2012 had its highs and lows

Any columnist worth his salt would take a look back at 2012 and review the major events of the year. So being worth no more than a saltine, here it goes. Obviously the biggest story locally is the Olympic Gold Medal leap in women’s pole vault by Jenn Suhr. She went over a bar higher than 15 feet which is about 14 1/2 feet above my comfort level.

If you live in Fredonia, there’s another story that rivals the gold medal. It was a huge event for some of us to drink water from the tap without first passing it through the radiation of a nuclear blast. Of course, for all we know, the water may have come from the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, via Lake Erie, via northeasterly bound currents, via the Dunkirk water intake, via pipes and pumps uphill to your prize-winning Fredonia faucet.

Many would claim that the re-election of President Obama was the most important story but, come on, give me a break. He ran against a guy who has more money than God’s rich uncle and exudes all the warmth of Joseph Stalin. Obama’s beating Romney was as much a surprise as the Bills missing the playoffs for the 13th consecutive year. That’ll teach the Bills to abandon Fredonia State as summer camp. Clint Eastwood talked to an empty chair at the Republican convention which was prophetic of the Republican victory party on Nov. 6.

Then there was the nail-biting fiscal cliffhanger on New Year’s Eve. If you were like most of our nation, you were rooting for the cliff, not to swallow the nation, but to swallow the feckless members of Congress.

If you’ll recall, there were several days in 2012 which did not present a Lindsay Lohan news story of her driving a car through someone’s dining room or slugging it out with another sweet heart lady in a bar. Oh yeah, and there were days when she wasn’t stealing jewelry off her best friend’s finger. Her career took a big hit by her portrayal of Liz Taylor in the movie “Liz and Dick.” She defended her work because she was playing the role of Richard Burton.

Then there was the story of Felix Baumgartner last October. This maniacally brave Austrian guy said “sometimes you have to go really high to see how small you really are.” Well, obviously Felix had been sampling too much Austrian spiked coffee because he rode a balloon to 128,000 feet which is 127,999 feet too high for a chicken golfer who’s afraid of one-foot putts. If reaching that altitude wasn’t nutty enough, he jumped out of a gondola in an attempt to become the world’s fastest man. He accomplished his goal beating the old record by a guy running for the Tijuana Bell restroom following the consumption of a Hiroshima Burrito.

Felix reached a speed of 833.9 mph, becoming the first man to break the sound barrier. I probably would have broken the sound barrier, too, on the way down as my screams reached every corner of the earth.

Here are some zany stories you may have missed that lit up the world at various venues.

A frog the size of a house fly was discovered making it the world’s smallest vertebrate. For your information a vertebrate is an animal with a backbone which is a creature not found in Congress. He is only 7.7 mm. long and is named Paedophryne amauensis. This animal is smaller than an M&M which will not melt in your hand, but if kept there long enough, he will go potty in it. This teeny weeny frog name Paedophryne amauensis means in everyday lingo, “his wife is very disappointed.” This frog is so tiny he is only able to say “rib” unlike his bigger cousins who say “ribbit.” Despite their diminutive state, these frogs are incredibly good jumpers leaping 30 times their body length. This is sometimes matched by men during a prostate exam.

Scientists at the University of Sydney have discovered that a species of slime mold organism has a memory but no brain. This definitely is encouraging news for those who are counting on an improving political climate in Washington. This organism can recognize it’s own slimy trail where our human equivalents recognize their trails by their own legislation.

Off the coast of Russia last April, a white killer whale named Iceberg was spotted. It was swimming with his pod of other black whales, though as expected, slower and less able to jump. He seemed to be accepted by all except for another killer whale from the species donaldlis trumpicus. This whale demanded to see Iceberg’s birth certificate. Scientists believe Iceberg could be an albino. If he has pink eyes it would indicate so, where as blood shot eyes would indicate a diet of fermented seal.

An Australian guy locked himself behind a glass store window for three weeks along with 300 poisonous spiders as a way to raise money for a children’s charity. The other choices the he turned down were an hour with the former cast of Jersey Shore; a half hour of listening to Justin Bieber’s song “BABY”; or 10 minutes with the Kardashians.

A morgue in a Turkish city just installed motion detectors to recognize any movement that may have been missed. And just in case anyone still alive is put into the morgue’s refrigerator, they installed an interior door handle to provide an exit for someone chilled but still ticking. This area of Turkey must have some of the toughest people in the world or the dumbest coroners. But with Obamacare on the way, these features may become necessary for all USA morgues.

This one has to make you smile. The Chinese government has finally banned strippers at funerals. Apparently, there’s a certain element in China that hold to the belief that the deceased’s quality of the afterlife is improved by the number of individuals who attend the funeral. So rather than an expensive free buffet or fireworks, they hire strippers. This ruling should alleviate the Chinese shortage of one yuan bills. One wonders if free lap dances were provided for the best eulogies.

Finally, here are two stories that leave us with a happy ending for 2012. Though Gen. David Patreus ended his affair with a lonely Patricia Broadwell, he gave her phone number to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

And the nationally famous 30 year-old Georgetown grad student named Sandra Fluke, who went before Congress pleading for free birth control coverage in health insurance, received her favorite Christmas present; a year supply of birth control pills in her stocking hung with care. So, Sandra, Happy New Year.

Nin Privitera is a Fredonia resident whose column appears monthly. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com