2011.12.14 Hey, Santa! How about more weird news in 2012?

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY 

 Upon reviewing some of my notes and previous columns for the year, 2011 seems to be rather lacking in the weirdness quotient of recent years. To be fair, there were a few interesting moments….

Take, for instance, the Oregon woman who had dental surgery and came to with a foreign accent. Karen Butler had surgery to be fitted with dentures and woke up talking funny. Her dentist said the problem would go away as she became accustomed to the dentures, but that turned out not to be the case.

Well over a year later, Butler still speaks, depending on who is listening, with a British, Swedish or Eastern European accent. After some online research, she self-diagnosed herself with Foreign Accent Syndrome. Only a few dozen cases have been reported, usually after a brain injury. 

At least she has working dentures, which is pretty important if you want to eat. And that is exactly what Don Gorske from Wisconsin has been doing-eating Big Mac after Big Mac-for the last 39 years. 

Gorske, who has obsessive-compulsive disorder, has missed eating a Big Mac only eight days since eating his first at age 18 on May 17, 1972. On May 17, 2011, he ate his 25,000th Big Mac on the 39th anniversary of eating his first. That’s an average of 641 per year, nearly two per day for 39 years. The Guinness folks declared him a world record holder after he ate a total of 23,000 of the sandwiches.

When his local McDonald’s started giving receipts in 1994, Gorske began saving them to document his consumption. And by the way, the 6 feet, 2 inch tall Gorske weighs 180 pounds.

Arch West, who created the Doritos corn chip, passed away in September at age 97. His family made plans to honor the former Frito-Lay executive by scattering Doritos on his grave before filling it in with dirt. West came up with the idea for Doritos in 1961, but it was six years before the first retail bags hit the shelves.

A September article in the New York Times told of the deliberate burning of natural gas by oil companies in North Dakota. In the western part of the state, companies extracting oil from the Bakken shale field find it unprofitable to build the pipelines needed to bring the gas to market so it is burned off instead.

At night, hundreds of fires can be seen across the prairie. Over 100 million cubic feet of natural gas is burned off each day, an amount the article says will heat 500,000 homes for a day. That means more than the amount needed to heat the entire lightly-populated state is burned off as waste every day.

One of the stranger class action lawsuits filed in recent years was settled in 2011. The suit claimed that certain models of Kenmore and LG refrigerators had a defect that caused the interior light to stay on after the door was closed. Now how do you think this “problem” was discovered in the first place? Did the cottage cheese complain?

The companies have agreed to pay “for repairs necessitated by the actual manifestation of the light remaining on when the door is closed.” What actual trouble was being caused? Were the milk and eggs having problems sleeping at night with that light in their eyes?

Do you have a favorite celebrity you’d like to see on a stamp? In September, the United States Postal Service announced that it was changing its rule requiring subjects of stamps to be deceased and would, starting in late 2012, begin honoring living people on postage stamps as well.

Postal officials hope the move will create excitement and possibly attract younger people to snail mail instead of email. For that to happen, we could end up with some interesting subjects on stamps. Kanye West, maybe? Or Lady Gaga?

It’s a good thing the postal service didn’t come up with this idea 20 years ago, or we might have had Vanilla Ice or MC Hammer on our stamps. The Postmaster General gets to make the final decision on the first living nominee. Maybe he’s a Meat Loaf fan. 

I guess upon further review, 2011 was a pretty interesting year after all. And I know I won’t really have to ask Santa for a more fascinating 2012. After all, it’s an election year. And it looks like we’ve got a cast of characters sure to make it a weird one.

  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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