Published December 28, 2012
Time to see if you were paying attention over the past year.
What vanishing products will Americans pretend to miss the most? A) Newsweek, print edition. B) Kodak film. C) Phone books. D) Twinkies.
Best Buy Co. (BBY) emerged as: A) a struggling retailer that only its founder would be crazy enough to buy. B) a showroom for Amazon.com Inc. C) a company that makes RadioShack Corp. look, well, not so bad. D) all of the above.
Which U.S. corporation surpassed ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM) as the world's most valuable company? A) the Trump organization. B) Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. C) Yum Brands Inc. and its Taco Bell franchise. D) Apple Inc.
The U.S. economy: A) grew modestly. B) grew moderately. C) grew meagerly. D) grew mainly because we're borrowing and printing more money by the trillions.
The 17 nations that use the euro: A) finally unloaded Greece, selling the debt-ridden nation to Marriott International Inc. (AMR) for $1. B) showed the world that austerity works so much better than simply printing more money. C) was economically resuscitated by McDonald's Corp. (MCD) and Disneyland Paris. D) slid into another recession.
What TV characters did Goldman Sachs (GS) managing directors cynically compare to their clients, according to disgruntled former Goldman guy Greg Smith? A) Smurfs. B) Power Rangers. C) Mr. Magoo. D) Muppets.
Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta was: A) a nice guy, a family man and a philanthropist. B) a prominent and widely respected businessman who served on the boards of some of America's biggest companies. C) sentenced to two years in a federal prison for feeding insider trading tips to former hedge fund manager and convicted felon Raj Rajaratnam. D) all of the above.
Eastman Kodak Co. is: A) the company that brought film photography to the masses. B) the company that invented digital photography. C) one of the largest bankruptcy cases filed in 2012. D) somehow, all of the above.
The states of Colorado and Washington bolstered a budding new industry by legalizing: A) dirty dancing. B) littering. C) jaywalking. D) weed.
The solution to nuts shooting up schools and theaters, according to National Rifle Association Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre, is to: A) formally include private ownership of smart bombs and nuclear weapons as Second Amendment rights. B) offer to purchase a gun safe for every assault-rifle-lugging mom. C) provide mandatory gun-safety courses to people who hold press conferences and shoot themselves in the foot. D) put more guns in schools, blame the media for portraying gun violence, and call him crazy.
Facebook Inc.'s (FB) initial public stock offering: A) brought "the hoodie" back in vogue with a vengeance at New York's Fashion Week. B) made more people "like" lead underwriter Morgan Stanley. C) made hundreds of millions of Facebook users look even cooler. D) popularized the term "Faceplant."
What is "the London Whale?" A) The name British people prefer over "Moby Dick." B) The inevitable result of America exporting its obesity crisis abroad. C) BP PLC's latest disaster at sea. D) Some guy named Bruno Iksil, who lost $6.2 billion trading in credit markets for J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
What is Libor? A) A boring lie. B) A small, neighborhood library. C) A cross between a lion and a wild pig. D) The London Interbank Offered Rate, illegally manipulated by global banking cartels.
Which major bank settled civil fraud allegations in 2012? A) Bank of America Corp. B) Citigroup Inc. C) Wells Fargo & Co. D) A better question would be, What major bank didn't settle fraud allegations in 2012? Geez, one bank, HSBC Holdings PLC, even had to settle allegations it was laundering money for Mexican drug lords.
Mary Schapiro left her post as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission because: A) she's completely reformed Wall Street in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse. B) everybody is pretty sure the agency will catch the next Bernie Madoff. C) the role of Wall Street's top cop just isn't challenging now that white-collar crime has been completely stamped out. D) none of the above.
Pundits said President Barack Obama couldn't be re-elected because A) he smokes cigarettes. B) his birth certificate expired. C) Mitt Romney has more street cred. D) no president gets re-elected with unemployment this high.
Who popularized one of the most misleading terms of 2012, "fiscal cliff?" A) The Tea Party. B) A little-known accountant from the Wisconsin Dells. C) Rush Limbaugh. D) Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
If we go over the fiscal cliff, it means: A) the apocalypse is at hand. B) Mr. Bernanke no longer will be able to print more money. C) President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner will never be able to take cigarette breaks together. D) taxes will go up, spending will be cut, and we'll have the recession we'd be in now if we weren't propping up the economy with government spending.
Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Meg Whitman is poised to go down in history as: A) the leader of an amazing technology turnaround. B) the architect of a novel corporate strategy: Take an $8.8 billion write-down, then allege it's because of another company's accounting fraud. C) the next governor of California. D) the next H-P CEO to be fired.
In 2012, Occupy Wall Street: A) purchased seats on the New York Stock Exchange. B) introduced concepts of peace, love and goodwill toward men to global financial markets. C) acquired Zuccotti Park in a hostile takeover. D) What the heck is Occupy Wall Street, again?
What critical planetary event happened Dec 21? A) The world ended, as predicted by the ancient Maya, and we are all in heaven. B) A giant asteroid crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, but the government covered it up. C) A new galactic alignment somehow reversed a sagging global economy. D) It really was the beginning of the end of the world, but it is happening so slowly there is no need for alarm.
The correct answer to every question is D, as in dah! Happy New Year!
(Al's Emporium, written by Dow Jones Newswires columnist Al Lewis, offers commentary and analysis on a wide range of business subjects through an unconventional perspective. Contact Al at firstname.lastname@example.org or tellittoal.com)