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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 16 october 1998

The Gecko: 16 october 1998

The Gecko: 16 october 1998

Back by popular demand!

Two more runners-up have surfaced for this year's Darwin Award.

Animal rights activists should be advised: reading the following may be

hazardous to your health.

* In Pennsylvania, USA a group of men were drinking

beer and discharging firearms from the rear deck of a home owned by Irving

Michaels, 27. The men were firing at a raccoon that was wandering by, but

the beer apparently impaired their aim and, despite an estimated 35 shots,

the animal escaped down a 3-foot-wide drainage pipe.

Determined to terminate the animal, Michaels poured gasoline down the pipe

intending to smoke the racoon out. After several unsuccessful attempts to

ignite the fuel Michaels poured five more gallons down the pipe but failed

to ignite it again.

Not one to admit defeat, Michaels proceeded to slide feet-first 15 feet

down the sloping pipe to toss a match. The subsequent rapidly expanding

fireball propelled Michaels back the way he came.

He exited the pipe "like a polaris missle leaves a submarine,"

according to witness Joe McFadden.

Michaels was launched over his own home onto his front lawn. In all, he

traveled 200 feet through the air. "There was a Doppler Effect to his

scream as he flew over us," McFadden reported.

Amazingly, he suffered only minor injuries. "It was actually pretty

cool," Michaels said. "Like when they shoot someone out of a cannon

at the circus.

"I'd do it again if I was sure I wouldn't get hurt."

There was no word on what happened to the racoon.

* Earlier this year, the dazed crew of a Japanese

trawler were plucked out of the Sea of Japan clinging to the wreckage of

their sunken ship.

Their rescue, however, was followed by immediate imprisonment once authorities

questioned the sailors on their ship's loss.

To a man they claimed that a cow, falling from out of the clear blue sky,

had struck the trawler amidships, shattering its hull and sinking the vessel

within minutes.

They remained in prison for several weeks, until the Russian Air Force reluctantly

informed Japanese authorities that the crew of one of its cargo planes had

apparently stolen a cow wandering at the edge of a Siberian airfield, forced

the cow into the plane's hold and hastily taken off for home.

Unprepared for live cargo, the Russian crew was ill-equipped to manage a

now rampaging cow within its hold.

To save the aircraft and themselves, they shoved the animal out of the cargo

hold as they crossed the Sea of Japan at an altitude of30,000 feet.

Authorities are convinced the cow died.

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