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 1998.
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 1998 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.