Sunday, July 30, 2006

'Conger cuddling' takes a hit

They have some strange ways of having a good time across the pond, and "conger cuddling" -- described by The Sun as "a kind of human skittles" involving a giant dead eel -- is certainly off the bizarre-o charts.

But now the time-honored tradition is getting a less-than-satisfying makeover after a "killjoy protester" called conger cuddling disrespectful to the dead fish. Organizers of the charity event in Lyme Regis (a coastal resort about 155 miles southwest of London) used a mooring buoy this time around, and are considering having a plastic eel made, the BBC reports.

"We decided that it really wasn't worth upsetting anybody by going ahead with using a dead conger," said Andrew Kaye, spokesman for the Lyme Regis lifeboat crews that have raised money with the event for more than 30 years. "But it's a dead conger, for Pete's sake. I shouldn't think the conger could care one way or another."

Kaye told the Associated Press that the lone activist threatened to film the contest and cause a media meltdown. Looks like that happened anyway: Authorative journal Practical Fishkeeping weighs in on the matter, but The Guardian has the best description of the event:

"The rules of the game are simple. One team stands on a set of 6-inch-high wooden blocks, in effect turning themselves into human skittles. Members of a second team swing a dead conger eel -- around 5 feet long is thought to be the most effective size -- attached to a piece of rope at the human skittles. Whoever can stay on for the longest wins. The eels can be heavy but serious injuries are rare."

P.S. Did you know a young eel is called an "elver"? News to me.

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