Rocketing around the Christmas tree

2018 was scary, groundbreaking, sad, triumphant, disastrous, intriguing and just plain weird. Let us take you back with a Christmas tree embodying the year’s most memorable moments.

The world’s first black superhero in mainstream comics got his very own movie in February. “Black Panther” overtook “Deadpool” to become the highest-grossing solo/nonsequel superhero movie of all time, setting other box office records, as well. The film kicked off a year of diversity in Hollywood with films such as “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Oceans 8” following suit.

She wasn’t seeded at the French Open after her comeback from maternity leave, her catsuit was banned and to wrap it all up, she lost the U.S. Open after a coaching violation. Serena Williams spent a tough year in the spotlight.

Known for their fruity flavors and close resemblance to a flash drive, these e-cigarettes popped up in high schools across the nation, while the Food and Drug Administration scrambled to stop the Juuling epidemic.

Volcanoes in Hawaii, forest fires sweeping California and historic flooding in the Carolinas. Natural disasters brought record-breaking destruction to much of the United States.

They come with a warning to “Keep out of reach of children,” but who knew that extended to teenagers? The “Tide Pod Challenge” went viral as teens popped the colorful detergent packs in their mouths for a shot at online fame.

Many issues divided us in 2018, but none quite like the Yanny/Laurel audio clip debate. Did hearing “Laurel” make you old? Did it matter which speakers you heard it through? If you slowed it down? Eventually science sided with the “Laurel” hearers. But I heard “Yanny,” and I’m still not convinced.

First came the bikeshares, then the dockless bikes and, finally, the scooters. Soon cities were covered in them. Scooter bros wove through traffic and past pedestrians. Though slow and fun, the scooters came with their own risks (serious injuries and death have been reported), as well as fear that scooters can catch on fire.

He loves him, he loves him not. Kanye West waffled on his political views, boasting support for President Trump, meeting him and then eventually deciding he wasn't a big fan, after all.

Democrats gained enough seats to flip the house blue during the 2018 midterm election. In its wake, all eyes were on Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who cinched enough votes to become speaker of the House.

The push for gender equality and fight against harassment gained even more momentum this year. The #MeToo movement grew stronger as more survivors shared stories. The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund for sexual misconduct victims was created. Frances McDormand advocated for inclusion riders at the Oscars, and female directors pushed to close the gender gap in Hollywood. A record number of women were elected to office during the midterm elections. A decades-old ban was lifted in Saudi Arabia, giving women permission to drive.

People scrambled to Google “Dotard” as name-calling and threats were exchanged between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The risk of a potential nuclear war loomed. In Hawaii, people scrambled for shelter after a false alarm warned of an incoming missile. The situation seemingly calmed down after a meeting between the two leaders.

The Army, the Navy and the Space Force? Yes, you read that correctly. Rev up your rocket ships. Vice President Pence proposed plans for a sixth branch of the military to defend against potential threats from China and Russia, which have developed missiles that can destroy U.S. satellites.