Running With Scissors

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Occam's Razor: 'All things being equal, the correct explanation is the simplest one.'

Darwin's Blade: 'All things being equal, the correct explanation is stupidity.' (from Darwin's Blade by Dan Simmons)

Recently my sister e-mailed me the latest batch of nominees for the Darwin Awards, and I must say the nominees make me proud to be a human being. For those who don't know, the Darwin Awards are given posthumously to those who have improved the gene pool by removing themselves from it. Recipients of the awards display such inventive cluelessness that you can only ponder one of life's enduring mysteries: what on earth were they thinking?

This year's stories involve mostly firearms, flatulence and pickup trucks, though fortunately not all three together. (Apparently methane is toxic. Who knew?) In each case someone did something so spectacularly stupid - using a cigarette lighter to look down the barrel of a shotgun, using a shotgun as a club to smash the windshield of an ex-girlfriend's car - that it's surprising he lived as long as he did. Long story short, when stupidity meets explosives, things go pancake-shaped in a hurry. However, I was surprised to see that no animals were involved in any of the stories.

'People injured or killed in the Michigan firearms deer season include a Bay City man shot in the leg while trying to photograph his dog holding a rifle, which accidentally went off.' - 28 November 2000 issue of Michigan Live

Previous Darwin Award stories have featured an assortment of critters including dogs and, less frequently, cats. The relative scarcity of cat stories isn't too surprising. A dog looks at you and thinks: 'My hero!' A cat looks at you and thinks: 'Nincompoop.'

The cat has a point. Judging from all the mystery novels in which a cat is instrumental in solving the case, humans can't reason their way out of an empty kitty litter pan. My ailurophile friends are of two minds about these stories. Some love them; the rest think the authors have gotten into the catnip. Catnip or no, these books are wildly popular and the authors are raking in the dough. There's a lesson here, I suppose.

Hm... The Cat Who Drove a Pickup Truck. That's got 'Best Seller' written all over it, that does.

Speaking of cat news, I recently spotted the following story from Associated Press:

AKRON, Ohio - More stray cats could find their way home under a proposed plan to implant microchips that would electronically identify the cats' owners.

Buying and installing the microchips would cost the city nearly $10,000. The City Council still must approve the legislation.

And here's me thinking that stray cats didn't have homes.

For more proof that some Ohio residents are a few bricks shy of a load, consider this report, also from the Associated Press:

Three livestock exhibitors at last year's Ohio State Fair have been disqualified for allegedly outfitting their Holstein cows with hairpieces.

State Fair inspectors said the three glued or painted hair from another part of the animal or from another animal to create straighter backs on the cows and enhance their appearance in the show ring.

My neighbours are starting to worry me; it'll probably be cosmetic surgery next. In case you think I'm joking, take a look here. Last year, rumours circulated that the just-crowned supreme champion of the Crufts dog show might be disqualified because of suspicions that he'd had a facelift. (The suspicions turned out to be false.)

Anyway, stupidity usually isn't fatal. In fact, the world is full of wildly-successful dopes. Don't believe me? Two words: Britney Spears. Two more words: Jessica Simpson, who stars in the reality TV series The Newlyweds along with her husband Nick Lachey who, maybe not coincidentally, grew up in Ohio. The whole point of the show appears to be proving that Jessica is dumb as a box of rocks. I don't have to tell you that the show is popular...

Hm... The Cat Who Wasn't Britney Spears. Now there's a show I'd love to watch.

Or not. Meow. smiley - cat

Running With Scissors


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