12 Biggest Surprises of 2012

Phew, it seems as if it’s been nearly a year since we rang in 2012; time is funny like that. Looking back, we have many more things taking up our brain space today than when we toasted and sang at midnight last January 1.

Here are the top 12 things that 2012 brought to us.

1. New America

Apparently we’re new again. After President Obama’s decisive reelection, the media declared the land of the free and nation of immigrants as the land of the free and nation of immigrants. 

2. Google Drive 

The Cloud isn’t particularly new. Neither are Google Docs. But somehow the search-engine folks in Mountain View, California released Drive to quite a bit of fanfare and little understanding of what has actually changed.

3. Abe Lincoln, pop culture sensation

Forget Tupac Shakur and Elvis Presley — are we sure Abraham Lincoln isn’t alive and just chilling on a remote Caribbean island? Because he had a lucrative 2012, including a vampire movie, a Spielberg biopic, and a brilliant Louie parody on Saturday Night Live.

4. Blue Ivy Carter

The daughter of Jay-Z and Beyoncé was born January 7. That begs the question: Did she or didn’t she ... technically exist before 2012? Let the debate rage on.

 5. A vincible Manny Pacquiao

The Filipino boxing sensation-slash-congressman-slash-pop singer had a rough year. He went from being awake, alert, and a pound-for-pound juggernaut to none of those in one second flat. Let’s be honest though: I’d take that Juan Manuel Marquez punch for $26 million. And so would you.

6. Apple fail

Have you tried using that iOS 6 Maps app yet? I cracked it open in October to find a nearby Panera, and now I’m still trying to find my way off the Rock of Gibraltar. No Panera in sight.

7. 47%

Numbers had a stellar year. Somewhere between Nate Silver’s data-driven soothsaying and Drew Brees’ 5,476 passing yards, mathematics reached above-the-fold status. But no calculation equated to greater infamy than Mitt Romney’s 47% debacle.

8. Are you there, Chelsea? Nope. 

Chelsea Handler’s much-hyped sitcom aired for the first time in January. It aired for the last time in May. 

9. A liberated Libya

Jokes aside: Libya took a major step toward becoming a free country by hosting general elections in July.

10. Gangnam Style

I have no idea what this is, but it’s a thing.

11. Lebron James, certified champion

He finally did it. Can we end ESPN now?

12. Concern regarding the Mayan apocalypse

As I write this, I’m still here. I cannot confirm the present fate of Joaquin Phoenix, but it looks like the hemming and hawing over December 21 can be put to bed.