2005: A Wretched Year
I'm not going to whine about how personally miserable 2005 has been for me. Nevertheless, being housebound for the summer had a wonderful benefit: I discovered the blogosphere and made some wonderful friends here.
Thanks to all of you--too numerous to name. The right sidebar lists the blogs I frequent, and I count many of these bloggers as my friends.
I extend a special thanks to my dear friend Mustang, who showed me the ropes when we co-wrote "Our Own Gullibility."
Happy New Year to all my fellow-bloggers, some of whom do not have their own sites, and to the commenters and the silent readers who come here!
Now, for a few amusing items to end 2005 or to start 2006, from News of the Weird, as published in the December 25, 2005 edition of the Washington Post:
Not the Brightest Crayons in the Box
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick told a middle-school class that the U.S. Congress is different from the Texas legislature because in Washington, there are "454" members on the House side and "60" in the Senate.
--Associated Press, April 15
Guv'mint at Work
TOUGH WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT City Council member Yvonne Lamanna, 58, filed a workers' compensation claim against the city of Penn Hills, Pa., after she threw her back out while taking her seat at the Feb. 7 council meeting.
-- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 9
THE LAWS OF IRONY ARE STRICTLY ENFORCED When CNN/USA Today/Gallup pollsters asked in a telephone survey whether President Bush is a "uniter" or a "divider," 49 percent said a uniter and 49 percent said a divider.
--CNN, Jan. 19
DO I LOSE MY PLACE IN LINE? As a registered sex offender in California, James Andrew Crawford was required to notify authorities if he adopted a new "domicile" for more than five days. He was arrested in May for noncompliance after he camped out for two weeks in a theater line waiting for "Star Wars: Episode III" to open.
--North County (Escondido, Calif.) Times, May 19
Body and Soul
DANGERS THE SURGEON GENERAL MISSED Smoke started rising from Israel's then-finance minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he was sitting for a radio interview in Jerusalem in May, causing him to fling his jacket off. He had stuffed his lighted cigar inside a pocket to comply with the room's no-smoking policy. And in Foreman, Ark., Jeff Foran, 38, suffered facial injuries when he impulsively leaped from a fast-moving car just to retrieve his cigarette, which had blown out a window.
--Reuters, May 30; Associated Press, May 23
At the Edge of Credulity
PLEASE DON'T BOTHER TO RELOAD In an early-morning shootout on June 4 at the Homewood housing complex in Pittsburgh, two undercover officers and a suspect exchanged at least 103 gunshots without anyone getting hit. (The first bullet did shatter the windshield of the officers' car, however.)
--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 5; Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 5
The Entrepreneurial Spirit
THE REALITY SHOW IS NEXT At a new theme park in El Alberto, Mexico (near Mexico City), wannabe migrants to the United States can test their survival skills at an obstacle course that replicates the rigors migrants must endure while sneaking across the border. Admission price: about $13.50.
--Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Feb. 20
FINAL NOTE: Police in New Scotland, N.Y., arrested Corianna Thompson, 45, in April for the murder of her mother, then released her last month without charges while they investigate "additional leads." Thompson's birth name was Corey Wayne Balashek. Before his sex change, he served nine years in prison for the 1981 strangulation of an Albany nurse. Authorities believe Thompson/Balashek is the first American, let alone the first middle-name-Wayne, to be arrested for murder in both genders.
--Albany (N.Y.) Times Union, April 11, November 18