Funny Thing ... 2007
Jan. 3: Crude oil prices open the year at $58.32 a barrel. Ah, the good old days.
Jan. 4: Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female to serve as Speaker of the House — just 87 years after women got the vote.
Jan. 8: The 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show opens in Las Vegas with the traditional Running of the Geeks.
Jan 10: President Bush says he takes responsibility for any mistakes in Iraq — even though he famously couldn't think of any during a debate some 14 months earlier — and announces an increase of U.S. troops there, a mission he calls “Operation More of the Same.”
Jan. 11: The Writers Guild nominations are announced. Still no category for Best Reasonably Grammatical Humor Column by an Apprentice Pundit.
Jan 14: The American Meteorological Society opens its annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas. Top item on the agenda: "Heat Index vs. Wind-Chill Factor: Which is the Biggest Crock?"
Jan. 23: During his State of the Union Address, President Bush implores Congress to give his controversial plan to send more troops to Iraq “a chance to work.” He also mispronounces “nuclear” again.
Jan. 24: A riot ensues at the annual Conference of Mayors winter meeting when all of the participants try to gavel the proceedings open at once.
Jan. 25: The Ford Motor Co. says it lost $12.7 billion in 2006. Exxon Mobil Corp. finds this hysterically funny.
Feb. 2: A panel of scientists says global warming is “very likely” man-made. Unfortunately it doesn't say by which man.
Feb. 5: NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak is arrested and accused of trying to kidnap a rival for the affections of another astronaut. You don't remember this case? What if we used the term “adult diapers”? Yes, that case.
Feb. 11: The International Toy Fair opens in New York. Attention surrounds the newest toy for adults: Whip Me Elmo!
Feb. 14: All Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter made at a Georgia plant is recalled because of a salmonella outbreak. The makers of Jif find this hysterically funny.
Feb. 16: Locked in a battle over custody rights with her ex-husband, Britney Spears shaves her head and gets a tattoo. And enters rehab. This turns out to be one of her better days this year.
Feb. 19: It's President's Day. George W. Bush appears at a press conference wearing a party hat and asks, "where's my cake?"
Feb. 21: Britney Spears, who has been in and out of rehab twice this week, attacks a car with an umbrella.
Feb. 22: Britain’s Ministry of Defense says Prince Harry will be deployed to Iraq but later reverses the decision when the meaning of “deployed” is explained.
Feb. 24: Virginia's General Assembly passes a resolution expressing “profound regret” for the state’s role in slavery. No word from the general assembly in Mississippi, which still includes the Confederate battle flag on its state flag.
Feb. 25: Quick — name five great Martin Scorsese movies ... “Taxi Driver” ... “Raging Bull” ... “Goodfellas” ... “The Last Temptation of Christ” ... “Mean Streets.” Good. Now name the one he won a best director Academy Award for on this date. Can't remember? “The Departed.”
Feb. 26: The “forever” stamp — which can be used to mail a letter no matter how much postal rates rise — is introduced.
Feb. 27: The Dow Jones industrial average drops 546 points as investors react to projected losses in the postage stamp market.
March 6: Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff, Scooter Libby, is indicted for lying, obstructing a federal investigation and having a 9-year-old’s nickname.
March 8: In going a long way toward explaining the results of the last two presidential elections, voters watching “American Idol” select Sanjaya Malakar as one of 12 finalists.
March 11: Daylight savings time begins, causing no end of complaints about "losing an hour" from people who spend at least twice that much time each night sitting in front of the television.
March 13: Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez admits mistakes were made in how the Justice Department handled the dismissal of eight federal prosecutors. When asked if he will resign, he affixes a “forever” stamp to his forehead.
March 14: President Bush says he’s not happy the Justice Department made mistakes in how it handled the dismissal of eight federal prosecutors. When asked if he will ask for Gonzalez’s resignation, he responds, “Can’t. He’s got that ‘forever’ stamp on his head.”
