You all know about the Darwin Awards - It's an annual honor given to the person who did the gene pool the biggest service by killing him/herself in the most extraordinarily stupid way. It is once again time to vote for the Darwin Award nominees for 2003.
You may recall last year's Darwin Award winner: The man who found out moments before making a 300 MPH dent in an Arizona cliff that the JATO (jet assisted take off) unit he'd strapped to his car could not be turned off once it was turned on. 1994's winner was the fellow who was killed by a Coke machine which toppled on top of him as he was attempting to tip a free soda out of it.
The 2003 Nominees are:
(# 1) Los Angeles, CA. Ani Saduki, 33, and his brother decided to remove a bees nest from a shed on their property with the aid of a pineapple.
A pineapple is an illegal firecracker which is the explosive equivalent of one-half stick of dynamite. They ignited the fuse and retreated to watch from inside their home, behind a window some 10 feet away from the hive/shed.
The concussion of the explosion shattered the window inwards, seriously lacerating Ani. Deciding Mr. Saduki need stitches, the brothers headed out to go to a nearby hospital. While walking towards their car, Ani was stung three times by the surviving bees. Unbeknownst to either brother, Ani was allergic to bee venom, and died of suffocation enroute to the hospital.
(# 2) A Queensland, Australia man, 63, and his female companion, 64, were driving along the Newell Highway near Moree, in Northwestern New South Wales, on Wednesday night, police said. Their car crashed into The side of a fully laden, 600 meter long train at a level crossing .
The vehicle became wedged between the second last and last carriages And was dragged sideways beside the track as the train continued towards Moree, a police spokeswoman said. After being carried more than a kilometer and a half, they approached an unfenced bridge with a 10 meter drop, the spokeswoman said. Moments before they reached the precipice, the car was struck by a pylon, dislodged from the train and spun several times.
When it came to rest, the pair managed to free themselves from the wreck with minor bruising and the man set off along the railway line for help. But he slipped on the bridge and fell to his death.
(# 3) Derrick L. Richards, 28, was charged in April in Minneapolis with third-degree murder in the death of his beloved cousin, Kenneth E. Richards.
According to police, Derrick suggested a game of Russian roulette and put a semiautomatic pistol (instead of the more traditional revolver) to Ken's head and fired.
(# 4) Phillipsburg, NJ. An unidentified 29 year old male choked to death on a sequined pastie he had orally removed from an exotic dancer at a local establishment. "I didn't think he was going to eat it," the dancer identified only as "Ginger" said, adding "He was really drunk."
(# 5) In February, according to police in Windsor, Ont., Daniel Kolta, 27, and Randy Taylor, 33, died in a head-on collision, thus earning a tie in the game of chicken they were playing with their snowmobiles.
(# 6) MOSCOW, Russia. A drunk security man asked a colleague at the Moscow bank they were guarding to stab his bullet-proof vest to see if It would protected him against a knife attack. It didn't, and the 25-year-old guard died of a heart wound. (It's good to see the Russians getting into the spirit of the Darwin Awards.)
NOMINEE # 7(San Jose Mercury News)
An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former girlfriends windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a whole in his abdomen.
NOMINEE # 8 (Kalamazoo Gazette)
James Burns, 34, of Alamo,Mich., was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police described as a "Farm 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 up in the the driveshaft".
NOMINEE # 9 (Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario)
A man cleaning a bird feeder on the balcony of his condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb, slipped and fell 23 floors to his death while he was standing on a chair with wheels. "It appears the chair moved and he went over the balcony. It's one of those freak accidents. No foul play is suspected" (get it?)
NOMINEE # 10(Hickory Daily Record )
Ken Charles Barger,47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, N.C., when, 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.
NOMINEE # 11 (UPI, Toronto)
Police said a Lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown skyscraper crashed through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A Police spokesman said Gary Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the buildings windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously had conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter Lauwers, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest" members of the 200-man association. (My personal favorite)
NOMINEE # 12 (AP, Cairo, Egypt)
Six people drowned Monday while trying to rescue a chicken that had fallen into a well in southern Egypt. An 18 year old farmer was the first to descend into the 60 foot well. He drowned, apparently after an undercurrent in the water pulled him down, police said. His sister and two brothers, none of whom could swim well, went in one by one to help him, but also drowned. Two elderly farmers then came to help, but they apparently were pulled by the same undercurrent. The bodies of the six were later pulled out of the well in the village of Nazlat Imara, 240 miles south of Cairo.
