2009: What a strange year

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By John Pawlak

With the advent of each new year, we can’t help but reminisce about the good times we had over the past twelve months. Buying your first house. Picking out that new expensive carpet. Bringing home a puppy for your kids. Buying a new carpet after the puppy ruined the carpet in your new house. Yeah, you can’t help but smile as you look back.

Perhaps the best way to say au revoir (or Good Riddance) to 2009 is to recall some of the highlights that entertained the nation.

Leading the pack was Utah that passed legislation that made it illegal to provide birth control to animals. A strange law, yes, but I found it stranger to consider exactly how one gets an antelope or rabbit to wear a condom.

Who could forget the Christmas rush for “that perfect present”? Well, the Miller Park Zoo in Illinois solved the problem by selling reindeer-dung necklaces. For music fans, another popular gift was perfume made using DNA samples from Michael Jackson’s hair follicles.

The company selling the celebrity fragrance also offered perfumes made from the hair of Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and even Napoleon Bonaparte. For those who prefer a human touch, a Melbourne outfit offers jewelry fitted with your own incisors and molars, and “other donated pieces” of your body.

Now wouldn’t your wife just love a pair of earrings made from your toenails?

But the most innovative gift this season was provided by a London law agency that sold divorce vouchers as Christmas gifts. Just imagine the smile on your husband’s face when he opens that present! The only question would be ... was it a friend who bought him the voucher ... or was it you?

New York City also gave us something to ponder by sponsoring a condom wrapper design contest for the city’s next “official city condom.” This kind of puts a new spin on the phrase “I Love New York,” doesn’t it?

So let’s see, what else struck our fancy from the last year? A Japanese man married a video game character. The man and his hand-held game console then headed off to Guam for their honeymoon. I do hope he brought virus protection. A judge in Somerville, NJ, granted James Cap a hunting license. James is a quadriplegic and will need to have his gun mounted on his wheelchair and will fire it by blowing into a tube.  And in Britain, a judge decided not to send a woman to jail after she had violated a previous court order not to scream excessively during sex.

I suppose the noise from conjugal visits would have upset the other prisoners.

How about Woody Harrelson in the news? He was charged with attacking a photographer in an airport. His defense? “I mistook the cameraman for a zombie.” You know, I make that same mistake all the time at school (but it just turns out to be my first period students).

I liked the story about the Boston woman who called 911 because she couldn’t get her 14-year old son to stop playing video games. Or the one about the 4-year old boy who called 911 to get help with his math homework.

Diets were all the fashion last year. Neil King of Essex went on a diet of baked beans. Since 2007, he’s eaten over half a ton of baked beans, lost 140 pounds, and lost all friends downwind of him.

The year kept getting stranger. A nurse in London brought her total body piercings to a grand total of 6005. A man made the news for solving the Rubik’s Cube ... after working on it for 26 years. A man was arrested for stealing 60 lawn gnomes (everyone needs a hobby). And a former Miss Argentina died after having plastic surgery on her buttocks. Apparently, the liquid leaked from the implants and went into her brain (think about this for a moment).

A German tourist was arrested for trying to smuggle 43 geckos in his underwear (yes, he was wearing them). I wonder if he saved 15 percent on his insurance bill?

In China, police had an hour-long standoff with a suspected suicide bomber. It was only after a bomb unit specialist noticed that the explosives wrapped around the man’s body were pork sausages that the police moved in to arrest the man. Uh ... a specialist was needed?

Finally, a homeless man in San Francisco was arrested for assaulting another homeless man. According to testimony, the fight was prompted by the two having an argument over particle physics. A fight over particle physics? Here in Los Alamos, what would be strange about that?