Bored of watching the fizz seep out of post-IPO social-media companies? Still sore from being the rope in an election-year tug of war in which both parties claimed to be the champion of small business? Wondering whether you can order a foot rub from Amazon and get it delivered this afternoon? It's time to start your mental engines and take our annual quiz covering odd, obscure, and outrageous business news of 2012.
1. Which spin on a successful business is a real start-up?
A. Klouchebag--like Klout, only instead of measuring your online influence, it assesses how much of an "asshat" you are.
B. Fourscore--like Foursquare, only instead of urging people to check in, it urges them to ensure the survival of democracy during the Civil War.
C. Pinteresque--like Pinterest, only instead of virtual pins and photos, you get the oblique dialogue and long, menacing silences of playwright Harold Pinter.
D. IMAuntB--like IMDb, only instead of an exhaustive source of data on film and television, it posthumously publishes the diaries of The Andy Griffith Show's maternal character.
2. Which inappropriate interaction occurred during a political campaign visit to a small business?
A. The owner of a gym in Arizona asked Paul Ryan to help him snake a hair plug out of a shower drain.
B. The owner of a dry-cleaning store in Colorado set Ron Paul up with his great-aunt.
C. The owner of an Italian restaurant in Florida hoisted President Obama into the air.
D. The owner of a ball-bearings factory in Idaho challenged Newt Gingrich to a staring contest.
3. Which of the following did not land Starbucks in the news?
A. Customers were distressed to learn that one of the company's drinks got its pink hue from crushed insects.
B. Responding to customers' discomfort with the practice of taking names with each order, some stores asked customers to instead identify themselves with distinctive, high-pitched keening sounds.
C. A store in a California resort created a ski-through window.
D. An outlet opened inside a funeral home in South Carolina.
4. Which of the following is not a real lawsuit filed this year?
A. The French town of Condom sued the Original Condom Company for claiming its products were made there, rather than in Malaysia.
B. Ben & Jerry's sued a DVD distributor over pornographic films themed around the company's flavors.
C. Academy, a Texas sporting-goods company, sued defense contractor Blackwater for changing its name to Academi.
D. Disney sued Zynga over its new social-simulation game Cruella De Ville.
5. A Valentine's Day survey revealed that...
A. Twitter users are sexier than Facebook users.
B. Google users are muskier than Yahoo users.
C. Gilt users are more regular than Ideeli users.
D. Groupon users are chalkier than LivingSocial users.
6. Which conclusion was not announced in a new study?
A. Dogs in the workplace reduce stress.
B. Music in the workplace improves productivity.
C. Meditation in the workplace increases focus.
D. Researchers observing the effects of dogs, music, and meditation in the workplace distract employees.
7. Eric Simons gained notoriety for doing what while launching his start-up?
A. Trick-or-treating to raise money for UNICEF, then diverting the funds to buy promotional T-shirts.
B. Secretly squatting in the offices of AOL.
C. Renting a cruise ship for a holiday party attended only by himself, his UPS guy, and the clerk from Kinko's.
D. Not eating ramen.
8. A Facebook executive risked incurring the wrath of Mark Zuckerberg when he...
A. Embarked on a campaign to promote deep relationships among people who genuinely care about one another.
B. Signed up Walter Isaacson for book contracts that will keep him busy for 60 years, consigning Zuck to a lesser biographer.
C. Posted a photo of his boss shirtless on Facebook.
D. Hired MySpace co-founder Tom Anderson to break into Zuckerberg's home and roam around at night rattling chains.
Answers: 1. A, 2. C, 3. B, 4. D, 5. A, 6. D, 7. B, 8. C