Naughty or nice? The best & worst of 2012

While the results of Santa's "Naughty-'n'-Nice" list have already been revealed, I gave myself a few extra days to put the finishing touches on my own version of the list.

And given the more serious nature of my recent columns, I decided it'd be fun — definitely for myself, and hopefully for my readers, too — to look back on the things that I deemed nice and the things that I deemed naughty for 2012.

This list is, of course, far from exhaustive, as my longest list would probably include thousands and thousands of items.

But I feel like this list will hit a broad spectrum of the best- and worst-behaved people, places and things.

So, without further adieu, here is my 2012 "Naughty-'n'-Nice" list:

• Naughty: Chain emails.
For as long as I've had my own email account, these babies have been coming in on the naughty list, making them the longest-running item on the list.

There's nothing like reading an inspiring or clever story and then being told that, "If you don't pass this on to at least 614
friends, bad luck will fall upon you."

• Nice: Pittsburgh Dad.
If you grew up in the western part of this great state and you have yet to see Pittsburgh Dad, I recommend a quick Google search.

He entertains with common sayings and expressions straight from a typical Pittsburgh-area father. Three thumbs up!

• On the fence: Memes (or, as many know them, "those picture things with words on 'em").

While memes have become one of my favorite Internet sensations, one thing about them bothers me: A lack of proofreading.

Example: "The number of grammar errors on Facebook is to darn high!" It took me three tries to type that "to" incorrectly.

• Naughty: Pittsburgh teams.
The Penguins lost in the opening round of the playoffs to the loathed Flyers from across the state.
The Pirates, while showing much promise, found a way to collapse again and miss not only the playoffs, but yet another winning season.

The Steelers — well, that wound is too fresh to even elaborate on.

Overall, a terrible year in Pittsburgh sports history.

• Nice: California-based teams.
The Los Angeles Kings — who do happen to be my "Western Conference" team — tore through the NHL playoffs to claim the coveted Stanley Cup.

The San Francisco Giants won the World Series, again.

And, the Oakland Raiders didn't finish with the worst record in the NFL. Overall, a successful campaign.

• On the fence: Ohio sports teams. None of them won championships, but none of them proved to be the most embarrassing team in their league either.

• Naughty: Raw tomatoes.
There aren't a whole lot of things I won't at least force myself to eat. Raw tomatoes are on the short list, though.

Mash one up and make sauce out of it, I'm game.

Smash it and add some salt, ketchup is one of my favorite condiments.

Raw, though, I just can't stomach it.

• Nice: Beef jerky, of course.
For just as long as I've not been able to stand tomatoes, I've known beef jerky was something special.

The salty goodness, the fact that it's meat and the durability of the stuff all add to its niceness.

• On the fence: Mashed/baked potatoes.
While these potato items have always been right there beside tomatoes on the naughty list, they've been working on their behavior over the past year, and now, I include them both on the list of things I can at least eat. Sometimes, I even crave them.

• Naughty:
Anyone associated with the making of "Jersey Shore" or "Teen Mom.
"Most of the things that people say, do or post on social media sites that makes me want to vomit has to do with one of these two shows.
There are many shows on the naughty list, but these two take the cake.

• Nice:
"The Big Bang Theory" and "Go On."
One a longstanding classic comedy, the other a first-year show that touches the heart and the funny bone, these two shows stole the majority of my attention this year.
Well, when I wasn't watching ESPN, which always makes the nice list.

• On the fence: Partial reality shows, like "Gold Rush," "Moonshiners" and, yes, even "Deadliest Catch."
While most of these shows start off near the top of the nice list, producers seem to get a hold of them and drag them down into the ranks of the "Jersey Shore" and "Teen Mom" category.

I guess drama sells, but it won't earn you a place on the nice list.

• Naughty: Anything that includes that Marilyn Monroe-attributed quote, "If he can't handle me at my worst, he doesn't deserve me at my best."

First of all, it's always hard to tell if any Internet quote is actually correctly attributed.

Secondly, this quote and many like it breed the sense of entitlement that I find to encourage so much of what is wrong with this world.

Therefore, naughty list it is.

• Nice: Loca, the dog that can't run.
If you haven't seen it yet, this video is one of those instant classics that I had to bump to the top of my nice list lately, as it makes me laugh and brings me a good lesson at the same time.

I can't describe how good it is, though I will warn it's Irish, it has a bit of PG-13 language, and the singing voice is horribly annoying.

Other than that, it's an A+!

Overall, 2012 was a year of peaks and valleys. A lot of really cool things happened, and a lot of really-not-so-cool things happened.

But as we send off 2012 tonight and usher in 2013, I hope the upcoming year brings nothing but joy and blessings to all of us.

And please remember to celebrate safely tonight. God bless you all, and Happy New Year.

Zak Lantz is the editor of The Spirit.