By Bruce Stambaugh
It’s been another strange year on Planet Earth. So much craziness filled the headlines that some serious faux pas got overshadowed. Never fear. I kept track for you.
Jan. 12 – A British butcher who got locked in a walk-in freezer used a frozen sausage to batter his way out at his store in Totnes, England.
Jan. 16 – Eyelashes froze when the temperature reached 88.6 degrees below zero in Russia’s remote region of Yakutia.
Feb. 9 – An Alliance, Ohio kindergarten student took a loaded handgun to school for show and tell, but had the gun confiscated by his school bus driver when the boy showed the weapon to the only other student on the bus.
Feb. 23 – A third-grade student fired a police officer’s revolver by reaching into the hostler and pulling the trigger during a safety demonstration at a Maplewood, Minnesota elementary school.
Feb. 27 – Entrepreneur.com reported that the three fastest growing franchises in the U.S. were Dunkin Donuts, 7-Eleven, and Planet Fitness.
March 13 – A study by Bar-Llan University showed that the trauma suffered by Holocaust survivors was transferred to their children and grandchildren.
March 14 – A Seaside, California gun safety teacher’s weapon accidentally fired in class, injuring a student.
March 23 – Orange snow fell on much of Europe due to the combination of sandstorm winds mixing with moisture in snowstorms.
April 5 – A report that studied the Sahara Desert from 1920 to 2013 revealed that the desert, defined by areas that receive four inches of rain or less annually, had expanded by 10 percent in that timeframe.
April 9 – Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois became the first sitting U.S. Senator to give birth while in office.
April 13 – A photographer in Madeira Beach, Florida captured a shot of an osprey in flight carrying a shark that was eating a fish.
May 2 – A new report indicated that Americans ages 18 to 22 were far more likely than senior citizens to report being lonely and being in ill health.
May 3 – According to federal research released, the rate of people infected by ticks and mosquitoes has tripled in the last 13 years.
May 9 – A new study by researchers at MIT indicated that fasting could dramatically boost stem cells to regenerate.
May 15 – A Gaylord, Michigan couple opened the hood of their car to discover a squirrel had stuffed 50 pounds of pinecones in their engine compartment.
June 7 – A study showed that seven out of 10 Americans were experiencing news fatigue.
June 25 – A kangaroo bounded onto a Canberra, Australia soccer field, interrupting the play between two professional women’s soccer teams for 32 minutes.
July 3 – Mark Hough of Altadena, California found a black bear bobbing in his backyard hot tub and that the bear had finished off the margarita Hough had left behind.
July 10 – Costa Rica became the first country to ban fossil fuels.
July 21 – After receiving a ticket for speeding, an Iowa woman sped away from police who clocked her at 142 m.p.h. and gave her another citation.
July 27 – A pawn shop in Somerville, Massachusetts bought a stolen violin for $50 and discovered from police that its real value was $250,000.
August 1 – A State of the Climate report indicated that 2017 was the third warmest on record globally after 2016 and 2015.
August 5 – Right-handed reliever Oliver Drake became the first Major League Baseball player to pitch for five different teams in the same season.
August 10 – A new scientific study reported that insect-eating birds consume about 400 million tons of insects each year.
September 10- The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center reported that 600 million birds are killed annually in the U.S. by flying into buildings, most often at night when they are lured by illuminated office windows.
September 14 – New census data reported that Social Security, food stamps, and other government programs kept 44 million Americans out of poverty last year.
September 25 – A record 1,260 dogs attended the baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox during Chicago’s promotional Dogs’ Night Out event.
September 26 – The United Nations Refugee Agency reported that an unprecedented 68.5 million people globally have been forced from their homes.
October 15 – A report by the University of Missouri indicated that honeybees stopped flying during the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017.
October 31 – The journal Nature published a report that showed over the past quarter-century the Earth’s oceans have retained 60 percent more heat than previously believed.
November 6 – The World Health Organization listed depression as the leading cause of disability in the world, with the U.S. leading the way with 13 percent of its population on anti-depressants.
November 9 – The Center for Disease Control reported that smoking rates in the U.S. at an all-time low, with 14 percent of adults who smoke cigarettes.
November 25 – A Bank of America ATM machine in Houston, Texas dispensed $100 bill instead of $10, and the bank allowed customers to keep the extra money.
December 8 – A 29-year-old Summerville, South Carolina man was arrested for arson after he allegedly burned several of his neighbors’ outdoor Christmas displays.
December 12 – The CDC listed fentanyl as the deadliest drug in the U.S., causing 18,000 deaths from overdoes in 2016.
December 14 – Snopes.com reported that the busiest day of the year for Chinese restaurants in the U.S. is Christmas Day.
Here’s hoping 2019 is a better year for our planet and all its inhabitants.
Happy New Year!
© Bruce Stambaugh 2018
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