Jan. 1 - The First Family ushers in the New Year with a White House gala. Uninvited guests in attendance include Kate Gosselin; Richard and Mayumi Heene and their son, Balloon Boy; Scottish singer Susan Boyle, and John Gosselin.
Jan. 26 - Sarah Palin addresses a "pot luck" luncheon sponsored by Guns 'n Ammo Magazine at the Holiday Inn in Arlington, Va. On Fox News, due to a "production error," Palin's remarks are intercut with crowd reaction from the Beatles' 1965 concert at Shea Stadium.
Feb. 10 - Declaring that "Oprah has been my inspiration," a tearful Jay Leno announces he will retire from his prime-time NBC program in September 2011.
Feb. 11 - NBC cancels the Jay Leno Show, effective immediately, and replaces it with reruns of the fourth hour of Today.
Mar. 1 - In a Note to Readers, The New York Times explains that "due to increased production costs" the price of the daily paper will be raised to $18. The Sunday edition will cost $45.
Mar. 8 - Citing overcrowding in the West Wing, President Obama announces plans for a 32-story Department of Czars Headquarters to be erected on Pennsylvania Avenue. Spokesman Robert Gibbs says construction of the building will be "deficit neutral" thanks to a tax on all non-emergency hair transplants costing more than $5,000.
Mar. 14 - A disgruntled New York Times reader is arrested for smashing a vending machine that jammed when she tried to deposit 112 quarters and 340 nickels for a Sunday paper.
Apr. 4 - As the baseball season begins, the Yankees and Twins complete a blockbuster deal in which New York gets catcher Joe Mauer and pitcher Joe Nathan, whose annual contracts total $23 million, in exchange for four "luxury box seats" at Yankee Stadium, valued by the Yankees at $26 million.
May 10 - The Secret Service releases a 940-page report on keeping uninvited reality-TV performers away from White House events. Effective immediately, tweezers will be banned and guests will be required to remove their shoes when entering the building.
May 12 - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi withdraws support for a tax on private air travel in excess of $10 million per year after aides discover that Pelosi is the only American to whom the tax would apply.
June 8 - NASA's $210 billion unmanned rocket, Dust Finder II, crashes shortly after takeoff from Vandenberg AFB in California, but manages to send back photos confirming that traces of water once existed in almond groves near Fresno.
June 17 - Declaring that six months "is exactly the indefinite break I had in mind," Tiger Woods enters the U.S. Open, then withdraws a few hours later after TMZ reveals that Woods cheated on Steve Williams by texting other caddies for yardage information.
July 4 - President and Mrs. Obama share the first dance at a gala Fourth of July party in Washington, but the president is startled when uninvited guest Donny Osmond cuts in to tango with the First Lady.
Aug. 20 - The Treasury Department projects the 2010 deficit will reach a staggering $1.89 trillion. By way of underscoring the magnitude of the sum, officials point out it's enough to buy every man, woman and child in the U.S. a copy of The Sunday New York Times.
Sept. 7 - Stating that it has "fully exploited" the market for television, telephone, Internet and home security products, communications giant Comcast begins delivering hot and cold running water by cable.
Sept. 18 - Over 5,000 people wait in line at a suburban Boston clinic for the new H3N3 vaccine, but are told they must first be given the H2N2 and H1N1 vaccines, which should arrive "any day now."
Oct. 11 - Executives at Goldman Sachs receive their H4N4 vaccinations.
Nov. 2 - Americans flock to the polls to fill 435 House seats and 37 Senate positions. Democrats gain one seat in the Senate while losing two in the House, in what commentator Sean Hannity calls "an unprecedented indictment of a sitting president."
Nov. 10 - Chinese manufacturers release new toys aimed at Americans enamored of things that accomplish very little. The line includes: Zhu Zhu Rock, Zhu Zhu Stick, and Zhu Zhu Commentator.
Nov. 24 - Attorney General Eric Holder tells reporters that President Obama will no longer issue a blanket pardon to a Thanksgiving turkey. Holder says this year's turkey will be given a civilian trial in New York.
Dec. 25 - Sasha and Malia Obama celebrate Christmas at the White House, but are dismayed when Santa turns out to be undocumented illegal guest Lou Dobbs.
Dec. 31 - In his year-end message to the nation, posted on Daily Kos, President Obama says his goals for 2011 include reforming health care, bringing the troops home, reducing unemployment, and arranging speedy trials for the hundreds of uninvited White House guests being held at Guantanamo Bay.
© Peter Funt. This column first appeared in The Boston Globe.