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Draliman’s Crazy Facts

Welcome, surfers of the Interweb! This is the first of a new series in which we investigate some of the world’s crazier events and attempt to answer some tricky questions.

1) Fastest 400m sprint


Mr Littlehands - no TARDIS required

The fastest time for a 400m sprint is claimed by Nigel Minihands of the sleepy rustic village of Little Chigglewood, in the year 1972. According to parish records, while the other runners raced off as the starting pistol fired, Mr Minihands merely jogged off, smiling and waving his hands. He claims that he ran so fast he travelled back in time and finished before anyone else had started.

Obviously, the other runners disputed this, but the judging panel was in two minds, being unable to prove things either way. While Mr Minihands attempted to blind the judges with science, the other runners shouted insults from the back of the room and pelted him with fairy cakes and miniature pasties. Sensing that the situation was beginning to turn nasty, and realising that the only remaining ammunition was Mrs Wilbur’s prize-winning trifle (a favourite among the judging panel), the judges came down on the side of the other runners and Sam Diggle was awarded gold.

Nigel Minihands, now in his 60s, disputes the judgment to this day.

2) The Leaning Tower of Pisa – but is it?

Everyone has heard of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. However, a little-known scientific study, conducted by Alberto Pizzeria in 1981, casts doubt on the common perception that it is the tower which is leaning. He postulated that the tower is actually standing straight and proud, and it is the rest of Italy which is actually leaning. In the course of his travels around Italy, he noticed that the sea on one side of Italy appeared to be “higher” than on the other, proving his point. Everyone, from the greatest scientists to a small child he met in Naples, told him that the tide was probably out when he visited the east coast and named him “the biggest idiot in the history of idiots”, but Signore Pizzeria would not listen and continues to gate-crash scientific symposia to this day armed only with his notebook and an unwavering belief that one day everyone will see the truth.

3) A caber toss of champions

McAustin caber toss

Rare archive footage of Steve McAustin's run-up

The caber toss – the ancient Scottish sport of throwing a 68kg tree trunk as far as possible. Contrary to popular belief, the caber toss event is judged for style rather than distance thrown. The caber should remain upright as the athlete runs, spin when thrown and end up pointing straight away from the thrower. It is this that has cast the results of the 1975 Highland Games into question. In fact, the winner has yet be confirmed. The crowd roared in appreciation as various contestants threw the caber 20, 30 feet. Then a late entrant, Mr Steve McAustin visiting his ancestral home from the USA, threw the caber – and it failed to come down. The UK authorities contacted NASA, who confirmed that the caber eventually made land-fall on the Moon but – and this is the vital point – they couldn’t determine the orientation of the caber in relation to Mr McAustin. Therefore, the judges were unable to confirm the winner of the event.

A special mission to the moon, to be financed by Mr McAustin’s friend Mr Goldman, is scheduled for 2015. It is hoped that this will bring the 1975 Highland Games to a close.

  1. June 10, 2013 at 2:13 am

    I am not at the top of the useful brain cell chain and have considered that fact as my biggest regret in life.
    I am embarrassed at times with the stupidity out there that seems to be thriving.

    I feel embarrassed to this day when I recall. an American Rep. to Congress, Hank Johnson questioning Admiral Ronald Willard if Guam would tip over or sink with the addition of troops. He was so serious.
    I rewatched on YouTube hoping to find a smirk or laugh.
    Still takes my breath away.


    • June 10, 2013 at 6:22 am

      That sounds hilarious! I’ll have to try to track it down. And this guy’s in government? Scary.


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