1 As an apparent minority of local heathens wake up with a hangover, the Deseret News reports that Salt Lake City has landed in the top five of Travel & Leisure’s best destinations in the country. “The city may not rank high for a wild nightlife,” says the D-News, “but it kicked the competition when it came to cleanliness, safety and its value as a winter/Christmas getaway.” It’s later discovered that Travel & Leisure writers just “loitered in The Gateway for a couple of hours.”
6 The U.S. Constitution is read aloud on the floor of the House of Representatives for the first time in history, causing panic and uproar. Legend has it that if it’s read three more times, BeetleReagan magically appears.
8 In Tucson, a gunman opens fire on a constituent meeting being held by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, killing six and critically injuring Giffords. Jarod Lee Loughner is charged as the shooter, thanks to eyewitnesses, cryptic Internet postings and the way-too-crazed-gunman-sounding name of “Jarod Lee Loughner.”
26 Strange lights appear in the sky over American Fork, prompting noted news sites like RealUFOs.net and others to speculate that Dugway Proving Ground, which, coincidentally, went on lockdown around the same time, is now “Area 52.” Reached for comment, Dugway officials laughed, “Aliens are about as real as Bigfoot, which we have safely in captivity and … oh, damn it.”
28 CBS’ Two & a Half Men goes on “production hiatus” after star Charlie Sheen is admitted to rehab for the third time in a year. Surely, this will be the last we hear from him.
Dead in January
Salt Lake City musician Kenny Frey, fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne, actor Charlie Callis, pro wrestler Shawn McGrath, comedian David Frye, music producer Don Kirshner, actress Susannah York, Nazi hunter Tuviah Freidman, Touched by an Angel actor John Dye, director Peter Yates, actress Anne Francis, singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty, porn actress Sexy Cora
1 Presidential maybe Mitt Romney appears on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight to promote his book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness (soon to be a Rick Perry favorite) and reaffirm his Mormon-ness: “My experience in Massachusetts running as a Mormon guy in a state that’s overwhelmingly of other faiths didn’t seem to get in my way there.” True to his prediction, religion would be the least of Romney’s candidacy problems in 2011 (among them: “flip-flopping,” “liberalism,” “elitism,” “lack of human traits,” etc.).
6 Super Bowl XLV becomes the most-watched program in television history, drawing 111 million to witness the Green Bay Packers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 and halftime act the Black-Eyed Peas lock down their title as The Most Horrific Musical Act In Existence (later to be challenged by Nickelback and the cast of Glee).
7 AOL buys TheHuffingtonPost.com for $315 million and announces that the site will remain available for free online and through various apps, as well as floppy disks arriving soon in your mailbox. While most people are asking, “AOL still exists?” City Weekly publisher Jim Rizzi wonders aloud, “So, why are we paying writers, again?”
14 Keith and Lisa Brown, the parents of the Utah County classical-piano group The 5 Browns, are rescued after their car plunges 500 feet off a Little Cottonwood Canyon road. While recovering, it’s revealed that Keith Brown has been hit with several sex-abuse charges by his daughters; in March, he’ll be sentenced to 10 years to life in prison. In Nevada, Sister Wives husband Kody Brown breathes a sigh of relief that he’s “not the creepiest Brown from Utah anymore.”
25 My birthday. You didn’t get me anything. It’s cool …
27 The King’s Speech wins four Oscars at the 83rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Knuckling Under to Pansy American Audiences With a Censored PG-13 Cut. Oscar hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway are almost universally panned as “flat,” “amateurish” and “born after 1950.”
Dead in February
Rock guitarist Gary Moore, bluesman Eddie Kirkland, baseball Hall of Famer Duke Snider, Black Panther Party leader Donald L. Cox, Meet the Press’ Bill Monroe, Seinfeld actor Len Lesser, film composer John Strauss, Canadian rapper Bad News Brown, Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill! actress Tura Satana
7 Further redefining “winning,” CBS and Warner Bros. Television officially fire Charlie Sheen from Two & a Half Men; three days later, Sheen announces his nationwide “Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option” tour, as psychotic drug addicts tend to fare well on the road.
17 The Republican-controlled House votes to cut funding for NPR, millions of which go solely to operating the animatronic robot that replaced the late Diane Rehm in the mid-’90s. While the cuts won’t put NPR out of business, the board of directors is considering replacing all jazz programming with a sad monkey playing a saxophone because, “C’mon, who’s going to notice?”
20 HBO polygamy drama Big Love ends after five seasons with family patriarch Bill Henrickson (played by Bill Paxton) being gunned down in the mean streets of Sandy. Thankfully, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” was not playing in the background.
24 As that chapter closes … the Book of Mormon musical opens on Broadway.
25 Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Sen. Orrin Hatch(?) address an audience of 10,000 at Brigham Young University’s Marriott Center to tell students about how to become a billionaire by stealing ideas, dropping out of college, getting people to give up personal information online and clinging to a Senate seat for 50 years. After the public forum, Hatch said he was looking to forward to next meeting “Mr. Twitter.”
Dead in March
Actress Elizabeth Taylor, politician Geraldine Ferraro, Buddy Holly drummer Carl Bunch, pro wrestling manager Oliver Humperdink, jazz guitarist Melvin Sparks, bluesman Big Jack Johnson, Dave Brubeck Quartet drummer Joe Morello, rapper Nate Dogg, comedian Mike DeStefano, Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr