The new year had barely begun when, very early in JANUARY, an Ontario man was arrested at the American border trying to smuggle over 50 turtles into the States. Most of them, perhaps planning for a shorts sell, were in his underpants. A group of armed, angry white guys took over a federal facility in Oregon, apparently to protest a shortage of snacks and sex toys. A South Korean man created a robot that drinks so the young man would no longer drink alone…reinforcing the reasons he was drinking alone in the first place. A Portland man was arrested after stealing a python from a pet store by hiding it in his pants. He was given away from the sound of a python laughing from the young man’s pants. Th town of Whitesboro, New Jersey voted to keep their town seal of a white man choking an American Indian. (They later realized, “Oh. Right. Racist as hell. Got it.”) A woman in Georgia went on a rampage in a Waffle House that included throwing plates at other customers and stripping naked. Customers described her as clearly scattered, and somewhat smothered and chunked. Maine Governor Paul LaPage blamed the state’s drug problems on “guys from New York named D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty,” implying they were Black. Later that day, three leaders of the Maine drug trafficking ring were arrested: James, Jody and Donna (all were white). A Texas man was discovered trying to smuggle marijuana in with him to sell to other inmates after his arrest. The drug, hidden between the man’s butt cheeks, was found thanks to a new crack down on crime. UK Film Censors had to watch a 10hr film of paint drying. The film was made as a protest to UK rating laws, and given a rating of “suitable for ages 4 and up.”
The chaos of January was buffered slightly at the beginning of FEBRUARY, by the announcement of a new technological advancement. English scientists revealed a new way to store information: nanostructures protected inside glass disks. Because glass is heat resistant and chemically stable, the storage could last billions of years. Or until it drops onto the floor. A typical example of regal opulence, a Cambodian village spent $40,000 making a luxury custom-built toilet for a Thai princess’ scheduled 2-hour visit. While she didn’t use it, she did take its picture. February closed out with historians claiming in a new book that Hitler suffered from a combination of genital malformities. Man…Kick a guy when he’s down.
MARCH would not be very active for peculiarities, but it started with a doozy. A St Louis man was taking a naked selfie with his favorite thing: his gun. Which went off. Shooting off his other favorite thing. Later in the month, two thieves in New Mexico were apprehended by an undercover cop when the thieves asked him to help start their stolen car.
Craziness returned to the upswing in APRIL when a woman in Florida was arrested for cocaine possession and during processing, when officers found a crack pipe hidden…in her vagina. Shortly thereafter, a woman in Tennessee was arrested for an outstanding warrant, and during processing officers found heroin hidden…in her vagina. The woman tried to eat the heroin before officers could obtain it. Not long after that, an Iowa woman was arrested after she tried to hide from police in her oven, which thankfully, is not a euphemism for her vagina. Perhaps proving that shipping and delivery jobs are too strenuous, a FedEx worker fell asleep during his shift loading a plane bound for Texas. He was halfway from Tennessee to Lubbock when he woke up. April ended when an alleged thief fled a crime scene by jumping a nearby fence. Secret Service officers patrolling the White House grounds nabbed the thief immediately.
MAY started off a slow summer when an Illinois woman sued Starbucks for putting too much ice in her iced coffee. Ted Cruz showed just how much he cared about women during the last two days of his campaign by letting Carly Fiorina fall off the stage, and then punching his wife in the face twice while hugging an advisor. Conservative Virginia congressional candidate Mike Webb posted a screen grab of his computer…forgetting to close the open porn tabs. Continuing the political slide into ridiculousness, a Virginia woman’s family made a political statement in her obituary, stating she preferred death rather than choose between Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Relatively speaking, JUNE was fairly quiet, save supporters of the orange Nazi twinkie starting their own dating site. Like their savior, participants had to be either emotionally, intellectually, or actually bankrupt.
JULY did not disappoint those of us who take relief in silliness, starting with a Nashville man found in bed with a mannequin stolen from a nearby sex shop. The thief’s lovemaking was described as ‘wooden’ by the mannequin. A North Carolina couple was charged with a count each of misdemeanor assault by police who caught the couple fighting…with pizza rolls. A Swedish soccer player was given a red card for passing gas near the referee, proving referees aren’t the only stinkers in sports. Joey Chestnut reclaimed the Nathan’s title (and potential gay icon status) eating 70 wieners on the Fourth of July in the annual Hot Dog eating contest. New Hampshire police captured 500 fugitives by inviting them to a Pokemon Go contest. A Tennessee woman started a fire in her apartment when she tried to barbecue a brisket in her bathroom. Firefighters responded and put out the fire by turning on the shower. A woman in the UK staved off a robber by repeatedly beating him about the head with a pack of bacon.
