Saturday, 26 January 2019

Some of the oddness of life!

People do some odd things for a living. Someone called Molly Schuyler wrote in today’s paper about being a professional competitive eater. Needless to say this is in the USA.

“I stumbled into competitive eating. In 2012, I was working in a bar in Nebraska and its restaurant had a challenge: if you ate its 5lb (2.2kg) hamburger, which is about the diameter of a soccer ball, you got it for free. Someone bet me I couldn’t do it, so I just ate it. I didn’t think it was a big deal but everyone else did. I undertook a couple of similar challenges. There was a burger joint down the road and I ended up taking its record. Then they put me in a face-off with the previous record-holder.

After that, things snowballed. At first, I only wanted to do challenges, not contests where you’re facing all these people and trying to win money. I have four kids, and I was too busy. But in 2013, I was invited to a competition in Connecticut. I won two contests back-to-back and earned more in four minutes than I could make in two weeks at work. I quit my job after that.”

She defends her “career” choice: -

“My kids know what I do for a living, but I don’t flaunt it in front of them, and they don’t come to the contests. It’s not a nice world to be in. People are critical of what we do, or make rude comments. They think we’re wasteful. But if you’ve ever overeaten at Thanksgiving, or gone to a buffet and eaten more than you should, you’ve done the same thing – only I’m getting paid.”

Each to their own, I suppose. 

Weird and strange things go on all over the place. Some of them are useful.

Chloe Delevingne, co-founder of the Gynaecological Cancer Fund, had a cervical smear test on television during the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show. A survey published earlier this week suggested that young women were putting off having smear test, or simply not having one at all, because of embarrassment, fear of it maybe hurting or whatever other reason they could come up with. So Ms Delevingne set out to show that it’s no big deal, just another occasion when a woman had to be a bit undignified!

Good for her!

Officially the best place to live in the UK is Orkney - cheap houses, low crime, good schools and a population among the happiest and healthiest in the country. This is according to the Halifax annual quality of life survey. Why are people so happy there?

Maybe it’s a Scandinavian thing. Genetic studies have shown that 25% of the gene pool of Orkney derives from Norwegian ancestors who invaded the islands in the 9th century.

Or it might be having plenty of room. In 2011, 21,349 people lived in Orkney, which means they are quite spread out, considering the area is made up of 70 islands, of which about 20 are inhabited.This may have something to do with it.

Here are some other statistics:

The Isle of Wight has the most sun, averaging 37 hours a week.

Castle Point in Essex has the lowest UK rainfall, 525 mm per year as against an average of 870 mm for the country as a whole. Mind you, you have ask yourself whether less rain would compensate for living in Essex.

Eden in Cumbria has three times more pubs per person than the UK average.

The roads in the Western Isles are the quietest in the UK. Wow! that’s a surprise!

But, and here’s an important one, Greater Manchester has the fastest broadband!!! Greater Manchester rules, OK!

I always find celebrity challenge shows very odd. You know the kind of thing: famous people do a range of activities, make fools of themselves and sometimes come to actual bodily harm. A show called The Jump - the clue is in the title: famous people trained up to do a ski jump, some of them never having skied before - has an impressive list of injuries.

Here are a few:-

        Melinda Messenger - concussion.
        Sir Bradley Wiggins - broken leg.
        Linford Christie - hamstring.
        Rebecca Adlington - dislocated shoulder.
        Marcus Brigstocke - snapped cruciate ligaments (I really don’t know what that is but it sounds painful!).

I notice that some of these are very fit people who practise other sports.

Anyway, the gymnast Beth Tweddle, who suffered serious back injury, has been suing the makers of the programme for large amounts of damages. And yet, a bit of me says that surely all of them had an idea that they might get hurt. The skiers we see on the TV flying though the air at the end of a ski jump have been doing it for years. Can you really expect to become proficient in the course of a TV programme?

You wouldn’t catch me attempting it. A gentle downhill run, the ability to go in and out of markers and being able to do a snow-plough to bring myself to a safe stop - that was quite enough for me to learn on my one attempt at skiing!

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