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7 Insane Food Competitions

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The Nathan's Hot Dog"“Eating Contest is only the most famous of all eating contests. And the ones on Fear Factor are only the most contrived. But if you're looking for a lesser-known chow challenge to show off your plate-cleaning prowess, these gastronomic free-for-alls might be just the place to start.

1. Matzo Balls

It ain't easy keeping kosher. Especially for contestants in the Ben's New York Kosher Deli
Charity Matzo Ball"“Eating Tournament. The contest is a charity fund-raiser for the Inter-
faith Nutrition Network sponsored by a New York"“area deli chain. The record holder for
2004 is Eric "Badlands" Booker of Copaigue, Long Island, who ate 20 matzo balls in five
minutes and 25 seconds. If that doesn't sound like a lot, you should know that these matzo balls were roughly the size of tennis balls. Oy! The winner gets a trophy and a $2,500 gift certificate to a stereo store, while runners-up get various prize packages, all of which involve tickets to a New York Islanders game. Umm . . . all that matzo for Islander's tickets? We're thinking we'll pass.

2. Live Mice

Mice, corned beef and easily the most disastrous vodka drinking competition in history all after the jump...

a2.jpgThe MTV show Jackass spawned a lot of copy-cat dumbasses. But two hungry fellas in Brisbane, Australia, win the prize. Participating in a contest at Brisbane's Exchange Hotel in which they were dared to eat a live mouse, the two men competed for a grand prize that was a vacation package worth a handsome $346. Both men chewed the tails off, and the "winner" actually chewed his mouse whole and spit it out. Needless to say, the RSPCA, Australia's version of our own SPCA, wasn't thrilled about the stunt and got the Queensland police on the participants'—um—tail. If caught, the winner will face fines of $75,000 and two years in the pokey.

3. Pickled Quail Eggs

Texas may have plenty of barbecue contests and chili cook-offs, but nothing holds a candle to the Pickled-Quail-Egg-Eating Contest held annually in Grand Prairie, a town between Dallas and Fort Worth. Begun as a publicity stunt by a flea market called Traders Village, the contest determines who can down the most pickled quail eggs in 60 seconds. Quail eggs are roughly the size of a large olive, and the rules stipulate that they must be eaten one at a time. In 2003, the contest was won for the seventh straight time by Grand Prairie resident Lester Tucker, who downed 42 in a minute. So, what's the secret to old Lester's success? He swallows them whole.

4. Cessna 150

a5.jpgYes, that's an airplane. And the guy who ate it is a French gent named Michel Lotito, who goes by Monsieur Mangetout (French for "Mr. Eats Everything." See what he did there?). Lotito engaged in the stunt to earn a place in Guinness World Records (his actual record is for Most Unusual Diet: two pounds of metal per day), but his iron stomach's downed a lot more than just a plane. He's also the proud eater of 18 bicycles, a bunch of TVs, a wooden coffin, and several supermarket shopping carts. Not to mention all the lightbulbs, razor blades, and other knickknacks he's downed on variety shows. Looking for a reason why you shouldn't try this at home (or with your home)? Well, Lotito's got a natural advantage because his stomach lining is twice as thick as a normal person's.

5. Black Pudding

a4.jpgIt's hard enough to eat a little bit of some English food, much less a lot of it. And black pudding is not a dish you want to overindulge in. But don't let the name of this delicacy fool you. This treat from northern England and Scotland isn't pudding in the yummy, creamy, Bill Cosby sense of the word. It's more like a sausage, and it contains oatmeal, onions, spices, plenty of suet, and a whole lot of pig's blood. Hence the black. In 1998, the Robert Peel pub in the English town of Bury, near Manchester, decided to start a black pudding"“eating contest. The first winner was Martin Brimelow, who ate nine black puddings. Though he was ahead, his victory was assured when he ate a special black pudding injected with Tabasco sauce, which counted as two.

6. Corned Beef and Cabbage

Mo's Irish Pub in Milwaukee celebrates its very Irish heritage with dignity and class: an annual Corned Beef and Cabbage"“Eating Contest. The winner in 2004 was Ed "Cookie" Jarvis, a veteran eating-contest competitor (he holds 29 titles) who weighed in at an intimidating 419 pounds. Jarvis packed away over five pounds of corned beef and cabbage in 10 minutes, beating the closest competitor by almost two pounds. Need an idea of just how fast that is? He packed away his first plate in a mere 80 seconds! As in many eating contests, there are only two ways to get disqualified: cheat or puke. It's a wonder this contest wasn't followed by an unofficial Gas-X Binge-Drinking Bout.

