Despite the "economic recovery," we're still a nation suffering from recession depression. And there's plenty of other places around the world that have got it even worse. But thankfully, in a year filled with war, oil spills, financial hardships and stinky politicians, a few heroes have stood tall. Heroes like young Mark Sellke and Jordan Romero, plucky Jacob Isom and ravenous Joey "Jaws" Chestnut. And, lest we lose sight of the greatness that is America, let us all remember these two words: Chuck Norris.
Alaskan loon Sarah Palin joins Fox News, saying, "It's wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news." A massive earthquake devastates Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, and surrounding areas; the death toll is estimated to be more than 200,000. The man who shot and wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca, 51, is released from prison in Turkey – he promptly declares himself the "Christ Eternal" and predicts the end of the world in this century. In a precedent-setting 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court allows corporations unlimited campaign ad spending in federal elections. Toyota recalls more than 2 million cars due to – yikes! – sticking accelerator problems. Surprising absolutely no one, Willie Nelson cancels a North Carolina concert after police arrest members of his band and crew for possession of non-tax-paid alcohol (moonshine) and marijuana.
Indianapolis lets out a collective sigh as the Colts lose the Super Bowl to the New Orleans Saints, 31-17. Olympic gold medal swimmer Mark Spitz (of the iconic Speedo and mustache look) turns 60. This year's Winter Olympic Games begin badly when Nodar Kumaritashvili, a luger from the Republic of Georgia, is killed when his sled crashes during a practice run. Prompting a unanimous "WTF?!" from Democrats and gleeful salivation by Republicans, Sen. Evan Bayh unexpectedly announces he will not seek re-election, saying, "I do not love Congress." A 1938-edition of Action Comics, No. 1 (featuring Superman) is sold to an anonymous buyer for a record-breaking $1 million. Bill and Hillary's young 'un, Chelsea, turns 30.
The invincible martial arts legend who spawned an infinite number of kick-ass, rib-splitting jokes, Chuck Norris, turns 70, which for Chuck Norris only means that he is twice as powerful as when he was 35. Because March marks the 70th birthday of Chuck Norris, all other news this month is barely even worth mentioning. Health care.
Indy's favorite curmudgeon, Russ Settle, owner of the famous Red Key Tavern, dies at the age of 92; punk rock impresario Malcolm McLaren dies at 64. Poland's president, Lech Kaczynski, is killed when his plane crashes in Russia. Flights across Europe are cancelled for nearly a week after the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull (!) erupts, creating a giant cloud of ash. Soon-to-retire Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens turns 90. An explosion on an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico kills 11 workers and releases more than a million gallons of oil into the sea. Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says that not only is it likely that space aliens exist, they probably want to kick our asses.
Holy crap! Would-be terrorist Faisal Shahzad, 30, attempts to detonate a car bomb in Times Square; he is apprehended 53 hours later. Mark Sellke, 13, of Klondike Middle School in West Lafayette, becomes the nation's top Mathlete. Another 13-year-old American lad, Jordan Romero, becomes the youngest person to reach the peak of Mt. Everest. The death toll for American forces serving in Afghanistan reaches 1,000. U.S. Rep. Mark Souder of Fort Wayne, a staunch "family values" Republican and vocal proponent of sexual abstinence, admits to an extramarital affair and resigns from Congress. America's funniest woman, Tina Fey, turns 40; wonderful, wondrous musician Stevie Wonder turns 60; grizzled, gravel-voiced actor/director Clint Eastwood turns 80.
Al and Tipper Goreannounce that they are separating after 40 years of marriage (Bill Clinton is green with envy). Stone-faced British bassist Bill Wyman and "The Welsh Elvis," singer Tom Jones, both turn 70; celestial tennis star Venus Williams hits 30, love. The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is dismissed after dissing several senior members of the Obama administration in Rolling Stone.