By RICH FOLEY
As 2017 nears the end, it’s time for a little look back at some of the highlights, or maybe low lights, depending on your point of view. Some events might qualify as both. You be the judge.
For instance, most folks in Texas were happy when the Houston Astros won baseball’s World Series, their first championship in the team’s 55-year history. One person, however, couldn’t have imagined a worse outcome.
Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale owns a furniture chain in Texas. He ran a promotion earlier this year in which he promised a full refund to anyone spending $3,000 or more on bedroom items if the Astros were to win the World Series.
It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. There’s no way the Astros could win, right? Wrong. Mattress Mike is probably regretting being such a promotional genius as customers are now due about $10 million in refunds. On the other hand, he lost $11 million total on two other sports promotions in 2014 so he must be able to afford it.
In Bretten, Germany, an 81-year-old man called police after finding what he thought was a World War II-era bomb in his garden. Unfortunately, calls like this are not uncommon in Germany as unexploded bombs are often discovered by construction workers, causing evacuations of residents until the bombs are deactivated.
In this case, the “bomb” was discovered to actually be a 15-inch-long zucchini. Police weren’t upset with the caller as a spokesman said that the vegetable “really did look very much like a bomb.” Police assumed that someone trying to dispose of it threw it over the man’s hedge into his garden. Wouldn’t it have been a lot less trouble just to make zucchini bread?
In our “What’s in a name” department, the World Taekwondo Federation shortened its official name to simply World Taekwondo earlier this year. It seems that they kept running into problems because of the internet usage of its WTF acronym in a much different interpretation. Remember in 1972 when detractors of President Nixon started referring to his Committee to Re-Elect the President by the unfortunate acronym CREEP? The Taekwondo folks probably wish they could be as lucky as Nixon.
I can’t believe a lawyer hasn’t got involved in this next item, although since it appeared in Sports Illustrated earlier this year, that situation may have changed. Back in 2011, NFL cornerback Antonio Cromartie had a vasectomy. Since at that time he was already the father of ten children, both with and without the participation of his wife, that wasn’t a particularly shocking decision.
What was surprising was that eventually, child number 11 came along despite the procedure. I’ve heard of that happening, but not what came next. If you’re guessing it was child number 12, you are correct. And after that came number 13, which I suppose you’d have to call a stork’s dozen.
The SI item in late May concerned Cromartie’s announcement that his wife was pregnant with child number 14, the fourth since his operation. Once the children are a bit older, Cromartie can field his own football team and still have some second stringers. I’m betting Antonio’s surgeon doesn’t brag about him being a patient, especially to his doctor friends.
And finally, there’s the oddest political story of the year, if not all time. I know, that’s quite a claim, particularly when you consider the current political climate. But bear with me and you might agree.
In Israel, a Labor Party election scheduled for last July had to be postponed due to the fact that, and I swear I’m not making this up, the original day chosen for the election turned out to be the same day that a Britney Spears concert was taking place in Tel Aviv.
I didn’t realize Ms. Spears carried such weight in Israeli political circles. A spokesman for the Labor Party claimed the vote was postponed due to the fact that so much security and traffic control was needed for both the concert and election that they couldn’t be held the same day.
That may be true, but the postponement also allowed all the political movers and shakers to attend her concert. Maybe Ms. Spears should look into the possibility of running for office there herself. How does Prime Minister Spears sound? Britney, it’s the chance of a lifetime. Better not let it pass you by.