Big Hairy Pile Of Whoa!
Breaking news on chess, prisons, and cows

It Only Leads to Harder Stuff

If you want to win a chess tournament in Spain, you can expect to undergo drug testing, according to Spanish daily El Mundo.

See also...
... by Jeff Morris
... in the Whoa! section
... from November 19, 1999

Chess players at a Spanish team championship tournament on the Mediterranean island of Menorca were surprised when officials from the Spanish Chess Federation started handing out plastic cups and asking for urine samples. They claimed to be following orders from the government body that regulates sports in Spain, which is currently cracking down on performance-enhancing drugs.

Even tournament officials were stunned, and noted that there is no reason for a chess player to take steroids or other banned substances. Officials responded that the caffeine level in a player's blood is restricted by the Spanish Federation. Complaints of coffee guzzling are apparently common at professional chess matches.

Jordi Magem, a chess match competitor who was tested, didn't mind sharing his urine with the government. "I think it is OK, although I know people who are against it because they feel humiliated.''

Panopticon Shenanigans

When Tapachula prison warden Raul Zarate Diaz told his staff they needed to keep an eye on the inmates, he meant it. And he died doing it.

Diaz fell 23 feet to his death while spying on couples enjoying conjugal visits. He landed next to a Nicaraguan prisoner and his wife as they were having sex. According to La Cronica newspaper, it was all just an accident and Diaz tripped while walking on a skylight.

The newspaper said that the warden might have lost his balance because he was heavily armed. One wonders how much a pair of binoculars and a pornographic magazine actually weigh. Prison officials refused to comment for the record, except to say that the prisoner who was interrupted led a failed attempt at a riot.

Latin Love on the Brain

Italian men have an international reputation for being great lovers. Quiz: What do Latin men think about when they're doing the nasty? A suave line? Tricks to help them perform better?

Turin newspaper La Stampa reports that a "sexology clinic" in Rome conducted a survey that revealed Italian men think most often about the mortgage and soccer while making love, which gives new meaning to Marco Tardelli's famous scream of joy when Italy won the World Cup in Spain in 1982.

The reasons for these thoughts during the most intimate of times could be because soccer centers around balls, or perhaps because mortgages are based on inflation.

But there was a glimmer of hope for Italian women. Some men surveyed said they actually thought about the female sex while making love, but not their partner.

Husband Beating Has Its Price

Balkan men pride themselves on their swagger. So it was with a great sense of humiliation that an unemployed steelworker there filed for divorce because his wife regularly beat him for not doing the dishes.

According to the daily Koha Jone, the bullied husband told a snickering courtroom in the city of Elbasan, "I have been living with a crazy woman for eight years and she has taken away my manliness from me. She has ruined my life. She beat me continually, and not only with fists."

We've Got Cow Sign

Traffic came to a standstill twice near the Florida town of DeBary in the past two weeks -- all thanks to an errant cow.

Local police said it all began when a cow waded knee deep into a field filled with water. Motorists mistakenly thought the cow was stuck in mud and stopped to help. Chomping on water lilies, the cow stared in udder amazement as people gathered. The Florida Highway Patrol received dozens of calls from motorists requesting help for the cow.

By the time officers arrived on the scene, so many people had stopped that traffic was backed up. To free motorists who weren't concerned about the well being of bovines, the Department of Transportation put up a flashing sign that read, "The Cow is Okay."

The sign created a second traffic jam because motorists were stopping to see the cow and why it was necessary to announce the state of its health on a flashing sign. Problem was, the cow had long since wandered off. Rubbernecking motorists slowed traffic to an amble.

Jeff Morris is a professional journalist who subscribes to the highest ethical standards of reporting...and other magazines, too.

Big Hairy Pile of Whoa runs each Friday on GettingIt.