01/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Could've-Been Best Of 2008

Each year, best-of lists pass over countless hypotheticals in favor of people, events and things that actually happened. Which is so uncool and maybe even grounds for a lawsuit in which parallel reality wins a staggering sum that I can easily steal, because who from the universe of never-shall is going to stop me? Exactly. But rather than provoke an interdimensional tiff, perhaps we're just better off paying homage to the year that wasn't:

Best Human Interest Story Not Overblown:

Virgin Mary Appears in Form of Virgin Mary Figurine

In what some religious observers were quick to call a "miracle," upwards of 80 million Americans reported seeing the image of the Virgin Mary in a mass-produced dashboard statuette of the Christian icon. Skeptics, most notably Christopher Hitchens, argued that the likeness is coincidental at best.

Best Election Moment Not Real:

Hill & the Other Bill

When, late in primary season, a visibly depressed Hillary Clinton showed up at a Williamsburg loft party with a visibly depressed Bill Murray, shotgunned a PBR and started some shit about Vampire Weekend before helping the hosts fix their broken dishwasher. After she left via the apartment's fire escape, hipsters in attendance asked Murray how he'd met up with the former first lady, to which he remarked, "Who?" in a voice so deadpan nobody could be sure he was joking.

Best Word Not Coined:


Juneaucrat (n.) -- 1. A politican whose corruption and abuse of power is Alaskan in scope. Senator Ted Stevens, the notorious Juneaucrat, was executed by snowmobile today for daring to ride the Governor's prize caribou. Not to be confused with "Junocrat," which can mean a politician whose only stance is on abortion, or one that phrases things in an adorably quirky way that does not correspond to real-life spoken language.

Best Movie Not Released:

Starship Troopers 4: The New Kind Of Bug-Type Alien They Found

Yes, incredible as it sounds, this sequel script from superfan and amateur screenwriter Mark Kindress, 22, of Seattle, and ably directed by cult-followed Joss Whedon, completely redeemed all three crappy previous installments, reinvented/recaptured the trace magic of Heinlein's novel, and served as a promising reboot for the franchise. Unfortunately, no producer in our reality was even slightly willing to call Casper Van Dien at home.

Best Comeuppance Not Gotten:

Large Hadron Collider Does Indeed Create Black Hole

Physicists expressed shock and disbelief after their efforts to harness the universe's most powerful and potentially destructive forces for human gain went catastrophically awry during a well-attended presentation, presumably killing the 70 bystanders unaccounted for following the accident. Experts have noted that in a Schrödingerian sense, they're possibly also alive. Investigators swiftly ruled out hubris as the cause of the disaster, taking pains to remind everyone that hindsight is 20/20.

Best Victory Not Won:

The U.S. Wins the War on Terrordrugs

Realizing it was beyond futile to fight wars against two of the most broadly defined nouns in the English language, the Bush administration took a bold step, combining both efforts into a single offensive focused on pharmaceuticals specifically engineered to scare the user. All it took was one e-mail to a very confused FDA employee, who assured Michael Mukasey that no such product was under review, or ever would be. Mission Accomplished!

Best Obituary Not Written:

Elvis Presley Dead at 73

The country remembered Elvis Aaron Presly, King of Rock 'n Roll, who was abducted by extraterrestrials more than three decades ago but always made time to beam down to Earth's gas stations and passed away of hyperspace fatigue in August.