Remember two years ago when everybody was fretting about Y2K, and it turned out that nothing really bad happened (unless you owned dot-com stocks)? Then we thought we were off the hook when 2001 came around, but this turned out to be the truly awful year.

(Of course, for most people outside of North America, Europe and a few pockets of Asia, 2001 was just as awful as any other year. But our super-patriots aren't really interested in the ongoing troubles of those dirty little foreigners, are they? Hmm. Maybe that explains a thing or two.)

There's no point dwelling on the obvious horrors, although you wouldn't know that from the mainstream media. So, with unabashed irreverence, we present our annual survey of the year's dubious achievements, compiled by Leo Banks and Jim Nintzel.

And before you get to that, there's Dave Devine's update of various local stories he's covered in the Weekly during the past 12 months.

Then, toward the back of the editorial portion of this fine publication, our four most faithful pop-music writers survey the CDs they've enjoyed most during 2001. After everything that's happened this year, we really ought to wrap things up on a pleasurable note.

May the new year be an improvement on the old.