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Two entries for the 1997 Darwin Awards

     In rural Carbon County, PA, a group of men were drinking beer and
discharging firearms from the rear deck of a home owned by Irving Michaels,
age 27.  The men were firing at a raccoon that was wandering by, but the
beer apparently impaired their aim and, despite the estimated 35 shots the
group fired, the animal escaped into a 3 foot diameter drainage pipe some
100 feet away from Mr. Michaels' deck.

Determined to terminate the animal, Mr. Michaels retrieved a can of gasoline
and poured some down the pipe, intending to smoke the animal out. After
several unsuccessful attempts to ignite the fuel,  Michaels emptied the
entire 5 gallon fuel can down the pipe and tried to ignite it again, to no
avail. Not one to admit defeat by wildlife, the determined Mr. Michaels
proceeded to slide feet-first approximately 15 feet down the sloping pipe to
toss the match.  The subsequent rapidly expanding fireball propelled Mr.
Michaels back the way he had come, though at a much higher rate of speed. He
exited the angled pipe "like a Polaris missile leaves a submarine,"
according to witness Joseph McFadden, 31.  Mr. Michaels was launched
directly over his own home, right over the heads of his astonished friends,
onto his front lawn.

In all, he traveled over 200 feet through the air.  "There was a Doppler
Effect to his scream as he flew over us," McFadden reported, "followed by a
loud thud." 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."

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 out of a 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
of 30,000 feet.

          "Moooooooo!"     (Thud.)       (Splash.)