The most memorable quote of 2007 is a fitting epitaph for a most forgettable year: "Don't Tase me, bro...."
We should be so lucky.
This was a year dominated by the transgressions of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears, who at one point shaved her head but still has higher approval ratings than Nancy Pelosi.
A scorned, lovesick astronaut allegedly wearing diapers drove cross-country to confront her romantic rival. Miss Teen South Carolina shared her views on the absence of maps in American education. And the nation got tips on bathroom etiquette from Larry Craig ("I have a wide stance") and Sheryl Crow, who suggested we should all limit ourselves to one square of toilet paper per visit. She still can't figure out why people won't shake her hand.
Al Gore won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, a Nobel Peace Prize and everything else except Dancing With the Stars. There was some brief embarrassment when it was reported that his house uses 20 times as much energy as the average American abode. Environmentalists explained this away by resurrecting the medieval church's practice of selling indulgences, which they renamed "offsetting carbon credits."
Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign stumbled after she tried out several personalities, including a Southern accent, but focus groups found that voters didn't find her credible as a middle-aged black woman. Oprah endorsed Barack Obama.
Democrats took control of Congress and did nothing, except introduce the concept of the "nonbinding resolution" to a new generation. Jack Murtha urged what some called a "slow bleed" of the military to stop the war in Iraq; Harry Reid declared the war lost; Russ Feingold demanded immediate surrender; Tammy Baldwin proposed impeaching Dick Cheney. Despite the Dems' best efforts, the "surge" succeeded. There was no joy in Surrenderville.
Wisconsin's newest congressman, Steve Kagen, began his term in office bragging that when he met the president and First Lady Laura Bush, he cracked, "Hi, Barbara, how are ya?" Kagen explained that "the meanest thing you can say to another gentleman is he is a fine fellow and you then refer to his spouse by a different name."
Kagen later apologized and admitted that he made the story up. Kagen was not the first politician to tell a lie or embellish stories to make himself look better, but he may be the first politician to go out of his way to make himself look like a boorish crap-weasel.
In a sign that good taste is not totally obsolete, Jeff Ruby of Ruby's Steakhouse in Louisville, Ky., told O.J. Simpson and his entourage, "I'm not serving you." The University of Colorado fired bigot and fraud Ward Churchill; and the UW said goodbye to 9/11 conspiracy theorist Kevin Barrett.
Miller was swallowed by Coors; Midwest Airlines was effectively bought out by Northwest Airlines; and legislative Democrats proposed doubling state taxes.
Madison officials indulged their addiction to pointless, time-wasting, symbolic gestures by adding an addendum to the oath of office to protest the constitutional ban on gay marriage. A Michigan woman claims Starburst candies are "dangerously chewy" and seeks $25,000 for injuries she sustained biting into one of the flavorful treats.
Karl Rove left the White House un-indicted and for some reason Tommy Thompson ran for president. Air America continued to fizzle and, amazingly, feminist radio flopped when it failed to attract either gender to a network with absolutely no sense of humor. Michael Vick abused dogs; Barry Bonds abused pharmaceuticals; and Major League Baseball stuck it to fans everywhere.
Wisconsinites are still not allowed to carry concealed weapons, defend themselves with Tasers, buy cold medicine without a photo ID, or decide how their kids should ride in cars. And legislators busied themselves by tackling the scourge of yo-yo water balls.
Katie Couric was named CBS anchor and promptly disappeared; ditto for J.B. Van Hollen, who has not been seen since he was elected attorney general. Former Speaker Scott Jensen won his appeal, and Milwaukee hired a police chief who is not afraid to use the word "thug" to describe thugs. The Brewers made a pennant run; and Brett Favre achieved football divinity.
But the year was not without its piquant ironies: Former Mayor Paul Soglin endured the wrath of the quicheoisie, who accused him of being a reactionary Neanderthal after he suggested it was stupid to ride bikes during a blizzard.
Welcome to the vast right-wing conspiracy, Paul. Next year, we can talk about tort reform, but I promise to take it slow.
Happy New Year.