The recently concluded Olympics included a few of the more obscure athletic endeavors (such as dressage for horses and steeplechase for humans), but U.S. colleges compete in even less-heralded "sports," such as wood chopping, rock climbing, fishing and broomball. The University of Alabama, 2015 national football champions, also dominates in the 280-school bass-fishing competition, and New York's Paul Smith College's 5,000-student campus raucously cheers its championship log-splitting team (against seven other schools). And Ohio State whipped another football powerhouse, Nebraska, in ice-based broomball.
Why? Because we can
We now have computer or cellphone apps to, for example, analyze the quality of one's tongue-kissing; alert you when your zipper is inadvertently down; make a refrigerator also be a stereo and photo album; notify you when you need to drink more water; check the male-female ratio at local bars so, if you're on the prowl, you can plan your evening efficiently; and reveal whether your partner has had someone else in bed while you were away (via differential contours of the mattress). And then, in August, the creators of the new "South Park" virtual reality game announced that they had figured out how to release a "fart" smell that is crucial to game-players when they put on the VR mask.
Inexplicable: Pizza Hut announced in August that it had finally mastered the technology to turn its cardboard delivery boxes into customers' workable disk-jockey turntables and will make them available shortly in five stores in the United Kingdom. (Each box has two record decks, a cross-fader, pitch and cue controls, and the ability to rewind.) Music stars P Money and DJ Vectra are featured, and the boxes will sync via Bluetooth to phones and computers.
Lame alert: Steven Scholz was sued for $255,000 in Oregon City, Ore., in July after he allegedly fired on a family's house (15 gunshots) and traumatized their young son inside. Scholz explained that he thought the biblical rapture had just occurred and that he was the only survivor.
In July, Ryan Bundy (a leader of the Malheur federal land occupation protest in Oregon in January), exercising his philosophy as a "sovereign," wrote his judge that he rejects the federal court's jurisdiction over him in his upcoming trial, but that he would agree to cooperate — provided the government pays him $1 million cash. Bundy (who signs court documents "i; ryan c., man") said for that sum, he would act as "defendant" — or, as a bonus, if the judge prefers, as "bailiff," or even as "judge." (Bundy's lawyer, not surprisingly, is Bundy.)
People with too much money have been reported over the years to have paid enormous sums for "prestigious" license plates, usually the lowest-numbered. In China, the number 8 is regarded as lucky, and a man identified only as "Liu" obtained Shanghai province's plate "88888" — for which he paid the equivalent of $149,000. Shanghaiist.com reported in June that "Lucky" Liu was forced into annoying traffic stops by police eight times the first day because officers were certain that the plate was bogus.
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