March 15: Little Pax Thien of Vietnam moves to the top of the “Luckiest Person on the Planet” list as he is adopted by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
March 17: Commemorating St. Patrick’s Day, President Bush says, “we owe a great debt to St. Patrick, this patron saint of Patricks.”
March 19: The swallows return to Capistrano — one hour late and complaining about daylight savings time.
April 1: The Major League Baseball season opens.
April 2: Casual fans lose interest in Major League Baseball.
April 4: Radio host Don Imus says pretty much the same thing he says everyday on his program, but this time someone happens to be listening and, after a week of backtracking and apologizing, he is fired.
April 6: A panel of scientists says millions of poor people will suffer from hunger, thirst, floods and disease unless drastic action is taken to stop global warming. “Or,” adds a panel of conservatives, “unless they get jobs.”
April 9: Hugh Hefner celebrates his 81st birthday. “I don't feel 81,” he says at his party. “In fact, I feel like a 19-year-old. Somebody get me a 19-year-old.”
April 27: The government says economic growth slowed to just 1.3 percent in the first quarter. Having replaced a roof, purchased a new furnace and filled my gas tank 15 times, I sleep well knowing that I, at least, did my part.
May 4: In theaters, “Spider-Man 3” nets a record $60 million on opening day, proving American movie-goers know what they want: A sequel to a movie they have already seen, which itself is based on a character they already knew from a TV show they've already watched or comic books they've already read.
May 6: Conservative Nicolas Sarkozny is elected president of France after promising to institute economic reforms, withdraw support from Iraq and make his last name an acceptable word in Scrabble.
May 11: In Norfolk, Va., re-enactors commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown landing. Onlookers feign interest.
May 14: DaimlerChrysler announces plans to sell most of Chrysler to a private equity firm, backing out of a difficult 1998 takeover. General Motors finds this hysterically funny.
May 23: Teenager Jordin Sparks wins “American Idol.” For some reason, this is presented in much of the media as news.
May 23: In a year of presidential campaigning in which U.S. policy in Iraq is a major issue, Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck of “The View” debate whether Iraq attacked the U.S., who our enemies are and whether, in O’Donnell’s words, “Big, fat, lesbian loud Rosie attacks innocent, pure, Christian Elisabeth.” It beats any of the presidential debates by a mile.
June 1: The FDA reports a toothpaste made in China may contain a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze. It is being sold under the name Crestone.
June 3: Paris Hilton begins serving a 23-day sentence for a probation violation. She manages to get from her vehicle to the jailhouse without flashing the paparazzi.
June 5: Scooter Libby is sentenced to 2 1/2 years for lying and obstructing justice. But he’ll serve even less time than ...
June 6: ... Paris Hilton, who leaves jail after three days for treatment of an unspecified medical condition, presumably boredom ...
... Because President Bush commutes Libby’s sentence, despite standing by and doing nothing when ...
June 8: ... Upset and crying for her mother, Paris Hilton is returned to jail to serve out her sentence.
June 10: The long-running and popular TV series “The Sopranos” doesn’t so much end as just stop.
June 14: The San Antonio Spurs win the NBA championship and guard Tony Parker prepares to fly to France to marry Eva Longoria, temporarily displacing little Pax Thien as “Luckiest Person on the Planet.”
June 15: The Cal Ripken of TV game shows, Bob Barker, signs off after 35 years at the helm of “The Price is Right” and 50 consecutive years of television hosting duties.
June 16: After 195 days aboard the orbiting space station, Sunita Williams ends the longest single period in space for any woman — not counting Jessica Simpson.
June 25: A judge rules in favor of a Washington, D.C., dry cleaner who was sued by a dissatisfied customer over a lost pair of pants — for $54 million. The highlight of the case was the defense’s cross-examination of the customer: “Were the lost pants made with solid gold zippers and threads?” “No.” “Did they have magical qualities that could turn you invisible?” “No.” “Were they being worn by Jennifer Aniston at the time they were lost?” “No.” “Your honor, we rest our case.”
