Scary year 

Most years of Century 21 so far have been downers, ranging from glum to grim.

This year we might've moved up a little, into a kind of hopeful mediocrity. Sort of like the Razorbacks.

But only into the trashier outskirts of mediocrity. We might've made it on up into solid-ground, middle-level mediocrity but for the economy teetering ever more perilously on the brink. And as '08 dies it looks no better than 50-50 for Soylent Green in '09.

Here's how it is in Lower Mediocrity: More deer were harvested by automobiles than by hunters in Arkansas in 2008. Is that statistic a Best or a Worst? Having like Bush appointed myself the Decider, I'm going with the former. But then it's balanced by the earthquakes here in central Arkansas near year's end that are said to possibly presage a Big One coming along a heretofore unknown fault line.

No way that's anything but a Worst — if the prospect of a massive fissure where your finally-paid-for house used to be leaves you unsettled, or at least bummed, as it does me.

The annual b-w compilation follows, and you might notice the aforementioned balance of indicators, how it neither especially uplifts or demoralizes — a Best for every Worst, and of course, as Pap used to say, vicey versey. 


Worst wedding

A hillbilly creekbank wedding near Dover in May saw the bride and groom shot by a guest apparently offended by how their dog greeted his'n at the ceremony. The perp also shot two other people at the wedding for good measure, then lit out in his pickup, reportedly at speeds topping 100 mph. Other guests in their pickups lit out after him, and after a classic hill-and-holler chase he was arrested near Russellville. The national TV tabloid shows had a high old time with this one, especially with the garrulous bride with the trailer accent and the gaping gash across her forehead that made her look eerily like the Bride of Frankenstein.


Best buffet

The obituary in January of a Mayflower man began not by saying that he had died but that he had “answered the dinner bell to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” It went on to describe relatives who had died before him as “saving him a place at the table” and relatives who survived him as “aggravated at their brother for cutting in line” and “hoping they do not have to wait in any buffet line behind him.”


Worst exposure

A 69-year-old Prairie Grove man was sentenced to six months in jail for indecent exposure in May after strolling nude onto his shrub-surrounded patio and being espied there by a sharp-eyed neighbor lady, who, according to testimony, had to do some major craning to spot something that offended her.


Best Gay

It was big news in June when, in an Olympics prep race, Tyson Gay, former Razorback sprinter, dashed the fastest 100 meters ever. Even the OneNewsNow website of the homophobic American Family Association ran the Associated Press news story about Gay's feat. Only problem was, the site's software had been programmed to replace the rather cheerful and respectable-sounding word “gay” with the more sinister-sounding word “homosexual” every time it appeared, so its banner-headlined article had Tyson Homosexual, rather than Tyson Gay, making the record-breaking dash. (Yes, they're morons.)




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