The chicken was pulled out. It survived. NOMINEE # 13 (Bloomburg News Service, 25 March)
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. There was no mark on his body but autopsy showed large amounts of methane gas in his system. His diet had consisted of beans and cabbage (and a couple of other things). It was just the right combination of foods. It appears 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 near airtight bedroom. 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 # 14 ( San Jose Mercury News)
A 24 yr old salesman from Hialeah, Fla., was killed near Lantana, Fla., in March when his car smashed into a pole in the median strip of I-95 in the middle of the afternoon. Police said that the man was travelling at 80 MPH and, judging by the sales manual that was found open and clutched to his chest, had been busy reading.
NOMINEE # 15 (Reuters,Warsaw, Poland)
A poacher electocuting fish in a lake in central Poland fell into the water and suffered the same fate as his quarry, police said Thursday. The 24-year- old man was one of four who went fishing with a cable, one end of which they attached to a net and the other to a high-voltage electricity supply line, The PAP news agency quoted a police official in Wloclawek as saying. "For a while everything went according to the poachers' plan and they had fish in their bags. But at a certain moment the man holding the net tripped and fell into the water," the agency said. The other poachers tried in vain to revive him, it said.
NOMINEE # 16 (AP, St. Louis)
Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being disorderly in a St. Louis market. When the clerk threatened to call police, Puelo grabbed a hot dog, shoved it in his mouth, and walked out without paying for it. Police found him unconscious in front of the store: Paramedics removed the six inch wiener from his throat, where it had choked him to death.
NOMINEE # 17 (unknown)
The poacher Marino Malerba, who shot a stag standing above him on a overhanging rock and was killed instantly when it fell on him.
NOMINEE # 18 (Associated Press, Kincaid, W. Virginia)
A man at a party popped a blasting cap into his mouth and bit down, triggering an explosion that blew off his lips, teeth, and tongue, state police said Wednesday.
Jerry Stromyer, 24, of Kincaid, bit the blasting cap as a prank during a party late Tuesday night, said Cpl M. D. Payne. "Another had it in an aquarium, hooked to a battery, and was trying to explode it," Payne said. "It wouldn't go off and this guy said, I'll show you how to set it off. "I just can't imagine anyone doing something like that," Payne said.
NOMINEE # 19 (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
In December near Mineral wells, TX., three men who were attempting to steal copper wire off live electrical lines for resale were electrocuted. Copper wiring is valuable scrap metal in Texas, but is usually stolen from electric cables that are not being used.
The following are Honorable Mention's, mainly because they have, so far, survived their own stupidity:
H-M # 1 (UPI, Portland, OR.)
Doctors at Portlands University Hospital said Wednesday an Oregon man shot through the skull by a hunting arrow is lucky to be alive, and will be released soon from the hospital. Tony Roberts, 25, lost his right eye last weekend during an initiation into a men's rafting club "Mountain Men Anonymous", in Grants Pass, OR.
A friend tried to shoot a beer can off his head, but the arrow entered Roberts' right eye. Doctors said had the arrow gone 1 millimeter to the left, a major blood vessel wouild have been cut and Roberts would have died instantly. Neurosurgeon Dr. Johnny Delashaw at the University Hospital in Portland said the arrow went through 8 to 10 inches of brain, with the tip protruding at the rear of his skull, yet somehow managed to miss all major blood vessels. Delashaw also said that had Roberts tried to pull the arrow out on his own he surely would have killed himself.
Roberts admitted afterwards he and his friends had been drinking that afternoon. Said Roberts, "I feel so dumb about this." No charges have been filled but the Josephine County District Attorney's office said the initiation stunt is under investigation.
H-M # 2 (Calgary Sun, 12-28-96)
A man arguing over a love triangle accidentally shot himself in the groin taking off his (well, dismembering himself). Police said the man was waving a .357 Magnum revolver around during the shouting match early yesterday. But when he stuffed it back into his pants the gun went off.
Police were called to the hospital after the man in his 20's was brought in by friends. Charges are pending against the victim, who is expected to survive.
H-M # 3 (Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 7-25-96)
Two local men were seriously injured when their pickup truck left the road and struck a tree near Cotton Patch, AR., on State Highway 38 early Monday morning. Woodruff County Deputy Dovey Snyder reported the accident shortly after midnight Monday. Thurston Poole, 33, of Des Arc and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, of Little Rock, are listed in serious condition at Baptist Medical Center.
The accident occured as the two men 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. As a replacement fuse was not available, Wallis noticed that the .22 caliber bullet from his pistol fit perfectly into his fuse box next to the steering wheel column. Upon inserting the bullet, the headlights began to operate properly and the two men proceeded on eastbound toward the White River Bridge. After travelling approximately twenty miles and just before crossing the river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged and struck Poole in the right testicle. The vehicle swerved sharply to the right exiting the pavement and striking a tree. Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the accident, but will require surgery to repair the other wound. Wallis sustained a broken clavicle and was treated and released. "Thank God we weren't on that bridge when Thurston shot his ____ off or we might both be dead" stated Wallis