The Gilgit tribe beat Chitral, 9-6, this year in the annual, bloody, take-no-prisoners, referee-less polo match on a remote, two-mile-high field on a mountain in Pakistan, an event that, despite its viciousness, some observers credit with forestalling actual war between the tribes. According to a May dispatch in ESPN The Magazine, clubbing of opponents is rampant. And when a star player was thrown and landed on his head, motionless and thought perhaps even to be dead, fans screamed for him to be cleared from the field quickly so the match could continue. He only had a broken neck and concussion.
UNIQUE RESPONSES TO DANGER
In May, just after bird flu was discovered in Ivory Coast, hundreds of young people flocked to Abidjan’s nightclubs to taunt the disease with a new dance imitating a chicken in the throes of death, according to a Reuters dispatch (“leaning backward, shaking [the] wrists, arms and legs… with a loud clucking sound”).
In May, a U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled that Scott Panetti remains eligible for execution in Texas despite his delusional and schizoaffective disorders and the opinion of one law professor that Panetti is the “gold-plated craziest” death-row inmate he’d ever seen. Charged with murder after having been drug-addicted since childhood and in mental institutions 14 times, Panetti was nonetheless permitted by his trial judge to act as his own lawyer. After employing a “strategy” of claiming to be under the control of a “Sarge Ironhorse,” he lost.
CAKE, ICE CREAM AND JIM LEHRER
Troy and Jennifer Schally disclosed in June that their son Henry had chosen, among several possibilities as the theme for his third birthday party, PBS’s NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, and the Schallys supplied a birthday cake with a photo of the show’s correspondents and a periodic playing of its theme music. According to a Washington Post report, Lehrer sent along an autographed photo, signed in the name Henry calls him, “Jimmy Jimmy BoBo.”
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
William Collins, 37, was arrested in Baldwin Place, N.Y., in June and charged with DUI even though his car wasn’t moving. According to police, Collins was passed out drunk in the driver’s seat of the locked car, in “park,” with his body positioned so that the gas pedal was depressed, causing the engine to race and start to overheat. Collins was so unresponsive that only when police broke a window did he awaken and notice them.
THE MARCH OF SCIENCE
Researchers from the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center announced in May that they had grown a fully functional, artificial penis from a rabbit—using his own genes—which they hoped would lead to future development of a human penis, for men with birth defects, body trauma or cancer. And Ambreed New Zealand introduced in June a go-cart-like machine for ranchers to gather sperm from bulls. A driver maneuvers the vehicle, designed to resemble a cow, so that the bull can mount it. The driver waits patiently until the bull is done and then drives away with the sperm. MTW