7. Vodka

a3.jpgSure, there are beer-drinking contests, so why not vodka-drinking contests? Well, here's why. In 2003 a bar in the southern Russian town of Volgodonsk decided to hold just such a competition. After all, Russians are famous for their ability to hold their vodka, and annual consumption is over 15 liters per person. The winner would get . . . well, more vodka. Ten liters of it, to be exact. Sadly, the winner never got to claim his prize. After downing 1.5 liters of vodka in under 40 minutes (which is about 51 shots), the vodka champ passed away about 20 minutes later. What about the runners-up? The five other contestants got treated to full luxury stays in intensive care. Frighteningly enough, many of the ones who weren't hospitalized actually showed up at the same bar the next night.

Ed. Note: This list was pulled from Forbidden Knowledge.

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8 of the Weirdest Gallup Polls
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Born in Jefferson, Iowa on November 18, 1901, George Gallup studied journalism and psychology, focusing on how to measure readers’ interest in newspaper and magazine content. In 1935, he founded the American Institute of Public Opinion to scientifically measure public opinions on topics such as government spending, criminal justice, and presidential candidates. Although he died in 1984, The Gallup Poll continues his legacy of trying to determine and report the will of the people in an unbiased, independent way. To celebrate his day of birth, we compiled a list of some of the weirdest, funniest Gallup polls over the years.

1. THREE IN FOUR AMERICANS BELIEVE IN THE PARANORMAL (2005)

According to this Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans have at least one paranormal belief. Specifically, 41 percent believe in extrasensory perception (ESP), 37 percent believe in haunted houses, and 21 percent believe in witches. What about channeling spirits, you might ask? Only 9 percent of Americans believe that it’s possible to channel a spirit so that it takes temporary control of one's body. Interestingly, believing in paranormal phenomena was relatively similar across people of different genders, races, ages, and education levels.

2. ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS THINK THE SUN REVOLVES AROUND THE EARTH (1999)

In this poll, Gallup tried to determine the popularity of heliocentric versus geocentric views. While 79 percent of Americans correctly stated that the Earth revolves around the sun, 18 percent think the sun revolves around the Earth. Three percent chose to remain indifferent, saying they had no opinion either way.

3. 22 PERCENT OF AMERICANS ARE HESITANT TO SUPPORT A MORMON (2011)

Gallup first measured anti-Mormon sentiment back in 1967, and it was still an issue in 2011, a year before Mormon Mitt Romney ran for president. Approximately 22 percent of Americans said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, even if that candidate belonged to their preferred political party. Strangely, Americans’ bias against Mormons has remained stable since the 1960s, despite decreasing bias against African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and women.

4. MISSISSIPPIANS GO TO CHURCH THE MOST; VERMONTERS THE LEAST (2010)

This 2010 poll amusingly confirms the stereotype that southerners are more religious than the rest of the country. Although 42 percent of all Americans attend church regularly (which Gallup defines as weekly or almost weekly), there are large variations based on geography. For example, 63 percent of people in Mississippi attend church regularly, followed by 58 percent in Alabama and 56 percent in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Utah. Rounding out the lowest levels of church attendance, on the other hand, were Vermont, where 23 percent of residents attend church regularly, New Hampshire, at 26 percent, and Maine at 27 percent.

5. ONE IN FOUR AMERICANS DON’T KNOW WHICH COUNTRY AMERICA GAINED INDEPENDENCE FROM (1999)

Although 76 percent of Americans knew that the United States gained independence from Great Britain as a result of the Revolutionary War, 24 percent weren’t so sure. Two percent thought the correct answer was France, 3 percent said a different country (such as Mexico, China, or Russia), and 19 percent had no opinion. Certain groups of people who consider themselves patriotic, including men, older people, and white people (according to Gallup polls), were more likely to know that America gained its independence from Great Britain.

6. ONE THIRD OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GHOSTS (2000)

This Halloween-themed Gallup poll asked Americans about their habits and behavior on the last day of October. Predictably, two-thirds of Americans reported that someone in their house planned to give candy to trick-or-treaters and more than three-quarters of parents with kids reported that their kids would wear a costume. More surprisingly, 31 percent of American adults claimed to believe in ghosts, an increase from 1978, when only 11 percent of American adults admitted to a belief in ghosts.

