CALLING OF THE YEAR
George Bush allegedly told two Palestinian politicians, "I am driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did," he explained. "And then God would tell me, 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did. And, now again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go and get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security and get peace in the Middle East'. And by God, I'm gonna do it." God did not comment on the allegations.
BABY OF THE YEAR
A hotly contested position. Charles Kennedy's son Donald arrived with disastrous timing in April, causing his father to take time off from election campaigning and almost to fall asleep at the LibDems' manifesto launch. Scientologists Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced the imminent arrival of their own first child, who will be delivered in silence, despite the mother having sworn to remain a virgin until her wedding night. The most surprising pregnancy was Bridget Jones's. Surprising most of all to Bridget, and to the baby's two fathers.
TRAGIC ANIMAL STORY OF THE YEAR
Roman Abramovich's parrot found it was persona non grata in New Zealand in November, when it attempted to enter the country without its paperwork. Abramovich's yacht was forced to weigh anchor off the coast of Tonga, because officials could not be sure his African Grey was clear of bird flu. Rest assured that the Queen's corgis travelled in comfort, after she rejected a new £80,000 Daimler Super Eight Jaguar limousine because its parcel shelf was not big enough for her little darlings.
UNIVERSITY OF THE BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS STUDY OF THE YEAR
Which revealed that men who are insecure about their masculinity are more likely to buy a big car. "Masculinity-threatened men also reported feeling more ashamed, guilty, upset and hostile," reported Cornell University. "When women were told they had masculine traits their attitudes did not change as a result."
ROW OF THE YEAR
It was a close-run thing. George Michael and Elton John started well with a fight that John later described as "handbags at 50 paces". Then George Galloway tipped the balance by describing Christopher Hitchens as a "drink-soaked, former Trotskyist popinjay". But in October, Joan Rivers and Darcus Howe turned the air blue on Libby Purves's normally genteel Radio 4 show, Midweek. "Don't you dare call me a racist ... son of a bitch!" spat Rivers. Purves eventually salvaged the conversation by turning in panic to a nearby plant photographer.
STORM IN A D-CUP OF THE YEAR
Peter Mandelson probably never imagined he would become embroiled in bra wars. But that is exactly what happened to the EU Trade Commissioner when 85 million bras, jumpers and other Chinese-made gar-ments were held in temporary confinement in European warehouses after a row about quotas. Many retailers including Marks & Spencer, were forced to turn to alternative suppliers during the crisis.
OVERREACTION OF THE YEAR
Bluewater shopping centre received the support of John Prescott - and the scorn of the rest of Britain - when it banned teenagers wearing hoodies from its premises. Prescott said that he, too, had felt "intimidated" when he was approached last year by "about 10 kids wearing hoods, you know, these covers with hoods on". Others were reminded of famous hood-wearers from history, including Mother Teresa. And Jesus.
HOTPANTS OF THE YEAR
A pair of tasselled, gold hotpants worn by Kylie Minogue in her 2000 video for Spinning Around have been insured for £1m. The hotpants went on display in January in an exhibition of Kylie memorabilia in Melbourne. They are being kept in a bulletproof display case and there are guards on duty around the clock to protect the tiny knickers from thieves.
ABOUT-TURN OF THE YEAR
Which legendary feminist academic once icily described watching Big Brother as "about as dignified as looking through the keyhole in your teenage child's bedroom door. To do it occasionally would be shameful, to get hooked on it is downright depraved"? Yes, that would have been Germaine Greer, who appeared in Celebrity Big Brother in January with John McCririck, Jackie Stallone and others. She lasted five days before walking out.
FASHION GAFFE OF THE YEAR
You know those times when you really regret coming in fancy dress? Prince Harry had one of those weeks after wearing a Nazi uniform to the party for some of his friends, a few days before his family led events to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. "I am very sorry if I caused offence or embarrassment to anyone," he said later. "It was a poor choice of costume." By contrast, Prince William's skin-tight leopard outfit seemed a roaring success.