Italy Hosts Miss Chubby Beauty Contest

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31 overweight beauties of Italy competed for the title of “Miss Cicciona“, which translates as Miss Chubby, in the yearly contest of Forcoli.

The only entry condition for Miss Cicciona is related to the weight of the contestants. Women have to be at least 100 kilograms heavy, in order to be admitted. The lucky ones then try to impress the judges by parading in glamorous gowns, or undergarments. The bravest of the women even try striptease routines to gain an edge. The winner doesn’t get a prize, just a boost in self esteem and a huge cake to share with her competitors.

Miss Cicciona was founded to show the beauty of overweight women. Most of them are mocked and humiliated every time they go out in public, and this is a welcome opportunity to actually be proud and feel good about how they look.

This year’s winner of Miss Cicciona was 33-year old Angela Scognamiglio, from Naples. The 170 kilogram heavy beauty said she “felt like she had just won the lottery”.

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Shocking “Meat Is Murder” Protest by PETA

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PETA (People for the Ethic Treatment of Animals) staged some pretty original protests in the past, but its most recent, “Meat Is Murder” was a bit on the shocking size. The event took place July 27th, in Times Square, New York.

PETA demonstrators  acted like packed pieces of meat, the kind you see in most every supermarket, only a lot bloodier. The human meat packs were branded with stickers that read ‘Billions of Animals Are Abused and Violently Killed Because You Eat Meat’. Now doesn’t that make you feel guilty?

I’ll confess I was moved by a few of these protests, but this particular one just managed to gross me out. I think PETA would be much wiser to stop condemning everyone who eats meat, and just militate for the ethical treatment of animals raised for slaughter, before they are sacrificed. To hope everyone will just stop eating meat is just unrealistic, and quite frankly their zero-policy attitude is doing more harm than good.

Let me know if these trays of packed human meat convinced you to stop eating meat. They just made me hungry.

 

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Hemingway Look-Alike Contest Takes Place in Key West

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The island city of Key West has been hosting an Ernest Hemingway  look-alike contest, for the last 20 years. People sporting wool turtle-neck sweaters and white beards try to convince the judges they most resemble the famous writer.

Interestingly enough, Hemingway Day takes place during the month of July, a time when the real Ernest Hemingway wouldn’t have been caught dead in hot Key West. Secondly, during his time spent in the island city, Hemingway was slender man, with black hair and just a small mustache, unlike the contenders of the look-alike contest.

During the Hemingway look-alike contest, competitors have to emulate the late “papa” look of Ernest Hemingway, and are judged by a panel of previous contest winners. This year’s contest took place on July 24, in Sloppy Joe’s bar, the writer’s favorite watering hole.

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The Suzdal Cucumber Festival

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Cucumbers may be just every day vegetables to you, but in the Russian town of Suzdal they are of such importance that they have their own yearly festival.

The first cucumbers were cultivated in the Suzdal area, around 500 years ago, and some locals even consider the popular vegetable inherently Russian. The people here consider cucumbers the most nutritious vegetable in the world, and they use them in thousands of different dishes, from cucumber soups, to cucumber cakes and rolls, and even cucumber drinks. This being of the biggest cucumber producing centers of Russia, you’ll have a hard time finding a household that doesn’t make a living growing cucumbers.

The Suzdal Cucumber Festival takes place every year, in the month of July, during the vegetable harvest. During this event tourists will learn everything there is to know about cucumbers, from hot to grow them to the many different varieties. The region’s most famous entertainers perform different plays relating to cucumbers, and tourists can try the various cucumber delicacies of Suzdal, as well as buy cucumber souvenirs made of clay, wood and other materials.

One of the most important events of the Suzdal Cucumber Festival is the cucumber eating contest, where competitors try to beat the competition by eating as many cucumbers in the set time limit. Judging by the whole atmosphere of the festival, the winner probably receives some cucumbers as the prize.

This year, the Suzdal Cucumber Festival took place on July 24.

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Who Says Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees?

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If your parents are anything like mine, they probably told you money doesn’t grow on trees more than a million times, when you were growing up. Well I can’t wait to show them how wrong they were all those years.

In an attempt to “wake up people’s lazy money”, RaboDirect, an Australian online bank sponsored a special experiment that fulfilled the financial fantasies of hundreds of passers-by – a real-life money tree. The event took place in one of Sydney’s park, where a tree was covered in $5 bills, from its lower branches to the top. People were secretly filmed, to see how they would react to such an unbelievable sight.

Believe it or not, the first 100 or so people who walked by the money tree flat out ignored it. Some of them didn’t even notice there was anything odd about the tree, a group of joggers was to busy running to stop and check it out, and passers-by who did stop to analyze it, just took some photos and left empty handed.