June 27: Gordon Brown replaces Tony Blair as British prime minister. On his first day in office, Prime Minister Brown pledges to reinforce the pound and attempts unsuccessfully to smile.
June 28: The American bald eagle is removed from the endangered species list, where it is replaced by the American balding liberal.
June 30: The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins with the Warm Fronts playing the Tropical Depressions.
July 4: The nation celebrates its 231st birthday. “It doesn't feel like we’re 231,” says Hugh Hefner. “In fact, I feel like an 19-year old ...”
July 12: A Bush administration assessment says the Iraqi government is achieving only spotty political progress, indicating it is at least doing better than the Bush administration.
July 15: On the closing day of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic LPGA tournament, Jamie wows the crowd with his famous golf ball-in-each-nostril trick.
July 17: The Dow Jones industrial average crosses 14,000 for the first time. Heady from the experience, it quickly crosses back.
July 21: In the long-anticipated final installment of the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Endless Cauldron of Money,” Harry interrupts the wedding of Hermione and Weasley and he and Hermione catch a bus where they sit in the back seat and listen to “Simon & Garfunkel.” Oh, wait. That was the end of “The Graduate.”
July 24: For the first time in 10 years, the federal minimum wage increases — to $5.85 an hour. Minimum wage workers celebrate that evening by splurging on an extra day-old donut.
July 24: Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez proves he can handle tough criticism by sitting through about 12 hours of it at a Senate hearing. Senators are demonstrably frustrated by the attorney general’s refusal to answer questions and by what appears to be some sort of postage stamp on his forehead.
Aug. 2: Two Russian submarines complete a voyage below the North Pole where they plant their country’s flag on the Arctic Ocean floor. They offer no explanation for doing this.
Aug. 7: San Francisco “slugger” Barry Bonds “hits” his “record-breaking” “756th” home run.
Aug. 13: President Bush’s top political strategist, Karl Rove, announces plans to resign, so he can pursue other ways to make life miserable for non-conservatives.
Aug. 14: Mattel recalls 9 million Chinese-made toys because of lead paint. Hasbro finds this hysterically funny.
Aug. 15: A former NBA referee pleads guilty to tipping off gamblers and betting on games he officiated. He evidently never bet on the Knicks.
Aug. 23: Unlike her celebutante friend Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, who was sentenced for driving under the influence of drugs, successfully completes her entire jail term without incident. All 82 minutes of it.
Aug. 27: The word “canceled” stamped across the “forever” stamp on his forehead, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez announces his resignation.
Aug. 28: Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, denies any wrongdoing despite his guilty plea in an airport restroom sting, explaining his toe-tapping-in-the-stall episode as simply “practicing the Hokey Pokey for an upcoming wedding.”
Aug. 30: Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It's a B-52 bomber armed with six nuclear warheads and it flies clear across the country unnoticed. The Air Force later punishes 70 people for the security breach. Don't you feel better now?
Sept. 6: It’s national Read a Book Day. Most Americans celebrate in front of the television.
Sept. 9: Britney Spears gives an uninspired and uncomfortable-to-watch performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, perfectly reflecting a network that no longer focuses on videos or music but, rather, uncomfortable reality.
Sept. 12: Oil prices, for the first time, reach $80 a barrel. Ah, the good old days.
Sept. 15: Re-enactors commemorate the 1757 siege of Fort William Henry in Lake George, N.Y. It’s not as exciting as the 400th-anniversary re-enactment of the Jamestown landing but, hey, they’ve only had 250 years to practice.
Sept. 16: O.J. Simpson is arrested in an alleged armed robbery of sports memorabilia. He pleads not guilty but begins work on his second “If I Did It” book.
Sept. 25: Japan’s lower house elects Yasuo Fukuda prime minister, necessitating an extra half-hour during President Bush’s weekly meeting with his pronunciation coach.
