Best of the Bizarre — 2009 Edition

by Mike Duran

Had enough of the traditional year-end “Best Of” lists? Me too. I mean, why worry about the Top Ten Movies or Albums of the year when 2009 yielded so many other oddities. Here’s a sampling:

America’s Most Literate Cities of 2009 — Apparently, living within earshot of the City of Angels still lands me thousands of miles from a literate city. How about you?

Worst Book Titles of the Year — L.A. Times’ Jacket Copy has compiled some noteworthy entries. Among them, “Reading Toes,” “I Was Tortured By the Pygmy Love Queen,”and “The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories.” But the best has got to be “Dr. Albert Heindstein’s Contemporary English Dictionary of Flatulence” — perfect for bathroom reading.

Best Jesus Junk of the Year — Hey, what would another year be without Christians ripping off pop culture and producing more kitschy, borderline blasphemous, merchandise. The Jesus Christ Celebriduck Limited Edition Collectible Rubber Duck has to rank high on the list. T-shirts are always popular. So how about a Jesus BFF or a Jesus is My Boyfriend shirt for someone special? The “Ex-Masturbator” T-shirt campaign is sure to keep them lining up. My favorite, however, is the End-Times Survivalist Bible Cover, complete with compass for navigating plague-ravaged, post-nuclear, Armageddons.

Top 10 Crytozoology Stories of the Year — Sasquatch and the Chupacabra are so yesterday. Now pygmy hippos and baby coelacanths are all the rage. And if that doesn’t do it for you, there’s this headline: “Yeti Stalked Bikini-Clad Student.” Why hunt sherpas when you can stalk bikini-clad coeds?

The Best Notable Quotables of 2009 — Media Research Center annually compiles the most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes of the year. Not for the Left-of-heart.

The Worst Band Names of the Year — AV Club’s The Year in Band Names compiles such quirky handles as “Ska Skank Redemption,” “Cerebral Ballzy,” and “Libido Funk Circus.” But “Put Down the Muffin” takes top honors. Um, it sounded cool on paper…

2009’s Top 12 Weird News Stories — As if the regular news isn’t weird enough, this year produced stories about a man given a DUI when he crashed his motorized La-Z-Boy, a woman who somehow managed to conceive a second child while pregnant with her first, and a girl who fell into a manhole while texting. However, I am partial to the Brazilian environmental group’s campaign asking people to save water by peeing in the shower. Hey, I’m doing my part!

List of Banished Words for 2009 — Lake Superior State University has been banning trendy, over-used words for a while. This year’s word is a no-brainer — “green.

Top Ten Dinosaur and Fossil Finds — Only National Geographic could relish saber-toothed crocs and giant trilobites. And, of course, “another” missing link was discovered. That makes how many now?

Unanswered Questions of 2009 — Can’t accuse Slate of not probing the unanswered mysteries of our existence. This year, their noodling has unearthed such unexplained questions as “How many human female eggs would it take to make an omelet?”, “Why do gang bangers hold their guns sideways?”, and “Where can I buy wine that has the word frog in its label?” But by far the most puzzling of all the questions: “How would the law punish Siamese twins if one of the twins committed murder?” Now there’s a conundrum.

The 50 Worst Hairstyles of All Time — And all this while I thought Vanilla Ice’s Van Winkle was cool…

So there it is — a smidgen of weirdness for your edification or dismay. Happy Holidays to you from the staff a Novel Journey!