7. 5 PERCENT OF WORKING MILLENNIALS THRIVE IN ALL FIVE ELEMENTS OF WELL-BEING (2016)

This recent Gallup poll is funny in a sad way, as it sheds light on the tragicomic life of a millennial. In this poll, well-being is defined as having purpose, social support, manageable finances, a strong community, and good physical health. Sadly, only 5 percent of working millennials—defined as people born between 1980 and 1996—were thriving in these five indicators of well-being. To counter this lack of well-being, Gallup’s report recommends that managers promote work-life balance and improve their communication with millennial employees.

8. THE WORLD IS BECOMING SLIGHTLY MORE NEGATIVE (2014)

If you seem to feel more stress, sadness, anxiety, and pain than ever before, Gallup has the proof that it’s not all in your head. According to the company’s worldwide negative experience index, negative feelings such as stress, sadness, and anger have increased since 2007. Unsurprisingly, people living in war-torn, dangerous parts of the word—Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, and Sierra Leone—reported the highest levels of negative emotions.

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11 Times Mickey Mouse Was Banned
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Despite being one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved characters, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Mickey Mouse, who turns 89 years old today. A number of countries—and even U.S. states—have banned the cartoon rodent at one time or another for reasons both big and small.

1. In 1930, Ohio banned a cartoon called “The Shindig” because Clarabelle Cow was shown reading Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn, the premier romance novelist of the time. Check it out (1:05) and let us know if you’re scandalized:

2. With movies on 10-foot screen being a relatively new thing in Romania in 1935, the government decided to ban Mickey Mouse, concerned that children would be terrified of a monstrous rodent.

3. In 1929, a German censor banned a Mickey Mouse short called “The Barnyard Battle.” The reason? An army of cats wearing pickelhauben, the pointed helmets worn by German military in the 19th and 20th centuries: "The wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which oppose a militia of mice is offensive to national dignity. Permission to exhibit this production in Germany is refused.”

4. The German dislike for Mickey Mouse continued into the mid-'30s, with one German newspaper wondering why such a small and dirty animal would be idolized by children across the world: "Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed ... Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal.” Mickey was originally banned from Nazi Germany, but eventually the mouse's popularity won out.

5. In 2014, Iran's Organization for Supporting Manufacturers and Consumers announced a ban on school supplies and stationery products featuring “demoralizing images,” including that of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, and characters from Toy Story.

6. In 1954, East Germany banned Mickey Mouse comics, claiming that Mickey was an “anti-Red rebel.”

7. In 1937, a Mickey Mouse adventure was so similar to real events in Yugoslavia that the comic strip was banned. State police say the comic strip depicted a “Puritan-like revolt” that was a danger to the “Boy King,” Peter II of Yugoslavia, who was just 14 at the time. A journalist who wrote about the ban was consequently escorted out of the country.

8. Though Mussolini banned many cartoons and American influences from Italy in 1938, Mickey Mouse flew under the radar. It’s been said that Mussolini’s children were such Mickey Mouse fans that they were able to convince him to keep the rodent around.

9. Mickey and his friends were banned from the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a roundabout way. As they do with many major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Disney had contacted American favorites to win in each event to ask them to say the famous “I’m going to Disneyland!” line if they won. When American swimmer Matt Biondi won the 100-meter freestyle, he dutifully complied with the request. After a complaint from the East Germans, the tape was pulled and given to the International Olympic Committee.

10. In 1993, Mickey was banned from a place he shouldn't have been in the first place: Seattle liquor stores. As a wonderful opening sentence from the Associated Press explained, "Mickey Mouse, the Easter Bunny and teddy bears have no business selling booze, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has decided." A handful of stores had painted Mickey and other characters as part of a promotion. A Disney VP said Mickey was "a nondrinker."

11. Let's end with another strike against The Shindig (see #1) and Clarabelle’s bulging udder. Less than a year after the Shindig ban, the Motion Picture Producers and Directors of America announced that they had received a massive number of complaints about the engorged cow udders in various Mickey Mouse cartoons.

From then on, according to a 1931 article in Time magazine, “Cows in Mickey Mouse ... pictures in the future will have small or invisible udders quite unlike the gargantuan organ whose antics of late have shocked some and convulsed others. In a recent picture the udder, besides flying violently to left and right or stretching far out behind when the cow was in motion, heaved with its panting with the cow stood still.”

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