We proudly present the 1999 Darwin awards:...
 Goes to a San Anselmo, California man who died when he hit a lift tower at
 the Mammoth Mountain ski area while riding down the slope on a foam pad.
 22-year old David Hubal was pronounced dead at Central Mammoth Hospital.
 The accident occurred about 3 a.m., the Mono County Sheriff's Department
 said.  Hubal and his friends apparently had hiked up a ski run called
 Stump Alley and undid some yellow foam protectors from lift towers, said
 Lt. Mike Donnelly of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department. The pads are
 used to protect skiers who might hit towers. The group apparently used the
 pads to slide down the ski slope and Hubal crashed into a tower. It has
 since been investigated and determined the tower he hit was the one with
 its pad removed.
 Co-3rd RUNNER-UP:
 Goes to Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being disorderly in a St.  Louis
 market. When the clerk threatened to call the police, Puelo grabbed a hot
 dog, shoved it into his mouth and walked out without paying. Police found
 him unconscious in front of the store.  Paramedics removed the six-inch
 wiener from his throat where it had choked him to death.
 Co-3rd RUNNER-UP:
 Goes to poacher Marino Malerba of Spain, who shot a stag standing above
 him on an overhanging rock and was killed instantly when it fell on him.
 Man loses face at party." A man at a West Virginia party (probably related
 to the man in Arkansas who used the 22 bullet to replace the fuse in his
 pickup truck) popped a blasting cap into his mouth and bit down,
 triggering an explosion that blew off his lips, teeth, and tongue. Jerry
 Stromyer, 24, of Kincaid, bit the blasting cap as a prank during the party
 late Tuesday night, said Cpl. M.D. Payne.  "Another man had it in an
 aquarium hooked to a battery and was trying to explode it," said Payne.
 "It wouldn't go off and this guy said I'll show you how to set it off." He
 put it into his mouth, bit down and it blew all his teeth out and his lips
 and tongue off, Payne said. Stromyer was listed in guarded condition
 Wednesday with extensive facial injuries, according to a spokesperson at
 Charleston Area Medical Division. "I just can't imagine anyone doing
 something like that" Payne said.
 Doctors at Portland University Hospital said an Oregon man shot through
 the skull by a hunting arrow is lucky to be alive and will be released
 soon from the hospital. Tony Roberts, 25, lost his right eye last weekend
 during an initiation into a men's rafting club, Mountain Men Anonymous
 (probably known now as Stupid Mountain Men Anonymous) in Grant's Pass,
 Oregon. A friend tried to shoot a beer can off his head, but the arrow
 entered Robert's right eye. Doctors said that had the arrow gone 1
 millimeter to the left, a major blood vessel would have been cut and
 Roberts would have died instantly.  Neurosurgeon Doctor Johnny Delashaw at
 the University Hospital in Portland said the arrow went through 8 to 10
 inches of brain with the tip protruding at the rear of his skull, yet
 somehow managed to miss all major blood vessels. Delashaw also said that
 had Roberts tried to pull the arrow out on his own he surely would have
 killed himself. Roberts admitted afterwards he and his friends had been
 drinking that afternoon. Said Roberts, "I feel so dumb about this." No
 charges have been filed, but the Josephine County district attorney's
 office said the initiation stunt is under investigation.
 (The late) John Pernicky and his friend, (the late) Sal Hawkins, of the
 great state of Washington, decided to attend a local Metallica concert at
 the George Washington amphitheater. Having no tickets (but having had 18
 beers between them), they thought it would be easy to "hop" over the nine
 foot fence and sneak into the show. They pulled their pickup truck over to
 the fence and the plan was for (the late) Mr. Pernicky, who was 100-pounds
 heavier than Mr.  Hawkins, to hop the fence and then assist his friend
 over.  Unfortunately for (the late) Mr. Pernicky, there was a 30-foot drop
 on the other side of the fence. Having heaved himself over, he found
 himself crashing through a tree. His fall was abruptly halted (and broken,
 along with his arm, as it were) by a large branch that snagged him by his
 shorts. Dangling from the tree with a broken arm, he looked down and saw
 some bushes below him.  (Possibly) figuring the bushes would break his
 fall, he removed his pocket knife and proceeded to cut away his shorts to
 free himself from the tree.  Finally free, (did I mention that he is THE
 LATE) Mr. Pernicky crashed into holly bushes. The sharp leaves scratched
 his ENTIRE body and now, without the protection of his shorts, a holly
 branch penetrated his rectum. To make matters worse (?!), on landing, his
 pocketknife penetrated his thigh 3 inches. (The late) Mr. Hawkins, on
 seeing his friend in considerable pain and agony, decided to throw him a
 rope and pull him to safety (now he thinks of the "S" word) by tying the
 rope to the pickup truck and slowly driving away.  However, in his drunken
 haste/state, he put the truck into reverse and crashed through the fence
 landing on his friend and killing him.  Police arrived to find the crashed
 pickup with its driver thrown 100 feet from the truck and dead at the
 scene from massive internal injuries. Upon moving the truck, they found
 John under it, half-naked scratches on his body, a holly stick in his
 rectum, a knife in his thigh, and his shorts dangling from a tree branch
 25-feet in the air.
 Congratulations gentlemen, you win...
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