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Year in Review 2014

Welcome, one and all to a brand new year. 2014 brought on many anniversaries: 25 years ago, the Berlin Wall fell, 75 years ago World War II started, and 100 years ago, World War I started. Quite frankly, with it being a slow geo-political year, I'm merely amused that the Yankees again missed the World Series. But, as I'm wont to do, let us begin this new step forward into the future with a quick glance into the past: this is 2014 Year in Review! Now, just as always: no bad news, no politics, no sad or angry stuff - just the good, the strange, the surreal, the fun. Ready? Go!

January

We got off to a great start in the International Year of Family Farming and Crystollography (no, seriously), as animal control in Orange County, Florida, kicked off the year by subduing a rogue kangaroo hopping about a city suburb. Apparently, it's legal to own one as a pet, provided you have the proper license. Only in Florida, I guess. Later in the month in Teresina, Brazil, a man drove two hours with a knife lodged into his head. Juacelo Nunes, whose name presumably mean "most astoundingly manly man ever", got into a fight at party with someone who takes fighting extremely poorly, then drove himself to the hospital with an 11 inch blade lodged in into his head - because I feel that bares repeating - for nearly two hours and got help. His survival was deemed not only exceptionally awesome, but miraculous and he made a full recovery. The next time you get a paper cut, I recommend you think back to how Nunes must have felt.

February

In February, the Olympic Winter Games are held in Sochi, Russia. The good news is more that they went off without Russia illegally annexing them than anything else. In other news, ThinkGeek.com announced the advent of a, and I'm quoting them here, "Tactical Laser-Guided Pizza Cutter" for more precise cutting of our pies. I just want it on the record that I am in 100% support of this kind of technological innovation. In equally-odd culinary news, it was unveiled in the Vatican, that Mirco Della Vecchia had created a life-sized replica of the Pope in solid chocolate, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "holy fudge". Or "Sweet Lord". I got a million of 'em.

March

A man from India, Pakkirappa Hunagundi, is reported by news sources to be in the habit of eating bricks, mud, and gravel in a condition called Pica. Oddly enough, not only does he claim to enjoy it, but also claims a perfect dental hygiene record. I'd make a joke here but I fear it would be tasteless. Early in the month Guinness Book of World Records officially recognized Cye as the smallest cat on record, standing tall and proud (or at least, just proud) 13.6 cm or 5.35 in. Hailing from Ontario, Canada, the little bundle of fluff is three years old and fully grown at his current, adorable size.

April

Because science needs more to do with their time, Argentina's National Institute of Agricultural Technology headed by one Pablo Sorondo, decided cows weren't contributing enough to society and had gas-collected backpacks strapped to them to - and I swear I am not making this up - collect their flatulence. Why? As a fuel source, of course, with estimates saying that one of these cans could power a car for roughly a 24 hour period. I don't even need to make any jokes about that, since your brains already did it for me. In Tampa, Florida, because I needed more proof Florida was weird, a lady called local authorities to report a visual phenomenon known as a sun halo (where certain angle of light causes a rainbow-like effect to form in a large circle above the viewer) to report it as a UFO. I'm not sure what the funniest part of that must've been: her freak out or 911's response.

May

May had an amazing breakthrough as mankind finally successfully landed a space probe on a comet. Rosetta, launched by the ESA in 2004, finally completed its 10 year journey to land atop Asteroid Steins. In August, the probe began mapping the surface. That's simply incredible. Regrettably, despite my best efforts, I could find no better news in the month and opted to move on.

June

In Minnesota, St Paul, a burglar broke into the home of one James Wood, and while there stealing items, logged into his facebook account and left it open for Wood to come home and find. This story isn't even unique. I can't believe how this keeps happening. Astrophysicists the same month discover that the universe apparently does have a smell: raspberries. Within swirling gas clouds that make up the center of the universe, the chemical ethyl formate was found - and is also found in raspberries and is largely responsible for their taste and smell. Go figure.

July

In Finland, the 19th annual Wife Carrying Race was held. Yes, that's a thing. Husbands heft their wives atop their backs in the just-shy-of 300 yard dash and the winner gets their wife's weight in beer. Yeah, apparently that's a thing that's been happening for nearly two decades. And scientists off the coast of California discover the rather unusual Skeleton Shrimp, a shrimp born with no pigmentation and is thus has a transparent shell. As an aside, with all due respect to Dave Barry, Skeleton Shrimp would make an extremely awesome band name.

August

Because Satan is alive and well in the world, a woman living in Winchester, England, discovered her guest bed had become a three-foot long wasp nest. The blanket and large parts of the mattress and pillows had been reduced to a paper-mache-like quality according to exterminator, John Birkett, commented, and must've been built over the course of about three months. I do not know how someone fails to see a given room of their own house for over three months but, man, they must have absolutely hated their guests.

September

A man, who shall remain nameless, was found smuggling 51 tiny turtles in his pants along the USA-Canada border. That almost sounds like it could double as a euphemism, but it's true. Speaking of aquatic life forms, at around the same time, the world's largest swimming pool, measuring 40 meters deep, in Italy. It's actually built into part of a building and a ways underground beneath it. Why is beyond me, unless they plan on letting sharks go for a dip too. Then again, I might pay good money to see that too, so maybe I'm the sucker here.

October

In Moc Chau plateau, Vietnam, a cow beauty contest (also not a euphemism for anything) called Miss Milk Cow took place. Having to type that sentence and mean it makes me lose faith in this species. Speaking of animals, rare white lion cubs were born in Belgrade Zoo, in Serbia. In far more immature news, a Welsh ATM at Aberystwyth, a city I will never be able to visit on account I haven't the foggiest how to pronounce it, had an amusing translation error with the phrase "codi arian heb dâl" which is supposed to say "Money lifted without fee". Due to an error, the phrase was translated "codiad am ddim" or, "free erections".

November

Would you believe I couldn't find anything funny in November? I know, it doesn't seem possible, but sometimes the bad news dominates the waves and we have no choice but to move on to...

December

In Hawaii, an enormous, invasive species of crab known as the coconut crab (the largest terrestrial crab species) was found just casually walking down the street. And speaking of crustaceans of unusual size, the Goliath Birdeater Spider was found in South America, and described as a larger cousin to the more-familiar tarantula spider, but the size and weight of a puppy. We shall no doubt all see this beast in our nightmares. And to end the year on something cute and fluffy instead of mortifying, a recent trend is apparently dressing up chow-chow dogs as pandas, with brilliant black and white coloration. There were some concerns for a time about health worries, but groomers insist there's no harm in the coloring process. And it's pretty darn cute!

And come 2015...

Welcome to the International Years of Light and Soils, because whatever the United Nations is on, it's good stuff. We all here are SSBBW Magazine hope that this year is better than last year, but to be honest, none of us are holding our breath. Hope you and yours had wonderful holidays and a happy new year!

Written by: Jeff M.


"New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."
~Mark Twain
"Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true."
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

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