Times change, trends change. Last week, even the number of the year on the refrigerator calendar changed.
But pick up a paper or flip on the news and you realize one thing -- the news never changes.
Yes, thanks to the wires and leading newspapers, to kick off yet another year of devoted news gathering, this is our latest collection of News Is Stranger Than Fiction items …
- In Kazakhstan, after complaining of "occasional sharp pains" in his abdominal region, a 53-year-old patient underwent surgery to remove a pair of scissors surgeons realized they had left from an appendectomy back in ’02.
- After a contest at an office holiday party in Boston, a man was rushed to the hospital when he chugged a quart of eggnog in only 12 seconds and won a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant. But he drank it too quickly and it all "went down the wrong pipe" -- literally. His lungs had to be cleaned out of 32 ounces of eggnog.
- In the parking lot of a Luigi's restaurant in a mall in Farmington, Mich., police received reports of "sexual activity" going on in the back seat of a Buick Regal that was drawing a crowd of onlookers, many hovering near the windows of the restaurant. When police rapped on the car window and asked the two naked occupants what they were doing, a 54-year-old man looked up and said, "I'm (having sex with) this chick." He was arrested on misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure and disorderly intoxication as was the "chick," a 71-year-old woman the man had met in a mall pub.
- In Jerusalem, where skirmishes along the Gaza Strip continue to make the area a full-scale war zone, a local telephone company launched a new phone app that warns you when your home is about to be bombed or, with a simple swipe of the screen, warns others that you’ve potentially been kidnapped.
- After a traffic stop in Tarrytown, N.Y., where a 40-year-old was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the motorist was handed by an officer the results of his blood-alcohol test and he either did not like the results or remembered he should always eat something when drinking -- because he ate his test results, in front of officers.
- In Gates, N.Y., a 26-year-old woman who was arrested at 2 a.m. on DUI charges as she left a party was booked, processed and released to a sober friend, who then abandoned the woman’s car, forcing her to take the wheel. At 5 a.m., she then got pulled over and received her second DUI in three hours.
- At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga., medical authorities warned that the new-age practice of "endlessly texting or reading one's cellphone" has its hazards and that "text neck" already was reaching epidemic proportions and could, they added, lead to serious spinal injury later in life.
- In Dover, Del., a 32-year-old employee at a medical clinic filed suit against it, claiming he awoke from anesthesia after a colonoscopy to find himself dressed in a skimpy pair of pink women’s underwear. It was a prank on the part of others at the clinic that the man did not find humorous.
Finally, our own favorite:
- In Honolulu, Hawaii, a family that lost its cat in the process of a 4,690-mile move from Suffolk, Va., then also found it 36 days later when they heard a “meow” in the garage of their new home, opened a box still unpacked from the move and, even without food or water for five weeks, out walked Mee Moowe, their 3-year-old cat.