It's time once again for our semi-annual roster of associations whose missions -- and, likely, members -- are a bit off-road, if you get our gist.
1. World Elephant Polo Association (elephantpolo.com). If you think football features some pretty hefty athletes, you'll revise your standards once you attend a Nepal-based Elephant Polo World Cup as played by pachyderms. This sport, more than a century old, not only helps preserve herds of elephants but also donates proceeds to South Asian schools and health-care projects. Members can volunteer to help out behind the scenes and on the field, but try to avoid clean-up duty.
2. Boba Fett Fanclub (bobafettfanclub.com). Named in honor of a minor character in the Star Wars movies (Fett is the mysterious helmeted agent who sold Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt), this association supports members with services such as a step-by-step guide to making your own Boba Fett uniform (anything that requires emptying a bunch of beer cans gets our interest) and in-depth discussion boards about all things Fett. If you're looking for a really esoteric club to join, this one is a Fett accompli.
3. The Center for Prevention of Shopping Cart Abuse (shoppingcartabuse.com). This organization fights to uphold the sanctity of the "chariot of the parking lot" by promoting safe pushing practices and the use of designated cart drop-off lanes. For those who wish to stop their compulsive bashing of these "squeaky mascots of world consumerism," the club offers its own 12-step program (including going back to that ravine where you dumped one and apologizing). And remember: Never refer to a cart with a wobbly wheel as "broken," but rather as "locomotively challenged."
4. The Cheeseracing Association (cheeseracing.com). Back in 1997, someone with remarkably few pressing concerns discovered that if you place a slice of processed cheese, still in its plastic wrapping, onto a barbecue, the plastic miraculously stays intact while the cheese undergoes some weird changes and the whole thing becomes an inflated pouch of crazy bubbly cheese -- without bursting! This discovery quickly gave birth to an association dedicated to organizing competitions in which players vie to fling the slice that is the first to fully inflate. Among the official rules: Competing slices must not overlap, and the fanning of flames is strictly prohibited. Inside tip: Avoid low-fat cheese; it doesn't inflate well.
5. The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (improbable.com/projects/hair). If you're looking to join an association where rigorous scientific investigation meets somewhat creepy fetishism, you've come to the right place. The LFHCfS, as the acronym is styled, is for, as the literature states, "scientists who have, or believe they have, luxuriant flowing hair." Why do we need such a club, you might ask. Because, same literature notes, "the public loves to see and applaud scientists who have luxuriant flowing hair." The first member, by the way, was a guy, and there's also a Luxuriant Facial Hair Club for Scientists; we're afraid to find out the gender of their first member.