Archive for July, 2005

2005 Darwin Awards (July)

2005 Darwin Awards
as of July 2005

1. When his 38-calibre revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked….

And now, the honourable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat-cutting machine and, after a little hopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of it’s men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and lost a finger. The chef’s claim was approved.

3. A man who shovelled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies.The deception wasn’t discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, he told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer…$15. (If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?)

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he’d just throw a cinderblock through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinderblock and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinderblock bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and droveback to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, “Yes, officer, that’s her. That’s the lady I stole the purse from.”

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 5 a.m., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn’t open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren’t available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.


10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home’s sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he’d ever had.

2004 Darwin Awards


Hard to believe, but another year has passed. Once again, it’s time for the Darwin Award Nominees. The Darwins are awarded every year to the person who died in the most stupid manner, thereby removing himself or herself from the gene pool.
The nine 2003-2004 nominees:

Nominee No. 1: [San Jose Mercury News]: An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former girlfriend’s windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut.

Nominee No. 2: [Kalamazoo Gazette]: James Burns, 34, (a mechanic) of Alamo, MI, was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police describe as a “farm-type truck.” Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung underneath so that he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns’ clothes caught on something, however, and the other man found Burns “wrapped in the drive shaft!”

Nominee No. 3: [Hickory Daily Record]: Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, NC. Awakening to the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith & Wesson 38 Special, which discharged when he drew it to his ear. (For whatever reason, residents of Southern states always seem to figure prominently among the Darwin nominees.)

Nominee No. 4: [UPI, Toronto]: Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of the plate glass windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the building’s windows to visiting law students.Hoy previously had conducted similar demonstrations of window strength, according to police Peter Lawson, managing partner of the firmHolden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was “one of the best and brightest” attorneys in the 200-lawyer partnership.

Nominee No. 5: [Bloomberg News Service]: A terrible diet and a room with no ventilation are being blamed for the death of a man who was killed by his own gas emissions. There was no mark on his body, and an autopsy showed large amounts of methane gas in his system. His diet had consisted primarily of beans and cabbage (and a couple of other things). It was just the right combination of foods. It appears that the man died in his sleep from breathing the poisonous cloud that was hanging over his bed. Had he been outside or had his windows been opened, it wouldn’t have been fatal. But the man was shut up in his nearly-airtight bedroom. According to the article, “He was a big man with a huge capacity for creating “this deadly gas.” Three of the rescuers got sick, and one was hospitalized.

Nominee No. 6: [The News of the Weird]: Michael Anderson Godwin made News of the Weird posthumously. He had spent several years awaiting South Carolina’s electric chair on a murder conviction before having his sentence reduced to life in prison. While sitting on a metal toilet in his cell attempting to fix his small TV set, he bit into a wire and was electrocuted.

Nominee No. 7: [The Indianapolis Star]: A cigarette lighter may have triggered a fatal explosion in Dunkirk, IN. A Jay County man, using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzle loader, was killed Monday night when the weapon discharged in his face, sheriff’s investigators said. Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parents’ rural Dunkirk home at about 11:30 PM. Investigators said Pryor was cleaning a .54-caliber muzzle-loader that had not been firing properly. He was using the lighter to look into the barrel when the gunpowder ignited.

Nominee No. 8: [Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario]: A man cleaning a bird feeder on the balcony of his condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his death. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheeled chair when the accident occurred, said Inspector D’Arcy Honer of the Peel Regional Police. “It appears that the chair moved, and he went over the balcony,” Honer said.

Finally, THE WINNER! [Arkansas Democrat Gazette]: Two local men were injured when their pickup truck left the road and struck a tree near Cotton Patch on State Highway 38 early one Monday. Thurston Poole, 33, of Des Arc, and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, of Little Rock, were returning to Des Arc after a frog-gigging trip. On an overcast Sunday night, Poole’s pickup truck headlights malfunctioned. The two men concluded that the headlight fuse on the older-model truck had burned out. A replacement fuse was not available, but Wallis noticed that the .22 caliber bullet from his pistol fit perfectly into the fuse box next to the steering-wheel column. Upon inserting the bullet the headlights again began to operate properly, and the two men proceeded eastbound toward the White River Bridge. After traveling approximately 20 miles, and just before crossing the river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged, and struck Poole in the testicles. The vehicle swerved sharply right, exiting the pavement and striking a tree. Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the accident, but will require extensive surgery to repair the damage to his testicles, which will never operate as intended. Wallis sustained a broken clavicle and was treated and released. “Thank God we weren’t on that bridge when Thurston shot his balls off, or we might both be dead,” stated Wallis. “I’ve been a trooper for 10 years in this part of the world, but this is a first for me. I can’t believe that those two would admit how this accident happened,” said the investigating officer. On being notified of the wreck, Lavinia Poole (Poole’s wife) asked how many frogs the boys had caught and whether anyone had gotten them from the truck.
(Note: Though Poole and Wallis did not die as a result of their misadventure as normally required by Darwin Award Official Rules, it can be argued that Poole did nonetheless effectively remove himself from the gene pool.)

