well-meaning British farmer's wife and pushed her over a cliff to her death. Betty Stobbs, 67, was
charged by dozens of sheep as she brought them a bale of hay on the back of a power bike. The sheep rushed forward and rammed the vehicle, knocking
Betty and her bike over the edge of a vacant 100ft quarry near Durham, in north-eastern England. "I saw the sheep surround the bike. The next thing she
was tumbling down the incline," neighbour Alan Renfry told reporters.
First Runner Up Award goes to ...
(22 March 1999, Phnom Penh) Decades of armed strife has littered Cambodia with unexploded munitions and ordnance. Authorities warn citizens not to
tamper with the devices. Three friends recently spent an evening sharing drinks and exchanging insults at a local cafe in the south-eastern province of
Svay Rieng. Their companionable arguing continued for hours, until one man pulled out a 25-year-old unexploded anti-tank mine found in his backyard. He
tossed it under the table, and the three men began playing Russian roulette, each tossing down a drink and then stamping on the mine. The other
villagers fled in terror. Minutes later, the explosive detonated with a tremendous boom, killing the three men in the bar. "Their wives could not even
find their flesh because the blast destroyed everything," the Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper reported.
And the 1999 Darwin Award winner is.....
(5 September 1999, Jerusalem) The switch away from daylight savings time caused consternation among terrorist groups this year. At precisely 5:30
Israel time on Sunday, two co-ordinated car bombs exploded in different cities, killing three terrorists who were transporting the bombs. It was
initially believed that the devices had been detonated prematurely by klutzy amateurs. A closer look revealed the truth behind the untimely explosions.
Three days before, Israel had made a premature switch from daylight savings time to standard time in order to accommodate a week of Slihot, involving
pre-sunrise prayers. Palestinians refused to "live on Zionist time." Two weeks of scheduling havoc ensued. The bombs had been prepared in a
Palestine-controlled area, and set on Daylight Savings time. The confused drivers had already switched to standard time. As a result, the cars were
still en-route when the explosives detonated, delivering to the terrorists their well-deserved demise.