With the possible exception of anyone in the "Going Out Of Business" sign business, few Americans will recall this past year with much fondness. Sure, more of us were inspired to vote in 2008 than ever before, but with a deepening economic crisis, multiple wars still raging abroad and global warming threatening life on the planet, many of us fear that it may not make any difference who won on American Idol.
So rather than trying to put lipstick on a pig of a year that was filled with more bumbles, stumbles and scandals than you can throw a shoe at, let us instead look ahead to some of the events that will no doubt leave us even more bitter, still clinging to our guns in the year to come:
January 8: The ongoing Minnesota senate race recount between Al Franken and Norm Coleman is thrown into turmoil when Duluth housewife Edna Nordhagen discovers 1,500 uncounted ballots in her root cellar.
January 19: In his last few hours in office, President Bush issues pardons for Scooter Libby, Jack Abramoff, Ted Stevens, Tony Soprano, Dr. Richard Kimball, the Outlaw Josey Wales and the Hamburgler.
February 9: Disgraced Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich holds a press conference to declare that, contrary to the claims of many in the media, he is not delusional and will prove it, "just as soon as I get the go-ahead from Zerblox, grand high ruler of the Andromeda Galaxy."
February 27: Upon his release from prison, Iraqi journalist and noted shoe thrower Muntazer al-Zaidi announces that, after lengthy negotiations, he has agreed to a $140 million contract to pitch for the New York Yankees while also signing on to star as Carrie Bradshaw's love interest in the next Sex in the City movie.
March 19: Congressman Ron Paul announces that he is dropping out of the 2008 presidential race.
April 11: British singer Amy Winehouse checks herself into rehab after being found in a daze, half-naked, wandering the streets of London clutching a bottle of Scotch, a handful of pills and 350 uncounted Minnesota ballots.
May 17: President Obama announces that another round of stimulus checks will be sent to taxpayers, requesting that Americans take advantage of this opportunity to kick-start the economy, then adding, "but if you could wait until after next Tuesday to cash the checks, that would be cool."
June 5: Despite the defendant's claims of unfair punishment for his acquittal while on trial for the murder of his ex-wife, the judge hearing the appeal in OJ Simpson's criminal case upholds the 15-year sentence, calling the decision "appropriate to the severity of the crime," then adding, "plus you killed your wife."
June 23: The target of another FBI sting, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is taken into custody while trying to check into a high-priced Washington DC hotel with two suitcases crammed with Minnesota absentee ballots.
July 9: Longtime supporters of Barack Obama express shock and disappointment when video is released in which the president, during a brief beach vacation, conclusively proves incapable of walking on water.
August 5: Appearing on The Tonight Show, John McCain reveals that his entire 2008 presidential campaign was an 18-month-long comedic performance art piece. "Come on," he tells Jay Leno, "Sarah Palin, qualified to be vice president? 'Suspending' my campaign? Joe the Plumber? No one really bought all that baloney, did they?"
August 26: As a follow-up to his Oscar-nominated performance in the biopic "Milk," actor Sean Penn announces that for his next role he will star in "Cookies," an unblinking depiction of popular Sesame Street character Cookie Monster.
October 1: The May-December romance between Madonna and baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez reportedly ends when the pop singer begins dating the Vienna Boys Choir while the Yankees third baseman is photographed around town with actress Cloris Leachman.
November 21: Any questions about Tiger Woods' recovery from major knee surgery are answered when the golf superstar captures the PGA Championship, the US Open, the Masters and, in a thrilling photo finish, the 2009 Kentucky Derby.
December 3: In an effort to cut costs in anticipation of the holiday travel season, United Airlines announces a round of layoffs aimed at eliminating redundant positions. "Pilots and co-pilots? It seems a little unnecessary to have both," an airline spokesman tells reporters.
December 31: In a daring nighttime raid, a team of US Army Rangers parachute into Pakistan, storm a remote cave and triumphantly emerge with their long-sought target: the last 200 uncounted Minnesota ballots.