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The Wacky Wooden Tub Race of Ito City

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Every year, since 1956, the Japanese city of Ito has hosted the wooden tub race on Matsukawa River, a fun event that draws competitors and spectators from all around the world.

According to the story, the Japanese women of Ito used wooden tubs and wash boards to clean their laundry at Matsukawa River. When these tools became obsolete, and were about to be replaced by modern washing machines, the people of Ito decided to hang on to their tradition, by starting a tub race along the river. The first wooden tub race was held in 1956, and it’s been organized yearly since then.

Hundreds of people gather on the banks of Matsukawa River, for one of the wackiest competitions in the world. Contestants have to steer the 1 meter in diameter, 30 cm deep, oval-shaped tubs along the 400-meter course, using oars or giant wooden spoons. It sound easy enough, but out-paddling the other contestants without falling out of the tub, is harder that you think.

Another cool fact about the tub race of Ito City is the contestants usually dress up in themed costumes, mostly as geishas and samurai

 

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Chinese Students Set New Ball Juggling Record

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Over 1,000 students from Yanbian University, Northeastern China, have set a new world record for juggling a football, with their feet, of course.

The record breaking event, called “Joy of football, top of the world”, took place on the football stadium of Yanbian University. A total of 1,209 people, all dressed in red t-shirts, managed to juggle a football on their feet, for 10 seconds, at the same time, thus setting a new Guinness record. The previous ball-juggling record was set on July 13, 2009, by 792 participants.

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The Mysterious Scissors Dancers of Peru

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Performed in the central and southern highlands of Peru, the Scissors Dance is a traditional event that tests the physical and spiritual strength of the participants.

Westerners usually regard “La Danza de las Tijeras” as a physical test where two men have to prove their dexterity and resistance to pain, but to the people of the Andes, this dance is a sacred ritual. The dancers, called danzaq, perform difficult stunts and leaps, called atipanakuy, accompanied by the music of a violin, a harp and the sound of the scissors they each hold in their hands. So much about not playing with scissors, right?

The origin of the danzaq and their Scissors Dance is shrouded in mystery, but some anthropologists believe they appeared in 1524, during the rebellion against Spanish colonial rule. According to old Spanish chronicles, Huancas (pre-Hispanic deities) possessed the bodies of indigenous young men, allowing them to perform an impossible-looking dance signaling the return of the Old Gods to vanquish the Christian God of the Spanish. As we all know, that didn’t happen, but the tradition of the Scissors Dance was kept alive by the Andean people.

It’s almost impossible to believe someone can accomplish this kind of acrobatic moves, while handling a pair of scissors made out of two individual sheets of metal, 25 cm each, but the danzaq do much more. To show spiritual superiority, they go through a series of challenges that include sticking sharp objects through their bodies, eating glass or walking on fire. The Scissors Dance is sometimes performed continuously for hours, until one of the competitors proves his superiority.

The best Scissors Dances can be witnessed in Ayacucho, Apurimac, Arequipa, Huancavelica and Lima.

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Shaolin Monk Performs Famous Kung-Fu Flight on Water

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Shi Liliang, a monk from the Southern Shaolin Temple in Quanzhou, has performed the popular kung-fu walk on water.

If you’re a fan of old Chinese kung-fu movies (I know I am), than you must have seen the kung-fu flight on water at least once. A kung-fu master would cross vast stretches of water by making long leaps and barely touching the surface of the water with the tip of their feet. It seemed impossible, and it actually is, but that didn’t stop a Shaolin monk from trying it in real life.

Shi Liliang has been practicing his flight on water for years, and last year he even set a record for the longest walk on water. Using a number of thin planks, loosely tied together, Shi Liliang beat his own record and moved 28.7 meters by quickly running on his toes. Unlike what you see in the movies, he eventually ended up in the water.

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Lithuanian Village Holds Goat Beauty Contest

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Ramygala, a Lithuanian village 150 kilometers from the capital Vilnius, hosted a weird beauty contest to crown the most beautiful goat.

On July 5th, the inhabitants of Ramygala gathered on the outskirts of the village to watch the traditional goat beauty contest held to commemorate the 640th anniversary of the village, which is this year’s capital of Lithuanian culture.

The goat has been the symbol of Ramygala ever since medieval times, and it’s still valued by the locals. A total of 13 goats entered the beauty contest, but only one of them claimed the title of “most beautiful goat in Ramygala”. Grazyolyte, a good-looking white goat, was crowned the winner of the event and made his owner proud.

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Guy Gets Pierced 1,091 Times, Sets World Record

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Aryan Hopkins, a piercing enthusiast from Roseville, California, has set a new world record for the highest number of piercings in one session.