Worlds Easiest Quiz

(Passing requires only 4 correct answers)

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?

2) Which country makes Panama hats?

3) From which animal do we get cat gut?

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

5) What is a camel’s hair brush made of?

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?

7) What was King George VI’s first name?

8) What color is a purple finch?

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

All done? Check your answers below.


1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?

*116 years

2) Which country makes Panama hats?


3) From which animal do we get cat gut?

*Sheep and Horses

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?


5) What is a camel’s hair brush made of?

*Squirrel fur

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?


7) What was King George VI’s first name?


8) What color is a purple finch?


9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

*New Zealand

10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

*Orange, of course.

Quip This

So I have spent a large portion of my spare time of late converting all the old pages from the Online Journal into text that I can paste into here. That is why the long list of dates at the right hand side of your screen has been getting increasingly longer. It does camouflage the fact that I am new to the blog thing, however it also gives me a unique way of searching and editing my old entries. I could not help, of course, noticing things about my growth as a writer and about my transformation as a person since I started this online thing some 8 years ago now.

Point is, I SUCK.

I didn’t used to but nowadays it is just truly pathetic this drivel that I push forth. I am not surprised that my readership disappeared long ago, and in fact I can probably pinpoint the time they did. It was about the time I stopped writing about the world around me and started focussing direclty on myself. It was coincidentally the time I met Nicole, around the time I lost Shadow, my longtime companion and just before the time my back finally put me under the surgeons knife.

Since then, which has been approximately 2 1/2 to 3 years ago now, my writing has been contrived, forced and without any of the passion and humour that used to bleed from it’s ragged edges. It has gone frombeing a 3 dimensional wonderland to being a faded photo of a life once celebrated but long since neglected.

I have written a great deal about my physical pain, and I am certain that a great deal of the changes in my personality have been a direct result of that chronic suffering. However, it is about time that I focus on something else. I recall back in the beginning I used to come up with such positive and hopeful entries filled with motivation and life… I also read some of the quotes I used from back then and some of them made my heart sink. Only for the reason that I realize just how far I have fallen from myself and how sad that must be for the people who have known me and who now have to suffer me rather than share my life with me.

So enough is enough. I am going to try to unleash the devil inside me and once more lift my head, straighten my back and cast my gaze upon the wonders of the world rather than living too tightly inside my own skin.

Oh and one other thing… You can tell I am stretching and failing when each entry ends with a contrived little quip.

So quip this, I am back, baby!


Well, after at least 4 houses and endless amounts of good intention I have finally managed to get a floor installed and FINISHED in a basement. It’s all fine and good to say that we have a gym in the basement (another project literally years in the making) but it is entirely another to say that the basement floor is finished!

Well. Not quite finished per se, because we now have to pick an underlay and a carpet to go down there but that is just icing on the cake. It is hard to believe in a way that something so huge as far as projects go is finally done, but on the other hand, I can’t believe it took so damn long!

Also, that was not the big news of the weekend, the really exciting part was seeing Nicole take part in her first official 5K run around Fairy Lake in Newmarket. Granted, she can run 5K without batting an eyelid, however this was the first time she had officially participated. The result was that she came 61st overall, 16th in the Female category and 3rd of 19 in her age group. It was a real treat to see her so pleased with herself and we decided that this was something we were going to fill our summer doing. That and finishing parts of the house. And trying to flip houses for profit. And fluffing cottages for money. And working out. And getting more gymnastics qualifications. And scrapbooking…

We actually did a lot this weekend, even though it was merely a 2 day weekend, which is hardly enough given the fact that we have to work 5 days… Who came up with that ratio anyway? We put up a curtain in the scrappy room, watered the lawn, I threw lots of stuff out into the clothing donations box at Home Hardware and did a huge cleanup and organization stint in the garage. In addition, I vacuumed the basment and FINISHED THE FLOOR!!!