By Bruce Stambaugh
Each year I record some of the more arcane, inane, and maybe even insane happenings that tend to escape headlines. Here are a few of the highs and lows of human endeavor from 2014.
Jan. 9 – An off-duty Houston, Texas firefighter extinguished a fire in an 18-wheeler by using the truck’s cargo, cans of beer.
Jan. 31 – Sparked by static electricity, methane gas from a herd of dairy cows in Rasdorf, Germany exploded, nearly blowing the roof off the barn.
Feb. 22 – Released state records showed that a Spirit Lake, Iowa man was fired and lost his unemployment benefits because he used a forklift to retrieve a candy bar from a malfunctioning vending machine.
March 19 – Greentown, Ohio, volunteer firefighter Justin Deierling proposed to his girlfriend, Megan Zahorec, an elementary teacher, during a scheduled fire drill at her school.
March 24 – Former TV Judge Joe Brown was arrested in Memphis, Tennessee for contempt of court.
April 16 – A three-year-old toddler was reunited with his mother after he was found playing with toys in a claw machine in a bowling alley across the street from his home in Lincoln, Nebraska.
May 5- A Loveland, Ohio man, whose job was to collect coins from parking meters, pleaded guilty to stealing $20,000 in quarters over eight years.
May 15 – The University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio announced that it was replacing 75 percent of its lawn because a weed killer had accidently been used instead of a fertilizer on 54 of the campus’ 72 acres.
June 4 – While participating in a drill about what to do if a gorilla escaped, a Spanish zoo worker dressed in a gorilla suit was shot with a tranquilizer gun by a veterinarian, who didn’t know about the exercise.
July 9 – An 80-year-old American agave plant acquired and housed in the botanical garden at the University of Michigan since 1934 finally bloomed.
July 26 – The Colorado Rockies baseball team gave away 15,000 replica jerseys of All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki with his last name misspelled.
August 25 – A masked gunman robbed three people riding in a horse-drawn buggy in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
August 31 – Leandra Beccera Lumbreras of Mexico turned 127, the oldest living person in the world.
September 1 – Ginseng season started in West Virginia with the herb expected to bring more than $700 per pound.
September 15 – To celebrate the anniversary of the Suez Canal, Egypt published a commemorative stamp, only to realize that the canal pictured was the Panama Canal.
October 8 – A study released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development rated Mississippi as the U.S. state with the worst quality of life.
October 13 – Police in Akron, Ohio said that they arrested 50-year-old David Scofield of Lancaster after he pulled over an off-duty police officer using a fake police car and uniform.
October 20 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was named the winner of Gawker.com’s Worst Accent contest.
November 11 – Police in Oslo, Norway responded to an apartment where screams were reported only to find a man upset because he lost a game of chess to a computer.
December 3 – A pet cat survived for more than a month when it accidentally stowed away in a moving box when its human family relocated from Norfolk, Virginia to Hawaii.
December 15 – The Merriam-Webster Dictionary named “culture” as its word of the year.
I don’t know if there was much culture or not in the mumbo-jumbo of shenanigans during 2014. Let’s hope 2015 brings a culture of blessings, peace and civility all around.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2014