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2012... Mistakes? We Made A Few... Thousand

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In today's Philadelphia Inquirer:

There are kinds of men. The ones that learn by readin'. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." -- Will Rogers

Rogers must have foreseen 2012 when he explained how the human psyche needs to be slammed into a brick wall before it realizes that in a brick vs brain contest, brick wins. The past year's sordid trail of failures, broken dreams and repeated mistakes demonstrated a preference for lessons learned through electrocution. And their shock waves didn't bypass Philadelphia.

Remember the winter Sundays begetting 1 p.m. excitement that we scheduled our lives around? Remember October, filling South Philly with dreams of Broad Street victory parades? Remember the seven-footer we chucked Iggy for? Remember hockey?

Neither do I.

Still, Philadelphia sports held no exclusivity on tripping over its own feet. 2012 buried the nation under an embarrassment of bad choices and ready made punchlines. A presidential primary season filled with imploding candidates made it far too easy for Leno, Letterman et al. A film icon's conversation with an empty chair overshadowed what was supposed to be one presidential candidate's greatest moment... a few months prior to his lowest moment. An "All In" general and his paramour proved that you needn't hit "reply-all" to let everyone in on hush-hush emails.

Yet despite the steaming pile of faux pas, let us not forget the old adage -- "When life offers you lemons, find a sucker to trade them for pecans and make pecan pie." Mmm. Pecan pie.

Here are a few other maxims on the year that -- thank God -- has passed on from natural causes... and embarrassment.

When you play, play hard; when you work, don't play at all.

(Theodore Roosevelt) President Obama's Secret Service advance team, in South America to make sure his visit go off smoothly, went 50 Shades of Grey all over the Colombian nightlife. They were caught when one agent refused to pay a prostitute which leads to another little known quote -- "If you sleep with dogs, you'll wake up with fleas, but not a lot of cash."

If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

(Every Grandmother) Especially when a hidden camera is recording, as Mitt Romney found when he said he would ignore "47 percent of the people" because they are "dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them." Unfortunately for Mitt, his number was about 4 percent under.

Lack of money is no obstacle. Lack of an idea is an obstacle.

(Ken Hakuta) Even the genius casting of famed thespian, Vanilla Ice, couldn't save Adam Sandler's "That's My Boy," from a fiasco so repulsive that it made his 2011 "Jack and Jill" seem the perfect scene by scene remake of Casablanca."

Do not be fooled into believing that because a man is rich he is necessarily smart. There is ample proof to the contrary."

(Julius Rosenwald): Donald Trump. Just, Donald Trump.

While money can't buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.

(Groucho Marx/Spike Milligan). The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision allowed for anonymous deep-pockets to ante-up billions of to buy an election and a president. Over half of those deep-pockets received nada for their investment and won't even be getting an invite to the inauguration. Karl Rove didn't return calls for comment.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again

(Thomas H. Palmer), but after 14 seasons with no championship rings, you might want to try, try something else. Super Bowl? Andy Reid's lineup would need tickets to get into Wing Bowl.

That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet

(William Shakespeare), unless the rose is trying to get out of paying for double parking. Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Christine Solomon told investigators that she was unfamiliar with the term, "ticket-fixing" but in a later interview said she was familiar with practice of granting "special consideration" at Traffic Court... especially when she had previously helped constituents get their tickets, "specially considered."

Talking doesn't get your rice cooked

(Chinese Proverb), except if you want your Rice to become Secretary of State. UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, explained the attack on our Benghazi embassy with a bit of a tap dance approved by an administration choreographer.

One is very crazy when in love

(Sigmund Freud)... and when you're so in love with semi-automatic weapons with immense magazines that even the massacre of twenty innocent children and six teachers could not move you to consider modifying gun laws, then you are crazy enough that you should be banned from owning a butter knife. Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association also said, "If it's crazy to call for armed officers in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy." And, sir, as requested... you are.

Award-winning TV Writer, Steve Young is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" (www.greatfailure.com).