Well, that went fast. Seems like we were just saying farewell to 2011, and now here we are, rounding up the top events of 2012. Let's take a look back at what they're already calling "our third-favorite round-numbered year in this century."

By year's end the number of Vikings stadium proposals had risen to 47, including one novel idea that kept the team in the Metrodome, but used much smaller players, so it looked like everything was bigger. In the end the state agreed to contribute $62 million for a stadium, which was considered a bargain until it was revealed that the stadium is in Los Angeles.

The drought ended in the spring, when rains came exactly on schedule and fell in regular amounts, giving way to a summer with normal temps and the expected number of tornadoes; after a brisk fall of steadily declining temperatures, snow fell through most of December. "It was the most extremely normal year for weather we've ever seen," said one climatologist, citing sunspots, La Niña, El Niño, La Bomba, secondhand smoke and the impact of the incandescent light bulb ban.

Target surprised everyone by leaving the state in the middle of the night for low-tax Texas; turns out they'd been mailing portions of the entire company to Austin for years, seeking to avoid the spectacle of government officials begging them to stay. "It's just embarrassing for everyone," said one company official. "We figured it was either this, or try to get down the jetway with the mayor and the governor clinging to your ankles."

In September, Block E lost its last tenant, a fellow sitting in the entryway selling pencils. Plans were announced to tear down the structure and replace it with an exact duplicate called Block E2, which will open completely empty, in the hopes that it will eventually fill up with tenants. (Bob's Pencils was offered first crack, but declined.)

But that was the bad news. The good news didn't make the paper -- the weddings and births, glorious sunsets, perfect summer days on the lake, the gentle civility that makes life here such a pleasure. Oh, and there was an election, too! And everyone was satisfied with the result.

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858 More daily at www.startribune.com/popcrush.