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The Weird Week in Review

Robbers Call Bank for Take-out Money

Albert Bailey and an unidentified 16-year-old accomplice planned a bank robbery in Fairfield, Connecticut. To make things run smoother, they called a People's United Bank branch ahead of time to have them get a big bag of money ready. Ten minutes later, they showed up at the bank, where police were waiting to arrest them. They are being held on charges of robbery and threatening. A police sergeant said the suspects were "not too bright".

Kangaroo Punches Jogger

David Striegl of Canberra, Australia was jogging on Mount Ainslie during his lunch break when he was assaulted by a kangaroo who punched him in the face! Striegl was found dazed and bleeding and was taken to a hospital by a passing motorist. Striegl suffered a black eye and other cuts and bruises.

"The main thing they've been asking is whether I got one (punch) back on the roo," he told the Australian Associated Press.

"I can't even say that, because one punch and it put me to the floor.

"All my years of playing football and never a fight, and then I have a fight with a kangaroo."

The Rugby Match at the Bottom of the World

For 26 years straight, New Zealand has defeated the US in rugby to win the Ross Island Cup. But these aren't professional rugby players -they are scientists and support staff who live and work in Antarctica! The national team back home in New Zealand are the All Blacks, but the team from Scott Base goes by the name Ice Blacks. The US team from McMurdo Station, well, most of them don't even know how to play rugby before they are recruited for the annual game. Tuesday's game resulted in a score of 23-0.

Family Feared Listening Device for 11 Years

A family in Cairo, Egypt has been using noted to communicate with each other for eleven years, after they found a bug in their home, assumed to have been installed by the father Muhammad's first wife. They were afraid other listening devices were  installed in the home, so they stopped talking in the house. This behavior continued even after the family moved to a new apartment! After the ex-wife died, Muhammad asked for help from a specialist, who reported that the bug they found had never been functional.

Bragging of Crime on TV Leads to Jail

Matthew and Nora Eaton of San Marcos, California appeared on the Dr. Phil show in 2008 to talk about their business of shoplifting toys and selling them on eBay. This drew the interest of federal authorities, who searched the couple's home in May of 2009. They found 500 boxes of toys ready to be shipped out. The Eatons pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport stolen property. Last week, District Judge Irma Gonzalez sentenced Matthew Eaton to 27 months and Nora Eaton to a year in prison. Gonzalez had some choice words for Dr. Phil.

"What a charlatan this man is," the judge said during the hearing. "What a terrible, terrible man."

Gonzalez was perturbed that McGraw holds himself out as a doctor wishing to help. But, the judge said to Matthew Eaton, "he obviously didn't help you."

Kaput One Mile Short of 3,000 Mile Race

Phil Pring and Ben Cummings from Penzance, Cornwall, England participated in the Atlantic Rowing Race where contestants row their boats 3,000 miles from the Canary Islands to the West Indies. They had been at sea since January 4th. On Sunday, Pring and Cummings were less than a mile from the finish line when their boat hit a reef and they had to be rescued by Antiguan authorities. They didn't finish the race, but since they had reached Antigua, they have officially completed an Atlantic crossing. The two rowers were in 15th place when the mishap occurred.

No More New Moore Island

For years, two nations have both claimed the territory of an uninhabited island that the Bangladeshis called South Talpatti Island and the Indians called New Moore Island. The Indian Border Security Force was once called in to claim sovereignty. The dispute is now moot, as the island has vanished underwater! The island never rose more than about six feet above sea level. Professor Sugata Hazra of Jadavpur University in Calcutta blames global warming, and predicts more islands in the Indian Ocean will vanish as sea levels rise.

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The 14th Factory
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Art
Woman Attempts to Take a Selfie, Damages $200,000 Worth of Art Instead
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The 14th Factory

From the woman who fell off a bridge while posing to the photos on a stolen iPad that led to the thief’s arrest, we’ve all heard stories of selfies gone horribly wrong. Rarely, though, do these failed photo ops result in $200,000 worth of damaged property, and a cringe-worthy viral video to boot.

The clip below—shared by Select All—captures the exact moment a woman knocked over an entire row of sculptures two weeks ago while attempting a selfie at artist Simon Birch’s 14th Factory pop-up exhibition space in Los Angeles.

Called "Hypercaine," the installation is a collaborative effort between Birch and contemporaries including Gabriel Chan, Jacob Blitzer, and Gloria Yu. It features rows of crown-like sculptures perched on pedestals—but as the woman in question crouched down low to fit both her face and the artworks into the camera's frame, she leaned back too far and knocked down the pillar behind her. This set off a domino-like effect—and lo and behold, the entire row of pricey works of art toppled over.