Sept. 26: This ought to drive you crazy: The Supreme Court can designate a U.S. president by a 5-4 vote, but with a court deadlocked 10-2 in favor of conviction, the murder trial of Phil Spector is on this date declared a mistrial.
Oct. 3: President Bush vetoes a children’s health insurance program because, in part, it would insure too many children.
Oct. 5: Track star Marion Jones pleads guilty to lying about using steroids. She then runs from the courtroom very, very quickly.
Oct. 11: The U.S. budget deficit falls to $163 billion, the lowest shortfall in five years. For some reason, this is presented in much of the media as good news.
Oct. 12: Less than eight months after winning an Academy Award, Al Gore wins a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on publicizing climate change. Unfortunately, because he has generated so much hot air talking about the issue, Gore is now on the list potential causes of global warming.
Oct. 23: With wildfires ranging in southern California and hundreds of thousands evacuated, the Federal Emergency Management Agency leaps into action: It holds a phony news conference where staff workers, pretending to be reporters, ask self-serving questions that are met with FEMA-complimenting answers.
Oct. 31: Gold trades above $800 an ounce for the first time since 1980. Silver does not find this hysterically funny.
Nov. 1: Corporate Compassion: A week after workers ratified a new contract, Chrysler announces 12,000 job cuts.
Nov. 5: Hollywood writers go on strike, a decision that isn’t known for several days as they picket outside movie studios carrying blank signs.
Nov. 10: The entertainment industry suffers a second blow when a stagehand strike shuts down most Broadway, shuttering plays including “Scamalot,” “Sunday in the Park with George W. Bush” and “On Second Thought, Stay Away, Little Sheba.”
Nov. 15: Lindsay Lohan gives it a valiant try but falls short in the speed-jailing competition. She completes her drunk-driving sentence in 84 minutes. The winner, and still champion: Nicole Richie.
Nov. 21. Oil prices peak at $99.29 a barrel — for no particular reason and as of this writing.
Nov. 22: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade fills Manhattan's streets with bands, performers and giant balloons, including the newest: Whip Me Elmo!
Nov. 27: Israel and the Palestinians agree to formally restart peace talks. The world wishes the two good luck, much the way it does when Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee announce one of their reconciliations.
Nov. 29: Government data show U.S. homes marked a quarterly decline for the first time in 13 years. Particularly mine, where the roof sprung a leak and the basement flooded.
Dec. 2: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez narrowly loses a constitutional referendum that would have enabled him to remain in power for life. He doesn’t care.
Dec. 3: Responding to a disclosure that a U.S. intelligence report concluded months earlier that Iran halted nuclear weapons development in 2003, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino responds, “Humina-humina-humina ...”
Dec. 6: CIA Director Gen. Michael V. Hayden says investigations of two top terror suspects were videotaped in 2002 but the tape was erased “so we could record Britney at the MTV awards show.”
Dec. 10: For his part in a dog-fighting operation, NFL quarterback Michael Vick is sentenced to 23 months in prison. Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie find this hysterically funny.
Dec. 17: NBC says Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien plan to return to their late-night shows early next year, even if the writers' strike continues. No word on what they’ll be doing.
Dec. 18: NASA announces the Dawn spacecraft has begun the interplanetary cruise phase of its eight-year, 3-billion mile journey to “protoplanets” Ceres and Vesta. The mission will mark the first time man will orbit two planetary bodies at once — not including backup dancers who have performed with the Weather Girls.
Dec. 19: President Bush signs legislation new energy policy that requires automakers to achieve a 40-percent jump in fuel efficiency by 2020.
Dec. 26: A certain apprentice pundit once again scrambles to meet his year-end column deadline while vowing that, next year, he'll keep notes every week to make the chore less stressful. His colleagues find this hysterically funny.
Kevin Frisch is managing editor of the Daily Messenger in Canandaigua, N.Y. Contact him at (585 394-0770, Ext. 257, or via e-mail at KFrisch@MPNewspapers.com