John Walsh: Extremely ironic, all this hanky-panky

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The Independent Online

Photo of the week was of Jason Blair, clad in a dressing gown, ironing a white shirt on the closed section of the M1. Wha'? Come now. Surely you're aware that Extreme Ironing has been a sort-of-sport since 1997, when it was invented in Leicester by Phil "Steam" Shaw? Dedicated to the principle that it's possible to indulge in strenuous outdoor activity and still be well turned out, EI enthusiasts enjoy ironing on the seabed, on the peaks of mountains, under the ice cover of a lake, while parachuting, skiing down glaciers and – the Japanese are brilliant at this – riding five abreast on bicycles. Mark my words, it'll be in the next Olympics after this one.

* Violent scenes were reported in Regensburg, Germany, after two rival circus families, who share a tent, had a dispute over which was booked to use it one day. Tempers boiled, dozens of circus performers pitched in, one man was shot, five others injured, and an arsenal of knives, clubs and knuckledusters removed. Apparently the police arrived, honking noisily, in their Krazy Kar, and braked sharply, whereupon the doors fell off, and a bucket of whitewash in the back seat landed on the ringleader...

* Joseph ("Joe") Arpaio, 78-year-old sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, self-proclaimed as "America's Toughest Sheriff" – though aka "America's Worst Sheriff" by The New York Times – is at it again. The man who put prisoners in chain gangs, clad them in pink underwear, made them eat rotting food, stopped them reading nudie mags and had them listen to classical music on the prison radio station KJOE has introduced a Mugshot of the Day competition. Visitors to his website can browse through hundreds of broken-nosed, dishevelled, bloodied miscreants and vote for their favourite. The spirit of Abu Ghraib lives on.

* Fans of the absurd will relish the saga of the Malaysian authorities trying to "discourage" 66 Muslim boys from becoming gay. Homosexual activity is illegal in Malaysia, so the overly camp are being sent to an actual camp to be counselled on manly behaviour. I notice the main opposition to this idiotic plan comes from a Mr Pang Khee Teik. Just the man to stand up for a little hanky-panky.