"Three sculptures were permanently damaged and others to varying degrees," Yu told Hyperallergic. "The approximate cost of damage is $200,000."

Over-the-top art installations seem to be tailor-made for Instagram portraits—but seeing as how another selfie-seeker recently fell and broke a glass pumpkin sculpture at Yayoi Kusama’s traveling Infinity Mirrors exhibit, consider leaving your phone in your pocket the next time you check out an exhibition. (But if the temptation is too great, perhaps ask a fellow art-admirer to snap the shot for you.)

[h/t Select All]

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Weird
Inside England's Annual Toe Wrestling Championship

Baseball may be America's favorite summer pastime, but across the pond, a unique, no-hands sport reigns supreme—and we're not talking about soccer.

Toe wrestling—yes, toe wrestling—is such a popular pastime in Northern England that there's an entire championship centered on this sport every summer. Since its inception in 1976, the Toe Wrestling Championship has taken the Derbyshire community near Manchester by storm.

The sport got its start when a group of friends at the Ye Olde Royal Oak Inn lamented England's lack of dominance in athletics—they wanted a sport where Brits could reign supreme, and somehow, toe wrestling became the chosen activity. (Ripley’s, however, notes that a Canadian visitor won the third annual championship, putting an early damper on the British preeminence of the sport.)

After 40 years and many toe tangos, the sport of toe wrestling continues to gain traction, even if the International Olympic Committee has refused to accept it as an official Olympic sport. Though it might not be a competition on the global stage, toe wrestling definitely attracts interest from around the world. Wendy Livingstone, general manager and events coordinator for Toe Wrestling Championship venue Bentley Brook Inn, notes she gets interest from various international media. In fact, one U.S. film company is shooting a mockup of the competition this summer with long-time champion Alan "Nasty" Nash.

Nash, known for his intimidating "strong man" physique and even more intimidating big toes, has made quite a name for himself in the toe wrestling space. According to ESPN—which profiled him in 2011—Nash won the title on his first try in 1994. Since then, he's won a dozen titles, including perhaps his most triumphant event in 1997 when he broke four toes in the semifinals, then popped them back in and took home the gold. The toe wrestling titles also led Nash to a stint on this year's Britain’s Got Talent show for his attempt to regain the title of "Most eggs crushed with the toes in one minute." (Spoiler: He succeeded.)

HOW TO TOE WRESTLE

Toe wrestling is a competition between two participants. With their bare feet in a square ring, opponents sit on the floor, lock their big toes, and then battle in an arm-wrestle style to wrangle the other’s foot to the sideboard of the designated wrestling area. The art of toe wrestling is more skill than strength; opponents are required to keep non-competing feet in the air with hands flat on the ground.

It’s a best-of-three competition that typically lasts one hour, and fear not: Toe hygiene is a priority. Nurses inspect all toes for fungus and hidden weapons prior to competition. Livingstone says they see about 10 to 30 participants annually. Winners move on through the bracket until the leaders go toe-to-toe in the final tournament.

TOE WRESTLING STRATEGY

To win at toe wrestling, Livingstone recommends developing those toe muscles however you can.

"The champion, Nasty Nash, invented his own 'toe exerciser' to make his toes the strongest!" she tells Mental Floss. (His exerciser essentially looks like a mini resistance band that he uses across his flexed big toes.)

But even Nash knows strength can only get him so far. He pairs strong toes with extreme intimidation to take home the victory.

"My technique ... is to hurt the first person that comes into the ring with me; hurt them bad and terrify everyone else," Nash told Reuters.

Speaking of injuries, the Toe Wrestling Championship is not for the frail. Livingstone notes in the past, toes have been broken (Nash broke nine as of 2012) and she’s seen a few strained ankles. It also takes a toll on the back, so she advises those with back or spine issues to stay in the crowd.

TEST YOUR TOE WRESTLING TALENTS

Chomping at the bit to lock toes with a stranger? You're in luck. Participants can enter up until the day of for the August 19 Toe Wrestling Championship. There are two divisions: male and female. For those seeking pre-tournament prep, the Royal Oak Inn (the birthplace of toe wrestling) in Ashbourne, England, has a Toe Wrestling Charity Fundraising Event on July 15. Nash will be in attendance, and kids are also invited to put a toe in the ring with the 2017 Kids Championship.

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