In a Year of Disasters, Some Silly Diversions

Between the huge headlines were a plethora of smaller, sillier ones.

2012: It's outta here, and not a moment too soon.

I'm posting this today because most of us non-Mayans will be busy tomorrow dealing with the apocalypse, so I figured we needed a little light reading before we pack.

I don't have to enumerate all the big, horrible stuff that happened this year, but in between the huge headlines were a plethora of smaller, sillier ones, which I pointed out on my Twitter account (@PC360_AandB) over the past 12 months.

So snort your bath salts, grab a slab of pink slime, strap on your tinfoil hat and take a stroll down memory lane with me:


  • In what looked like a mash-up between those dramatic SUV commercials where the vehicle is perched on a mountaintop and one of the "Mayhem" insurance commercials, an elderly Chicago driver somehow managed to put her car (surprisingly, it wasn't a Buick) on the edge of a pier facing Lake Michigan.
  • If you think you're pushing the envelope by adding your airport imbibements into your expense report, how about cosmetic surgery, lottery tickets or a teepee? Robert Half Management's CFO survey revealed these and other ridiculous expense account claims.


  • Between "The Walking Dead" and face-eating bums on bath salts, zombies were very much in the headlines this year, but I draw the line at zombie cows. However, just such a thing happened in Georgia, where a farmer was attacked by a rabid 900-pound cow.
  • Everybody knows insurance is wacky just from the commercials, right? Well, online insurer Insurance Savings went a little too far when they decided to use terrorist hijacker Mohammed Atta in its Facebook campaign. (Still, it isn't Flo.)


  • Scientists were puzzled over the fact that six hog farms have "blowed up real good" since 2009 after methane trapped in a mysterious pit-topping foam caught a spark. The account was unclear about whether extra sauce and sopping bread were included in the conflagration.
  • Generic is just fine for me, but evidently drug dealers prefer name brands, at least when it comes to making their wash smell springtime fresh. In March a trend emerged showing that drug users looking to feed their habit were making off with bottles of Tide detergent to sell on the black market.



  • Remember those late-night commercials for sexual enhancement supplements featuring the creepy, pervy "Smilin' Bob" character? Well, Bob's company got nailed for $24 million after losing a class-action lawsuit for making unauthorized credit card charges and using false advertising.  



  • As if Detroit doesn't have enough problems with no employment, high crime, Eminem and Insane Clown Posse, some enterprising entrepreneur announced plans to raise money to buy or lease abandoned property in the city to build a "zombie apocalypse theme park."






  • And to complete the Circle of Life on social media, a tech blogger recently reported that more dead people are "liking" things on Facebook. The trend isn't paranormal, but the result of Facebook's "promoted posts" scheme if a dead person's Facebook page isn't "memorialized."

Let's hope 2013 showers us with fewer disasters and more wackiness!



About the Author
Laura Mazzuca Toops,

Laura Mazzuca Toops,

Laura Mazzuca Toops, National Underwriter Property & Casualty executive managing editor, is responsible for the Agent & Broker channel for Her more than 20 years of property & casualty insurance experience includes associate editor at Business Insurance, Midwest managing editor with Insurance Journal, and freelance work for insurers, brokers and trade associations. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago. She may be reached at


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