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The Weird Week in Review

Marines To Ban Audible Farts In Afghanistan

Silence is golden. A new order for U.S. Marines serving in Afghanistan bans audible farting. The ruling, meant to prevent offense to Afghans, was added to other injunctions against swearing and talking about politics or girls around local citizens. Marines may have a hard time conforming to the new policy, but are warned that the U.S. is trying win the hearts and minds of Afghans, some of whom view Americans as unwelcome occupiers.

Escaped Kangaroo Steals Underwear

Police in Prague, Czech Republic, began receiving calls about thefts of women's lingerie from clotheslines, at about the same time a man called to report his pet kangaroo, Benji, had escaped. It all made sense when one caller said she had witnessed a kangaroo hopping off with her underwear. The marsupial was picked up shortly afterward.

Benji's owner Petr Hlabovic, 35, said: "I'm very relieved to have him back. I've got no idea what he thought he was up to - he certainly didn't pick up the habit from me."

There is no mention of whether the unmentionables were returned to their rightful owners.

Man Regains Hearing After Earthquake

Robert Valderzak suffered a fall on Fathers Day and became completely deaf. Dr. Ross Fletcher at Veterans Affairs Hospital said the 75-year-old Valderzak's hearing loss was a combination of nerve damage and a conduction problem. However, on Tuesday while his four children were visiting, an earthquake shook Valderzak's home in Washington, D.C. and he felt something happening in his head. When the shaking stopped, he could hear again! Dr. Fletcher speculates that Valderzak may still have some hearing loss, but his patient can hear and understand what people are saying around him.

Paintball Ruptures Silicone Implant

A 26-year-old woman in Croydon, England, suffered a rupture of her breast implant when she was hit with a paintball. The game center, UK Paintball, had never seen such an injury before. They have since updated their consent forms to warn that customers should inform the center if they have breast implants before playing, and such players will be issued extra padding. The unnamed woman is expected to fully recover.

Memorial Bandit Caught in the Act

A series of thefts has been solved at the Toledo Police Memorial Garden. Officers had noticed small flags went missing over several days, but found no clue as to the identity of the perpetrator. On Wednesday, two policemen saw who was doing it. One of them snapped a picture of a squirrel in the act of grabbing a flag and a pink flower from the garden. The squirrel fled the scene and took the loot to its nest, which was discovered to be already festooned with stolen flags. No arrest were made, and the suspect is still at large.

Rogue Panda Fears Calmed

Someone got hold of an Arizona Department of Transportation electronic sign on Fort Valley Road in Flagstaff this week, and changed the message about left turns to "Rogue Panda on Rampage."

"We want to assure all citizens of Flagstaff that there is no problem with rogue pandas," said Lt. Ken Koch with the Flagstaff Police Department.

He does, however, encourage anybody who spots a member of the endangered species roaming Flagstaff streets to call the police department.

The sign, which was altered in the middle of the night, was corrected by 11 AM. No suspects have been identified. The good news is that the publicity may cause motorists to read electronic signs more carefully in the future.

The Dog Ate the Diamonds

A dog named Honey Bun is the mascot at John Ross Jewelers in Albany, Georgia, but he was caught eating up the profits a couple of weeks ago. While owner Chuck Roberts spoke to a customer, Honey Bun climbed on his desk and ate an entire packet of loose diamonds! An x-ray confirmed their suspicions. The dog had ingested about $10,000 worth of stones and the back of an earring, all of which were recovered the next day. Roberts says he will be more careful of leaving his desk chair where the dog can reach it.

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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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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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