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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

Mmm.... Sewage

The 2005 Darwin Awards are here. I found this one suitably gross so as to merit space on my blog, so here is the "Five-Star Stupidity Award Winner":

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.

This is another one from this year, a brilliant tribute to human ingenuity under pressure. I'm not sure it merits a Darwin, since the offending idiot survived, but I'm sure it says something about the state of the mental health system in Zimbabwe:

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.

But neither of these hold a candle to the hilarious winner of the 1999 Darwin:

A 39-year-old Charlottesville man died Thursday in a freak accident involving his washing machine. According to police reports, Samuel Randolph Strickson was doing laundry when he tried to speed up the process. Strickson apparently tried to stuff approximately 50 pounds of laundry into his washing machine by climbing on top of the washer and attempting to force the clothing into the basin. Strickson then apparently accidentally kicked the washing machine's ON button. When the machine turned on, Strickson lost his balance and both feet went down into the machine, where they got stuck. The machine started its cycle, and Strickson, unable to free himself, started thrashing around as the machine's agitator went into gear. Strickson's head banged against a nearby shelf in the laundry room, knocking over a bottle of bleach, which poured over Strickson's face, blinding him. Forensic reports say Strickson apparently also swallowed some of the bleach. He then vomited, but was still unable to free himself. Strickson's dog, then apparently came into the laundry room. At about the sametime, according to police, a large box of baking soda fell from the shelf, startling the dog, who then urinated. Urine, like vinegar, is acidic, and the chemical reaction between the urine and the baking soda resulted in "a small explosion," according to police reports. The dog, however, escaped unharmed. Strickson remained stuck in the washing machine, which eventually went into its high speed spin cycle, spinning Strickson around at about 70 miles per hour, according to forensic experts. Strickson's head then smashed against a steel beam behind the washing machine, immediately killing him. A neighbor heard the commotion and called 911, but Strickson was pronounced dead at the scene.

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.