Sadly, I do not live anywhere near Happy Planet’s Happiest Countries in the World 2012. Which means I must find joy in curating oddball lists of the years’ esoteric and arcane. But what a joy it is!
Being that the U.S. economy continues to tank, suppose we start with Wired Magazine’s 8 Craziest Job Openings in the Military. Why deliver pizzas and clean tables at the burger joint when you can be a Twitter Stalker, a Yiddish Linguist, a Mexican Drug War Instructor, or a Top Secret Janitor?
No telling how long these jobs will be around. Either way, Popular Mechanics is sure about these 10 Things That Will Disappear in the Next 110 Years. Postage stamps, C batteries, eyeglasses, band-aids, snow tires, and wallets, to name a few.
Even though some things are fading, we’re still getting smarter. The BBC Magazine Monitor lists 100 Things We Didn’t Know Last Year, with such startling facts as
95. Virgin birth is possible for wild snakes.
88. Watching a horror film burns more calories than movies of other genres.
81. People prone to feeling guilty make for the best friends.
76. One in every 10 people uses the same Pin number – 1234.
73. The average Mexican eats 430 eggs each year, the highest per capita amount of any nation.
64. Olympic swimmers pee in the pool.
57. The Nazis plotted to kill Sir Winston Churchill with an exploding bar of chocolate.
36. Bob Marley banned smoking at home.
34. A dog can be best man at a wedding.
And since we’re learning things at such a rapid rate, you might want to know about some words you should no longer be using. Lake Superior State University’s 2012 List of Banished Words axes such idioms as “occupy,” “blowback,” “man cave,” “baby bump,” “ginormous,” and “shared sacrifice.” Maris’ 4th annual Most Annoying Word or Phrase of the Year continues to be… “whatever.” Followed closely by “like,” “ya know,” and “just sayin’.” Then there’s Global Language Monitor’s Top Politically Incorrect Buzzwords of 2012 which includes:
13.) Prayer — In public the favored word substitute for ‘prayer’ is now ‘thoughts,’ as in ‘keep them in your thoughts and wishes’.
9.) Rule of Thumb (UK) — Originates from the old English dictum that a husband could not beat his wife or children with any stick wider than his thumb.
8.) Holding Down the Fort — Possibly offensive to Native Americans, since we all know who the fort was being held down against.
5.) Pet Owner — It is becoming less acceptable to ‘own’ animals, pet owners have been transformed into ‘pet guardians’.
4.) Normal (Australia) — According to new guidelines, normal persons in the presence of people with disabilities should not be referred to as ‘normal’ but rather non-disabled persons.
1.) ‘His and Her’ (Sweden) – The Swedes once again promoting gender-neutrality, this time its with personal pronouns: him [han in Swedish], her [hon] and he/she [hen].
On the other side of the aisle, American Cards offered us Top Ten Politically Correct Christmas Carols, with
5. Grandma Allegedly Got Run Over By an Unidentified Non-Human Perpetrator
4. Deck the Halls with Boughs of Non-endangered Foliage (If office policy permits)
3. Hark! The Herald Mythical Winged Creature Sings
2. I Saw Mommy Greeting Santa Claus with a Purely Platonic Expression of Inoffensive Mutual Affection
1. I’ll Be Home for a Short Period of Time in December
Google’s Zeitgeist 2012 places Whitney Houston as the Most Searched item on the web this year. San Fransisco was the Most Searched City, Toronto the Most Searched International Travel Destination, and One Direction the Most Searched Image of the year.
If you’re soon to be expecting, Baby Center has ranked the 100 Most Popular Baby Names of 2012, with Sophia and Aiden taking the top spots prospectively. Not to be outdone, Nameberry aggregates its Most Viewed Names of 2012 with Katniss and Finn holding the #1 spot. And they’ve conveniently included a Unisex category in the event that your child happens to be, um, genderless.
And while we’re on the subject of names, CMJ’s annual Top 5 Bad Band Names had lots to choose from. Apparently, these five were the worst of the really awful:
- Vagina Panther
- Mr. Muthafu*kin eXquire
- Hard Nips
- The Harmonica Lewinskies
- Butter the Children
Makes Steely Dan look positively Victorian.
Of course, there was plenty in the news. Like HuffPo’s Top 10 Weird News Stories of 2012 (Caution: Raunchy!). We all heard about Justin Beiber, Honey Boo-Boo, and Superstorm Sandy. But did you hear about the testicle eating fish, the sushi-eating woman whose tongue was inseminated by a squid, or anal tattoos? Their #1 Weird News Story for 2012: A Brazilian woman auctioning off her virginity for $780,000. Purportedly, this prostitute, er, damsel, was donating the proceeds to charity.
And for those of you who are constantly scouring the interwebs for a deal, CraigsList Best of Craiglist always has some “finds”. A sampling of this years’ treasure include such ads as:
- Mini-Marshmallow Hand-Feeder — Opportunities For Advancement
- Possibly in Need of Exorcist
- Feline Lap Surrogate
- Vintage Man-Sized Pepper in a Baby Carriage
- NEED MAD SCIENTIST TO CLONE DOG
- Burning Man Mutant Vehicle/Art Car
- Deity Wanted
And that’s just scratching the surface of the truly bizarre. So until next year, keep your decoders handy and your tin foil hat firmly in place. Here’s looking forward to a blessed — and bizarre — 2013!