I think the internet authorities actually require every site to publish some sort of “top ten” list at the end of each year (or shortly thereafter), and since I don’t want to look up whether that’s actually true or not, here’s mine. (Ranking is according to Google Analytics, which I may or may not be using correctly.)
1. “Has Your Boss Ever Pooped in Your Lunchbox?” (Mar. 7)
Looks like many people found this story about what I think qualifies as a “hostile environment” for employment-law purposes to be as remarkable as I did. The title gives some of it away, but bombs of a more explosive kind were also involved.
2. “Two-Undecillion-Dollar Demand Spells Trouble for Au Bon Pain” (May 13)
The continued high ranking of this 2014 post surely results from Randall Munroe’s mention of it in his “what if?” series, although a followup probably contributed a little. See “How Long Would It Take Ted Olson to Bill Two Octillion Gigadollars?” (May 14).
3. “Jury Laughs at Hot-Yoga Guy” (Jan. 27)
Lots of people read this post about the $7.4 million verdict against Bikram Choudhury, who’s responsible for Bikram yoga and also, according to several accusers and at least one jury, sexual harassment. This was not so much about the charges, though, but rather his ridiculous testimony in the punitive-damages phase, during which he insisted he was totally broke. The jury didn’t believe, for example, his claim that he personally built all those Bentleys from parts he found in junkyards.
4. “The $65-Million Pants Case: Chapter 28” (June 9)
This case was the gift that kept on giving from 2007 through 2010, and amazingly, in 2016 it gave a little more.
5. “‘I Got You Cold, Mate,” Judge Tells Man Who Insulted Him on Facebook” (Apr. 18)
The lesson here is that if you learn the judge in your case is retiring, you should verify his retirement date before insulting him on social media.
6. “The Worst Presidential Race in American History” (Nov. 8)
In this Election Day post I was not, surprising as it may seem, referring to the 2016 campaign, although that one is certainly in the running. Turns out we’ve always been awful, which—no, actually it shouldn’t make us feel any better.
7. “Is It Illegal to Use a Legal Name?” (June 14)
I still have no idea what this means, or who’s putting up all the money to pay for this nonsense. But it’s everywhere.
8. “Apparently He Left ‘War Criminal’ Off His Resume” (June 2)
Hey, wasn’t there just a problem with customs that meant thousands of U.S. travelers were delayed because their identities couldn’t be properly verified? Man, that sucks. Anyway, here’s a story about an accused war criminal who the Washington Post found working as a security guard at Dulles.
9. “Stormtrooper Arrested” (Jan. 5)
While their aim appears to have improved in Rogue One, Imperial Stormtroopers never posed much of a threat before that. And this guy didn’t even have a real blaster.
10. “NZ Prime Minister Gets Thrown Out of Parliament” (May 12)
Although, let’s be honest, the real story here was that New Zealand’s Prime Minister wears a cape.
Thanks for reading during 2016 (and during prior years in which you may have read, of course). With that, let us now move on to 2017, which I have absolutely no doubt will be even more absurd.