Before you start calling this guy all sorts of things, you should know Aryan Hopkins made this bizarre attempt to raise money for the Shriners Hospital for Children, in Northern California. You have to respect that, if nothing else.

On Saturday, June 26, at the Abstract Ink Tattoo parlor, which Hopkins owns with his wife, piercing enthusiasts as well as members of the local media gathered to witness an attempt to break the highest number of piercings with an 18-gauge needle, in one sitting. The old record stood at 900, and after going through a lot of pain, Aryan Hopkins managed to push the number to 1,091.

That’s definitely an impressive figure, but Hopkins set out to reach 2,000 piercings, but the excruciating pain caused him to start shaking and losing feeling in his hands and arms.

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The Oxford Cardboard Boat Race 2010

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People brought their wacky home-made cardboard boats for the 22nd edition of the Cardboard Boat Race, on the Trend Avon river, in Oxford.

The Oxford Cardboard Boat Race is a family friendly event, organized by a group of local volunteers, known as “Boat Bums International” , with proceedings going to the Maryland Special Olympics fund. As you may have guessed, the challenge of this particular race is to build a human-powered boat out of corrugated cardboard capable of staying afloat long enough to finish the course.

But, with cardboard being so sensitive to water and all, many of the funny looking boats sink moments after they’ve touched water, but seeing boats sink is actually one of the highlights of the Cardboard Boat Race.

This year’s race took place on June 26th and, like every year, drew quite a crowd of eager paddlers, just waiting for an excuse to get away from the city on a weekend. Kids had the most fun, although adults didn’t shy away from proving their rowing skills on the 600-yard course. The entrance fee was $25 if you brought your home-built boat, and $100 for a rented one. Either way, the fun was guaranteed.

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Beauty Mud Cup 2010 Held in China

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With the eyes of the entire world on the Football World Cup, in South Africa, local authorities from Changsha, China had to come up with something better, yet related to current events.

And what’s better than football? Mud football, played by barely dressed gorgeous models, of course. So they set up a small football pitch, filled it with mud, brought in  models from various Chinese cities, and got the Beauty Mud Cup 2010 under way. In the photos below, teams from Hunan and Hubei go head to head, in one of the first matches of the competition. I don’t know the score, and neither do most of the male spectators who resumed to roars and cheers every time any of the girls kicked the ball through the mud.

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Leaf Eaters Compete in Nettle Eating Championships

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Around 1,500 people showed up at the Bottle Inn pub, in Marshwood, Dorset, to see 61 contestants compete in the 2010 edition of the annual Nettle Eating World Championships.

The history of this bizarre eating competition can be traced back to the mid 1980s, when local farmers started the ‘Longest Stinging Nettle’ competition, to see who could grow the longest stem of nettles. Things went along just fine, until 1989, when Alex Williams presented a 15ft 6inches-long nettle, and claimed that if anyone could find a stem longer than his, he would it, As luck would have it, an American actually found a 16ft-long nettle, and Mr. Williams kept his word. From there on in, the competition evolved into the competitive eating challenge we now know as the Nettle Eating World Championships.

On June 19th, competitors were each served two-feet-long stinging nettle stalks, from which they had to pluck and eat the leaves. After an hour of eating, the bare stalks were measured and contestants who ate the most nettles, named winners.

In the men’s competition, first time participant Sam Cunningham managed to eat a whopping 74ft of stinging nettles, and claimed the title of king of the 2010 Nettle Eating World Championships. In the women’s contest, Laura Revell managed to consume 40ft of nettle, and win the title of champion.

Photos by REUTERS/Chris Helgren via Daylife

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Incredible Flower Carpets at the Genzano Flower Festival 2010

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If you’re a flower enthusiast, and you happen to be in Rome, in the second week of June, you just have to visit the small town of Genzano, for its world famous Infiorata.

The Genzano Infiorata is a flower festival that can be traced back to 1778. Every year, local artists cover an entire street (Via Belardi) with intricate flower carpets, inspired by famous artworks, religious paintings or geometrical shapes. The flower carpets are made by talented local artists who have to stick to a previously agreed upon theme, like ‘The Colors of Michelangelo’ or ‘The Designs of Bernini’.

The Infiorata of Genzano begins with the harvesting of millions of flowers, 2-3 days before the event. They are stored fresh, in caves around Genzano, while the artists draw their masterpieces on the pavement of Via Belardi, for the Saturday parade.

Preceded by a ‘mini Infiorata’, where children from local schools create the flower carpets, the Infiorata ends on the Monday of the third week of June, when children are allowed to destroy the colorful artworks, by playing on them.

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