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Gentlemen, Destroy Your Engines! [Hall of Infamy]

Thought your last drive to Long Island and back was tough? In his April 2006 feature story ‘Gentlemen, Destroy Your Engines!‘ writer Jason Daley braves something, well, meatier: ‘The Banger Rally, a 4,500-mile blitz from England to the Sahara in which globe-trotting wrench-heads, posh speed freaks, and sand-blinded adventurers crank up the crazy and stomp on the gas.’  ( Enjoy!

Excerpt: THE SONS OF HASSELHOFF, GEOFF AND MARK, slipped their newly minted driver’s licenses into their wallets, donned custom-printed t-shirts displaying the album covers of the beloved Knight Rider/pop singer, hopped into their tiny 1986 Volkswagen Golf 1.6 CL, and headed south out of Reading, a commuter suburb west of London. Down in the English Channel port of Poole, meanwhile, the Conedodgers, a team consisting of brewpub designer Declan Hicks and marine mechanic Ed Parke, were playing Tetris with 12 cases of Carlsberg beer, concealing the suds beneath a plywood pantry they’d crammed into their 1992 Volvo Estate wagon. In London, Benja Hedley and Denis Meehan, the Badger Racing boys, hitched the shabby camper they’d purchased on eBay behind their 1984 4×4 Mitsubishi Montero Magnum, then gave each other ceremonial Mohawks before motoring out of town…

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Sliding to Oblivion [Look Before You Leap. Or not.]

As a recent New York Times story by Christina Erb pointed out, avalanches continue to wreak havoc across the West. According to the American Alpine Institute, there have been 31 deaths this year alone, and we’re not even deep into the more dangerous months of early spring. The problem? Weather, sure. But many deaths in the backcountry are preventable with proper testing of conditions and common sense. Here, via the American Alpine Institute’s blog, is a compilation of avalanches that will scare you. Or really, really should. No charge for the (ironic, we hope) AC/DC soundtrack. RELATED: The amazing footage of a skier who survived a fall of 351 feet

High In Hell [Narcotourism]

In 2007 the writer Kevin Fedarko got himself all the way to Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, to take khat, a chewable, psychoactive diversion shared by 99.9% of the male population. Here’s his amazing, hilarious account, from Esquire, November, 2007. 

Excerpt: So if you ever happen to find yourself skimming through the troposphere high above the Horn of Africa, the engines of your cargo jet clawing at the currents of sub-Saharan air rolling off the lip of the Ethiopian plateau and down toward the Red Sea, there will come a moment when you’ll have to admit that the cockpit of an aging DC-8 with a broken oil-pressure gauge and a washed-out picture of a Ugandan mountain gorilla emblazoned on the tail offers a damn fine view of the most wretched place on the planet…

Where’s Sully When You Need Him? [Close Calls]

Now that Captain Sully has raised the bar for emergency landings, no air emergency will ever feel the same. Here’s Outside Magazine’s Grayson Schaffer on his own very near miss. PLUS: Schaffer’s photogallery.

Signs O’ The Times


Hanging on at #3 in this week’s Most-Emailed List is The Gray Lady‘s recent foray into gradeschool off-kilter humor, an in-depth analysis of Britain’s cheeky place names like Butt Hole Road, Crapstone, and Wetwang. It’s a reminder that in grim economic times such as these, nothing leavens the load quite so quickly as a good penis joke, especially in the paper of record. Surely there are more great ones worth sharing out there. Send them in!