One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2012 is to avoid waiting until the last minute to write these columns. (Another is to lose 10 pounds.) Unfortunately, it takes a deadline for me to focus on the writing (and to avoid chocolate for the weight).

In defense of my literary procrastination, often planning ahead doesn’t work. In this 24-hour news cycle world, an idea on Monday can be as fresh as four-day-old fish on Friday. (An editor once referred to a column of mine that way.)

A month ago I was writing about Herman Cain when he suddenly suspended his campaign (because of alleged sexual infidelities). This ruined my column and, for that matter, probably didn’t help his marriage very much.

On the record Herman admitted that he had a female “friend” of 13 years (Ginger White) whom he flew to championship boxing matches among other cross country rendezvous and whose bills he paid from time to time. But Herman insisted their relationship was strictly platonic. (That is, if you don’t count the sex?)

In an updated column, I was going to refer to Cain as the “black Pinocchio” at the risk of offending two of my core constituencies: African Americans and fans of Pinocchio. Then Herman dropped out of the presidential race altogether. I think that week I wrote about the weather.

In a sense, Cain was a victim of bad timing. Sure, he didn’t know a thing about Libya, but if Gaddafi hadn’t been on the run voters here might not have noticed. I did find it hilarious when Cain apologized for an incoherent answer about Libya by pointing to his head, “I’ve got so many things swirling around up there.”

Later, Cain got a bit defensive. “I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy,” he said, suggesting that’s what advisers are for. It’s all moot now because evidently when Herman “consulted” with Gloria about Ginger, being president seemed less important than winding up like John Wayne Bobbit.

Of those who had a less than stupendous 2011, Gaddafi might be near the top of the list (followed by Bin Laden, Kim Jong-il and Hosni Mubarak, in descending order).

After 42 years in power, Muammar didn’t exactly have a dignified end, being pulled out from a drain under a motorway (reminiscent of Saddam Hussein being pulled out of a hole below an Iraqi farmhouse). Reportedly Muammar’s last words to his captors were, “Hey, fellas what did I do to you?” (OK, I made up the “hey, fellas” part.)

Evidently when the laughing died so did Muammar. Admittedly I might be the only one who noticed this but it turns out that was a wig Gaddafi wore, oddly similar to Phil Spector’s. (I ask you, where else do you see Gaddafi and Spector in the same sentence?)

Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s brutal but wacky dictator, died of natural causes at 69. Curiously, in 2009, the North Korean constitution was amended to refer to him as the “supreme leader.” He was also called “dear leader,” “our father” and “nut job.” (OK, I made up the nut job part.)

Lil’ Kim, as Bill Maher calls Jong-il (he was 5-foot, 3-inches tall) was touted to his people as a God, which at his height seems a stretch. (No pun intended.) Ironically, Kim viewed Elvis as a God, which might explain his pompadour hairdo. (Strange as Kim’s hair was it was better than Gaddafi’s Hair Club for Men rug.)

Lil’ Kim is succeeded by Kim Jong-un, his youngest son, who’ll be 28 in January. (I wonder what his older brothers think about being passed over.) Instead of Elvis this Kim is obsessed with Michael Jordan. Obviously it’s genetic. Reportedly Jong-un’s best traits are that he’s “a big drinker and never admits defeat.” Not terribly comforting considering North Korea has nuclear bombs.

Osama bin Laden also bit the dust in 2011. Actually, it wasn’t dust. He was buried at sea. It’s possible the burial may have jeopardized his 72 virgins in heaven. How did they come up with 72? Wouldn’t 52, a virgin a week, be enough?

In his last moments Osama didn’t look all that dignified either. Broadcast worldwide was a video of him in old Pakistani pajamas, remote control in hand, watching a video of himself on TV. A short while later he had bullet holes where his eyes used to be. And not long after that he was in the North Arabian Sea “swimming with the fishes.”

But take heart, our current troubles may soon be irrelevant. The Mayans predicted that 2012 will mark the end of the world. On the bright side, that would seem to take the pressure off my New Year’s resolution to avoid waiting until the last moment to write these columns. (Not to mention losing the 10 pounds.)

Wishing a loyal reader, Honey Brady, a speedy recovery from recent hip surgery, Jack can be reached at

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