…why not do as the locals do? Vote for some truly ridiculous elected officials, commit nauseating hate crimes and speak in a ridiculous accent.

No! No, please do not do any of those things. I was thinking of something more along the lines of spending eight minutes watching what has to be one of the most viscerally challenging sporting events possible: a latke-eating contest. Newsday‘s Patrick Whittle takes us inside something that has long been a Hannukah tradition in the Roth family, albeit with less competitive spirit and worse quotes:

[“Furious” Pete] Czerwinski — a 6-foot-2, muscle-packed Canadian — downed 46 latkes and was still licking applesauce from his stubble when the eight-minute contest ended. Will Millender, a 380-pound Brooklyn community college student, came in second with 29 latkes.

Czerwinski’s demolition of about seven pounds of potato pancakes throughly eclipsed the 31 latkes consumed by Tom “Goose” Gilbert of Massachusetts in 2006 and is a new world record, said Arnie Chapman, chairman of the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters, which sanctioned the event at Zan’s Deli.

For Czerwinski, who has been eating competitively for about a year and has shot to the top of the AICE rankings, the win was a textbook case of beginner’s luck. He said he had never eaten a latke before. “I’m just a power eater. My brain never signals that I’m full,” said Czerwinski, 23, a mechanical engineering student.

Next up for Czerwinski: a fistful of Immodium and hopefully a guest verse or sung chorus on the next Eric “Badlands” Booker album. Strong Island’s own Booker is best known as an eater, but his most recent record — Hungry and Focused II: The Ingestion Engine — is described by this website, as “Innovative, competitive eating-themed, NY-style hip hop for all ages.” Which is great for him, but means he’s totally sitting in the marketing niche in which I’d envisioned my novel.