By the time some of you read this, we'll have begun a brand new year. And you know what that means: over ten whole workdays before government employees will get another paid holiday.

My goodness - the things those poor (un-) Civil (dis-) Service drones put up with.

But even for us bill-paying mortals, year's end heralds its own gauntlet of unavoidable traditions, doesn't it?

** The trick of figuring out where to store that vaguely-familiar fruitcake until next Christmas, when you can re-gift the nasty thing to whomever's next in the Holiday Fruitcake Circle of Life
** Preparing to spend somewhere between two and fifty-two weeks writing the wrong year on our personal checks
** New Year's Eve parties laced with over-dressed, under-medicated women, who spend the evening trying to fight off under-dressed, over-indulging guys, who spend the evening trying to impress the women by swilling shots of Jagermeister until they devolve into some kind of semi-simian extra from 'Altered States'
** Another traffic snarl at the mall as millions of Americans try to return unwanted gifts - like monogrammed toilet seats or perfumes that smell like homeless yak saliva - even though they have no purchase receipts
** A clutch of college football bowl games, steeped in tradition, with traditional bowl game names; like the Unfinished Furniture Liquidators Bowl (played in the Midwestern Kansas Aluminum Siding Outlet stadium), brought to you by Big Tony's Toilet Emporium; or the Lowe's Employees Who Got Downsized But Found A Job Across The Street At Home Depot Bowl (sponsored by "Cleveland Soccer Moms Against Homeless Yak Cruelty")
** The annual announcement that this past year's Congress set a new record as the most useless, unproductive, and disliked Congress in history, at least until this next Congress gets a shot at the title
** Top Ten Lists

It's an unwritten law: Every old year must end with a new crop of Top Ten Lists. And every year, there are dozens of sources, compiling hundreds of Top Ten Lists cataloging thousands of categories: Top Ten Best Films, Top Ten Worst TV Shows, Top Ten Larry King Divorces. Best-Dressed People, Best Worst-Dressed People, Best Nearly-Dressed People Appearing During Halftime at the Super Bowl. Top Ten Public Insults, Top Ten Private Apologies, Top Ten Tweets That Mention Either Vampires, Zombies, Or Mayans. Top Ten Christmas Gifts That Don't Contain Yak Products. Top Ten Reasons Why There Always Seems To Be A Lowe's Right Across The Street From A Home Depot.

Here are some actual lists that you can find on the internet, as far as you know:

Top Ten Annoying Christmas Songs
Topping the list again this year is "The Twelve Days of Christmas," followed closely by anything recorded by Burl Ives. Oddly enough, the other eight entries are all "Dominick, the Christmas Donkey."
Note: "Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer" got several Most Annoying votes, but the judges wisely opted to put that tune in its own category, feeling that it would be unfair to rank amateur irritants with pros like "Grandma..."


Top Ten Countries That Have Disappeared
This one was a bit of a tease. Here you'll find anti-climactic entries like East Germany, South Vietnam, and Detroit. For whatever reason, the list excluded land masses like Atlantis, Oz, and Rosanne Barr.

Top Ten Physical Ailments That Keep Hillary From Testifying
Sure, we gave her a pass on "stomach flu." Sure, the very next week, we let her slide on "I fell down." Yeah, we begrudgingly gave her the benefit of the doubt when she announced "the heartbreak of psoriasis." But we believe the lady doth protest too much with this latest dodge: "I simply can't testify in these shoes." Stoppeth it. Shutteth up.

Top Ten Lame College Sports Nickname Changes
This year's winners include The Rainbow Warriors of the University of Hawaii, who dropped the "Rainbow" part thanks to a marketing decision, after desperate recruiters feared that "rainbows" had too many gay connotations. Sources say that a counter-suit has been filed by two well-known rainbow aficionados, Dorothy from Oz and Kermit the Frog, but we were unable to confirm those reports due to the case's pending status, and the fact that Dorothy and Kermit don't exist.
The Top Ten list also includes the Syracuse Orangemen, who are now simply the Syracuse Orange. College administrators cited a desire to become more gender-neutral, and "Syracuse Orangepersons" wouldn't fit on the faculty guest towels.

Top Ten Adam West Roles Other Than Batman (This is kinda sad. After all, three of the ten roles were Adam playing himself. Let's move on.)

Top Ten Hobbits You Didn't Know Existed
This is sad, too, because it means there are unsupervised people running around out there who think any hobbits actually exist. I hope nobody tells them about Kermit.

Top Ten Best Things About Windows 8
We got nothing. Anyone?

Top Ten Worst Regulations of 2012
To those who compiled this list, we have to tip our hat; after all, it couldn't have been easy, picking only ten idiot maneuvers by Congress. Beyond the obvious mutton-headed moves, like daring each other to read ObamaCare, Congress focused this year on critical national security issues like Dishwasher Efficiency Standards and free Vatican-endorsed condom distribution.

But, in the spirit of the season, don't be too hard on lawmakers based solely on this past year. After all, legislators as a life form were idiots far before we flipped the ol' calendar page to January 2012.

In fact, once upon a time, overbearing lawmakers in one U.S. State passed a law that actually made it illegal for a river to rise above a certain level.

Whoa. Folks, that's some serious megalomania. Next thing you know, they'll be regulating toilet flushes, and banning large soft drinks.

Nah. That could never happen in America.