Like blips on the radar, they flared up this year, and if Andy Warhol was right, they'll fade out soon enough.
From the unlikely candidate to the Internet sensation, from the instrument that makes an annoying sound to the woman who makes a lot of annoying sounds, below are 15 people, places and things that had their 15 minutes of fame in 2010:
Steven Slater: When this JetBlue flight attendant lost his cool, grabbed a beer and exited an aircraft by deploying the emergency slide, he landed instant stardom. Sure, Steven Slater lost his job and had to appear in court to explain his actions, but he was hailed as a working class hero and he recently stumbled upon a new career: rapping.
Antoine Dodson: Antoine Dodson turned a near-tragedy to triumph when his rant about the attempted rape of his sister got the "AutoTune the News" treatment, went viral, and rocketed to jam-of-the-summer status. Dodson performed "Bed Intruder" at the BET Awards and used the earnings from the song to buy his family a new house. Antoine Dodson, making lemonade out of lemons since 2010: Run and tell that, homeboy.
Anna Chapman: The fleeting-sex-symbol-of-the-year award goes to Anna Chapman, who in June, was accused of being a Russian intelligence agent. Her front: dating New York City's up-and-comers and playing a foreign party girl. Her media-coined monikers: "femme fatale," "the modern day Bond girl" and "the stunning SoHo spy."
The Vuvuzela: Who can reminisce about the victories of the 2010 World Cup without remembering the incessant buzzing that accompanied every move on the field? Vuvuzelas annoyed soccer players and fans alike, but spectators at the South African games blew into the tubular trumpets like there was no tomorrow, which, for the Vuvuzela, there probably won't be.
Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi: On to another noisy thing: 2010 was the year that Snooki, the pint-sized, poofy-haired ingenue of MTV's "Jersey Shore" broke out in a big way. She got arrested. She tried out a different hairstyle. She scored a new boyfriend. She was made fun of in The New York Times. If that's not a banner year for a girl who got famous off her ability to say "Wah!" and eat pickles, what is?
Alvin Greene: You might think that an unemployed veteran who was arrested for allegedly exposing a young woman to online porn would have a slim chance of winning votes for public office. But as Alvin Greene proved this year, you'd be wrong. The 32-year-old political rookie made headlines after winning South Carolina's Democratic primary. Beginner's luck ended there -- in the November midterm elections, Greene was walloped by GOP incumbent Jim DeMint.
Oksana Grigorieva: It didn't seem as if Mel Gibson could look worse than he did after his 2006 alcohol-fueled, curse-laden rant -- that is, until recordings purportedly of him cursing out Oksana Grigorieva, his former girlfriend and the mother of his young daughter, leaked online. Grigorieva used the opportunity to build up her own profile, appearing on "Larry King Live!" and the like to dish about how Gibson allegedly abused her.
Paul the Octopus: An oracle who also has eight legs? This year, it wasn't a fairy tale. During the World Cup, Paul the Octopus, a magical German mollusk, made believers out of doubters by correctly predicting the outcomes of eight of the championship's matches. Before each game, Paul would be presented with snacks from the competing countries, and the snack he consumed first determined his pick. Alas, he won't get a chance to charm soccer lovers again. Paul died in October of natural causes, but not before being immortalized on T-shirts and an iPhone app.
Jimmy McMillan: With facial hair that fierce, and nicknames like "Papa Smurf" and "The Black Hulk Hogan," Jimmy McMillan was destined for stardom. No matter that he ran for governor of New York this year with minimal political experience. His battle cry, "The rent is too damn high," resonated far and wide among strapped New York City residents -- well, until it was revealed that because he serves as the maintenance person for his Brooklyn building, he doesn't pay any rent at all.
The Chilean Miners: The world watched as they emerged from a mile underground, sooty, sweaty, and full of spirit. But the drama didn't stop when the tenacious 33 saw the light of day. One set off a battle between his mistress and his wife. Another became the classic comeback king: the miner who ran in the New York City marathon.
Eyjafjallajokull: Hard to pronounce? Yes. Annoying? Even more so. This spring, the Icelandic volcano made a lot of people mimic its colorful spelling when they exclaimed things like "Fqwer7*!" after learning that their flights to and from Europe had been delayed or canceled because of ash clogging the air for thousands of miles.
Larry Platt: Not since William Hung has an "American Idol" reject won so much by getting booted from the show. "General" Larry Platt hit a nerve with his "Idol" audition that featured his anthem about appropriate lower-body wear, "Pants on the Ground." Key lyrics include, "Lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground." Though Simon Cowell stopped him from entering the competition's gilded gates, Platt scored online fame and a guest spot on "The View," in which he gave an impassioned rendition of his signature song.
Isaiah Mustafa: 2010 saw any number of Web sensations, none more seductive than Mustafa, "The Old Spice Guy," who sauntered into our collective consciousness after his Super Bowl commercial debut. "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" turned Mustafa into a virile, viral icon, setting off a YouTube viewing spree, a host of follow-up videos, and an Emmy for best commercial of the year. Even Oprah Winfrey bought the hype, declaring "that commercial has women everywhere wishing their guys looked and smelled like this." Next year, Mustafa plans to transition from hawking body wash to acting in movies and films, in which he may or may not wear a shirt and smell good.
Tom Selleck Waterfall Sandwich: Not all of the Internet memes (quickly spreading trends) of 2010 were flesh-and-blood. Many involved amalgams of video and photographs that gained steam thanks to their sheer absurdity. Case in point: SelleckWaterfallSandwich.com, a blog that features exactly what it suggests -- photo mash-ups of "Magnum P.I.", cascades of water and bread with meat.
Sad Keanu: After Tom Selleck Waterfall Sandwich came Sad Keanu, an Internet meme that showered "Speed" star Keanu Reeves with the kind of press he hadn't seen in decades. In May, a paparazzo snapped a series of photos of a downtrodden-looking Reeves sitting on a park bench, eating a sandwich and looking glum about the world. Online, fans Photoshopped the original image, putting the actor in new and fantastic scenes. A Facebook movement was born and its 14,000-plus members celebrated Cheer Up Keanu Day on June 15. But Reeves wasn't laughing -- in a statement issued through his representative, he called the meme a "misinterpretation" and urged fans to turn their attention elsewhere, say, to LOL Cats.