In AUGUST, a Michigan woman was arrested trying to escape the women’s restroom by climbing through the ceiling. She was trying to ditch her court-ordered class on decision making. George Zimmerman was punched by a bystander after Zimmerman boasted at a Florida restaurant that he “was the guy who killed Trayvon Martin.” (The only joke here…is Zimmerman.) NYC officials removed a statue of a naked Donald Trump. City officials stated that “NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small.” Anthony Weiner got caught sexting again. His wife, Huma Abedin, left her husband after finding out he was still an awful prick.
SEPTEMBER began with a Royal Canadian Mint employee proving even Canadians can make asses of themselves when he was arrested after smuggling $140,000 worth of gold…in his rectum. A Polar Bear in the Polish Poznan Zoo found new toy that had to be taken from the bear before the WWII grenade could explode. A manhunt in Germany, following an assault during Oktoberfest, put police on the lookout for a blonde male wearing lederhosen.
OCTOBER was a busy month, with members of the general public across the country panicking when they began seeing creepy clowns wandering thru various neighborhoods, instead of on the campaign trail where they belonged. Alabama voter Joshua Hughes expressed regret on social media after Hillary Clinton became the official Democratic nominee for getting a “Feel the Bern” tattoo…on his genitalia. An explosion at a gas station in Florida was caused by a woman who used the vacuum to suck up gasoline which had been spilled in her trunk. After the explosion, she shut her trunk and drove off. A Texas man, Rogelio Andaverde, staged his own kidnapping to be able to hang out with his friends after his wife refused permission. A woman took a fight from Charlotte, NC, with her support animal, a duck. The duck became an internet sensation, particularly since it took care of its own bill. The school board in Charleston, SC, removed pregnancy and STD prevention lessons from a curriculum to replace it with lessons on abstinence. The Bundy family who led a takeover of the federal wildlife refuge in Oregon were acquitted on the evidence that they were white.
NOVEMBER came, and proved that we were apparently ready for the apocalypse to get here sooner, rather than later. But, before we rush headlong into oblivion, men worldwide showed their privilege when a study on a new male contraceptive was ended prematurely after study participants started to feel like a natural woman reacting to the pill…with mood swings, acne, and a lowered libido. (Spoiler: they couldn’t handle it.) After the election to end all elections (somewhat literally), Hitl’orange-elect supporters protested Starbucks by having baristas write Trump’s name on coffee, instead of their own names…after they bought the coffee.
I have written this tongue-in-cheek focus on the ludicrous news bytes that pass our feeds for close to twenty years. This year was a little harder to write.
For the most part, I write about the stupid crap people do to themselves or their family for peculiar reasons, like the guy who accidently shot a family member when the bullet ricocheted off an armadillo. Things that are so goofy that you have to laugh.
But…this year was different. A week out from 2017, and folks are currently mourning George Michael (and in much smaller numbers, mourning Liz Smith and Vera Rubin), while breathing a temporary sigh of relief over Carrie Fisher, who died one day before her mother. My generation is being reminded of our own mortality…almost daily…with the passing of yet another celebrity. We have lost so many artists and celebrities that we have come to speak of 2016 as an anthropomorphized entity, and not just a measure of time.
November brought about a political revolution sprung from the basest racism of the KKK in the guise of what seems more and more like a foreign puppet in exchange for political leverage for business interests. In its wake are a growing number of hate crimes, making everyone who thought our country was more progressive than it really is back to reality.
People voted for a president because they either shared his racism and misogyny, or they hoped so much that he would take care of them they felt they could gloss over those qualities.
Politics and society have reverted back to the worst years of the 1950s, so much so that I still wait to see who this generation’s Emmet Till will be. That time is coming, I fear, and we will lose many battles as we struggle to bring our country back to where we thought it was. That is a long way away.
The election of Obama, and the progress we as a country had made was, sadly, a mere phantom, covering up a rebellion of a different sort.
We are not what we thought we were, and it will take a lot of work, and lot of understanding, and a lot of talking, to make us what we thought…what we should be.
We’ve been forced to take our two steps back. But, if we can learn to make change…real change…happen in a peaceful way, we will make our one step forward, and another. And another, and exceed even what we thought we once were.
Consider the words of both David Bowie, and the advice of Marvel hero Luke Cage’s mentor, Pop Hunter:
We can be heroes, always forward, just for one day…
And every day after that.
Or, as George Michael put it…you’ve got to have faith.