What a year. Repeated bomb threats emptied University of Pittsburgh buildings. Heavily armed killers stormed Western Psych, an elementary school and a movie theater. The Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal took down Penn State's top leaders. U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was murdered in Libya. Hurricane Sandy ravaged northeast cities. David Petraeus had an affair and resigned from the CIA. Lance Armstrong was dubbed the biggest cheater in the history of professional sports. Nora Ephron died.
Kind of makes you glad to say goodbye to 2012, doesn't it?
Not that it was all bad. The bomb threats were solved, the subway to the North Shore opened and work resumed on the Wyndham Grand Hotel Downtown. State residents got a reprieve on the Voter Suppression -- er, ID -- law. Major films shot in Pittsburgh made the city look pretty great. President Barack Obama was re-elected by a decisive margin. The U.S. women's gymnastics team won the Olympic gold medal for the first time in 16 years. Texas might secede.
Tomorrow at midnight, it all fades into history. Take this pop quiz to see how much you remember, then ring in 2013 with a toast to better news ahead.
1. Why did Highmark fire CEO Ken Melani?
a. He only built up a paltry $4.1 billion in reserves.
b. His plan to rescue West Penn Allegheny Health System made UPMC mad.
c. He punched out his girlfriend's husband instead of Jeff Romoff.
d. Nobody should be that tan all year.
2. Who is by far the richest landowner in Allegheny County, with 656 acres worth $1.6 billion?
a. The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School
b. Elsie and Henry Hillman
c. U.S. Steel
3. Why is 86 percent of that land tax exempt?
a. Damn good question
b. Allegheny County doesn't need the money.
c. It only serves the highest humanitarian purposes.
d. The Legislature hasn't been paying attention.
4. What is Pussy Riot?
a. A website for hilarious kitten hijinks
b. An uprising against crazy Republican rape theories
c. A collective of Russian feminist punk rockers persecuted by the Putin regime
d. A new Starbucks blend that helps cowards screw up their courage
5. What was the biggest fantasy of 2012?
a. "The Dark Knight Rises"
b. Karl Rove on election eve
c. Legitimate rape
d. Voter fraud
6. What's the year's most endangered entity?
b. Professional hockey
c. Coastal cities in an age of global warming
d. The ivory-billed woodpecker
e . Bipartisanship
7. Why do so many people hate the new parking meters?
a. They'd rather carry six pounds of quarters.
b. The display is too hard to read.
c. Who remembers their license plate number?
d. Duh, they're parking meters.
8. Why did Rush Limbaugh call Sandra Fluke a "slut"?
a. She wouldn't follow him on Twitter.
b. She tried to speak in favor of birth control coverage before a House committee that wanted to hear only from male religious leaders.
c. Too many women are having sex while single, whereas he's had the decency to get married four times.
d. Duh, he's Rush Limbaugh.
9. Who or what is the 47 percent?
a. Freeloading Americans who wouldn't vote for Mitt Romney.
b. Self-reliant Americans who would vote for Mitt Romney.
c. The energy level President Obama put into his first debate.
d. The uptick in people talking to empty chairs after Clint Eastwood did it.
10. Four more states legalized same-sex marriage and two legalized recreational use of marijuana. What explains this?
a. The Mayan Apocalypse
b. Backlash against Rick Santorum
c. Weddings and weed will be a big economic boost.
d. People don't want to go over the fiscal cliff unhitched or in a bad mood.
11. The year's biggest meme was:
a. Donald Trump talking about himself
c. Angelina Jolie's leg
d. Binders full of women
12. Some new names entered the news this year. Match the name with the fake, yet plausible, quote.
a. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a.k.a. Sam Bacile
b. Paula Broadwell
c. Adam Stuart Busby
d. McKayla Maroney
e. Francesco Schettino
f. Park Jae-sang, a.k.a. PSY
1. "The Scots will never be free as long as Pitt is in session."
2. "Can I embed with you for my book?"
3. "I am so not impressed."
4. "Sorry about the ship, folks, but I'm out of here."
5. "Hey, sexy lady, I regret that anti-American rap in 2004."
6. "I've got some costumes in the barn, let's make a movie to inflame Muslims world-wide!"
(Only some questions have real answers, which were: 1-c, except for the Romoff part; 2-d; 3-d; 4-c; 8-b; 9-a and b, according to Romney; 12: a-6 (he made the internet film "Innocence of Muslims"); b-2 (she had an affair with David Petraeus and wrote his biography, "All In"); c-1 (the Scottish National Liberation Army founder behind the Pitt bomb threats); d-3 (the U.S. Olympic gymnast made a face that went viral); e-4 (the captain of the wrecked Costa Concordia as he abandoned ship); f-5 ("Gangnam-style" singer from South Korea).sallykalson
Sally Kalson is a columnist for the Post-Gazette (firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1610).