Editor's note: Enjoy some of the highlights from the weird year that was 2019.
People Different From Us
Asparagus is healthy and delicious. But for 63-year-old Jemima Packington of Bath, England, the columnar vegetable is much more: Packington is an asparamancer, a person who can foretell the future by tossing the spears into the air and seeing how they land. "When I cast the asparagus, it creates patterns, and it is the patterns I interpret," Packington said. "I am usually about 75% to 90% accurate." In fact, out of 13 predictions she made for 2018, 10 of them came true. What's in store for 2019? Packington tells Metro News that England's women's soccer team will win the World Cup; A Star Is Born will win an Oscar; and fears over Brexit will be largely unfounded. Oh, and asparagus will see an all-time high in sales.
People With Issues
KION TV reported on Jan. 7, 2019, that a Salinas, Calif., family's Ring doorbell camera captured video of a man licking the doorbell for more than three hours. The homeowners were out of town during the encounter, which took place around 5 a.m., but their children were inside. Sylvia Dungan, who was alerted to the activity at her front door on her phone, said, "I thought, boy there's a lot of traffic. ... Who the heck is that?" Salinas police identified the man as Roberto Daniel Arroyo, 33. Arroyo also relieved himself in the front yard and visited a neighbor's house. "You kind of laugh about it afterwards because technically he didn't do anything," Dungan said, although police later charged him with petty theft and prowling.
Blame It on the Meth
Debra Lynn Johnson, 69, of Searles, Minn., suffered from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and mental illnesses, according to the Mankato Free Press, and was a patient at a transitional care center before her husband took her home to have a "death party," he later told authorities. Brown County sheriff's officers responding to a 911 call from Duane Arden Johnson, 58, on Jan. 24 found the words "Death Parde God Hell" spray-painted on the front door. Duane came out of the house naked, yelled that his wife was dead and ran back inside, where officers found him in the bathtub picking "things" from his skin. Debra's body, still warm, was wrapped in a sheet. Duane told police his wife had begged him to take her home to die, so they had staged the party, "rocking out" to Quiet Riot's "Metal Health" and taking methamphetamines. After her death, Duane said he washed and wrapped her "like the Bible told me to do." Police found stolen guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the home, and Duane was charged with felony counts of theft and receiving stolen property.
Sharisha Morrison of Albuquerque, N.M., and her neighbors have been the recipients since Jan. 1, 2019, of an odd gift: plastic grocery bags with slices of bread and bologna inside, delivered by an unknown man. At first, Morrison told KOB TV, she thought the food deliveries were acts of kindness, until she opened the bag and smelled the contents. "It smelled like urine," she said. Morrison said she can watch the man on her surveillance camera. "He'll just walk up and drop it on the little doorknob and walk away," she said. "I just want it to stop." Police have told her they can't do anything unless they catch him in the act.
• Zack Pinsent, 25, from Brighton, England, hasn't dressed in modern clothing since he was 14 years old. Instead, he makes and wears clothes that were popular in the 1800s. "At 14, I made the symbolic decision to burn my only pair of jeans in a bonfire. It was a real turning point," Pinsent told Metro News. On a typical day, Pinsent wears a floral waistcoat and knee-high leather riding boots, along with a jacket with tails and a top hat. He explains that his obsession started when his family found a box of his great-grandfather's suits. He now researches, designs and sews clothing for himself and other history buffs, to great response: "I've been all over the world and people are inquisitive and appreciative," he said.
Silence of the Lambs, indeed. A Manchester, England, woman named Joan has a unique project in mind for a custom clothing designer. Joan, 55, is anticipating having her leg amputated because of peripheral arterial disease, reported the Daily Mail, so she posted on sewport.com, requesting help to "create something beautiful and useful"—a handbag, using her own skin. She has budgeted about $3,900 for the project, which she envisions as a "medium-sized handbag with a short strap and a section down the middle that will be made from my skin," she explained in the post. "I know it's a bit odd and gross ... but it's my leg, and I can't bear the thought of it being left to rot somewhere." There are no laws against her keeping the limb, although there is paperwork to fill out. Boris Hodakel, the founder of sewport.com, reports that no designers have come forward yet to help with Joan's request.
Dumb and Dumber
Rogers, Ark., neighbors Charles Eugene Ferris, 50, and Christopher Hicks, 36, were hanging out on Ferris' back porch on March 31, drinking and enjoying the spring air. Ferris was wearing his bulletproof vest—because why not?—and invited Hicks to shoot him with a .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle. KFSM reported the vest blocked the bullet from striking Ferris, but it still hurt and left a red mark on his upper chest. Next, Hicks donned the vest and Ferris "unloaded the clip into Christopher's back," according to the police report, also leaving bruises. That's where it all would have ended had Ferris not gone to the hospital, where staff alerted the Benton County Sheriff's Office. Ferris initially told officers an elaborate story about being shot while protecting "an asset" in a dramatic gunfight, but Ferris' wife spilled the beans about the back-porch challenge. Both men were arrested for suspicion of aggravated assault.
The High Price of Vanity
A "vampire facial" is a procedure during which blood is drawn with a needle and then "spun" to separate the plasma, which is then injected into the face. For customers of a spa in Albuquerque, N.M., though, the most lasting effects may come after a blood test. The state's Department of Health is urging customers of VIP Spa, which closed in September 2018, to undergo HIV testing after two people were infected following treatment there. Dr. Dean Bair of the Bair Medical Spa said people should always make sure they're going to a licensed facility for such procedures. "This is just the worst example of what can go wrong," he told KOAT. The spa closed after inspectors found its practices could potentially spread blood-borne infections, including hepatitis B and C as well as HIV.
TSA agents at Juneau International Airport logged unexpected cargo on April 15 when a "large organic mass" was spotted in a traveler's carry-on bag. TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein explained to KTOO that such a flag can indicate the presence of explosives. However, when agents opened the bag, they found a plastic grocery bag full of moose "nuggets." "The passenger told the TSA officers that he collects this and likes to present it 'for politicians and their (bleep) policies,'" Farbstein explained. The passenger was not detained and was allowed to continue on with his bag of moose poop. Later that day, the Anchorage Daily News reported that a man was seen at the state capitol, handing out baggies of moose nuggets in protest of Gov. Mike Dunleavy's proposed budget.
It's Come to This
The Pokemon Co. has made Japanese brides' dreams come true with its announcement that it is collaborating with a wedding planner to offer sanctioned ceremonies with its characters in attendance, dressed as a bride and groom. Yes, Pikachu will stand up with you and your betrothed (as long as you go to Japan to tie the knot), and the icing on the cake is Pokemon-themed food items and a Pikachu cake topper. Finally, United Press International reports, for your scrapbook, you'll have a marriage certificate decorated with Pokemon imagery—surely an item you'll want to preserve in a licensed Pokemon photo frame.
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