Friday, December 31, 1999

There is fighting in the Spice Islands in Indonesia. I’m not sure, since there hasn’t been much reportage on it, but I think it’s because they just found out that just because they’re the Spice Islands doesn’t mean they get the Spice Girls.

There was a secret plan to build Belfast’s millennium beacon out of decommissioned terrorist weapons. Unfortunately, no one turned any in.

I just ran another check on my computer and found that while it recognizes the year 2000, it does not recognize 2100, when I still plan to be using the computer, if only to piss Kevin off.

A goodbye to the oldest person in the world, who died just before the millennium minus one, at 119. And to anybody else who happens to be raptured.

And a big hello to President Putin, which is Russian for Gerald Ford.

Thursday, December 30, 1999

Shouldn’t it be the bi-millennium? Anyway, for those not of the Christian faith, which as far as I know is all of us, the millennium, according to South Park, is the day every thousand years when Jesus comes out and if he sees his own shadow, we will have a thousand years of peace and contentment.

Jesus will appear on the Mount of Olives, and you can watch it on web-cam. Well, you can if your web-server isn’t an incredible wimp like mine, which is shutting down for a day just to be safe.

With increasing mutterings about whether the Russian apartment building bombings were just a Reichstag/Tonkin Gulf-type incident, the Russians miraculously arrested some of the culprits yesterday. Very believable.

So on Monday Turkmenistan abolishes the death penalty, and on Tuesday it names Niyazov president-for-life. I’m sure this amounts to some sort of collective statement about life imprisonment, but whatever.

Guatemala elects a president who is a confessed multiple murderer and, worse, a crony slash puppet of Efrian Rios Montt of evil memory. And it wasn’t even close. In Peru, Fujimori is also giving that president for life thing a go. And in Venezuela, the first thing former failed-coup leader and now elected-president Hugo Chavez does when there’s a national disaster is start wearing military fatigues. At least in the good old days immortalized by the movie Bananas, when these assholes seized power through coups rather than elections, you could kid yourself that the locals would probably prefer to live in a democracy.

A perhaps unfortunate headline in the Washington Post: “Tipper Gore Has Lump Removed.” But he’s still running for president, right?

Saturday, December 25, 1999

NY Times headline: Scientists Place Jellyfish Genes into Monkeys. It’s good to have a hobby. And their hobby is Tampering in God’s Domain.

Britain discovered it first, because of their tradition of the Queen sending telegrams to people on their 100th birthday: the YXCX Bug. Computers made Y2K compliant no longer recognize the year 1900, which they now think is 2000. That sound you’ll be hearing a week from today is every computer in the world singing “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do...” in chorus.

Wednesday, December 22, 1999

A news update from my vacation period.

Texas removed a death row inmate from intensive care two days after he attempted suicide in order to execute him. Dubya’s 113th execution, I believe.

A Zimbabwe couple have a bet as to which of them is infertile. A judge allows the wife until Feb. 22 to have affairs without risking divorce in order to win the bet, which is I believe for $200.

Forbes accused Dubya of being weak on abortion because a stretch of Texas highway is named after a doctor who performed abortions (and whose son is in the state legislature).

A second and third Nigerian state adopt sharia law.

The US wished Panama a merry isthmus (I know, I know).

I said it in one of these very e-mails: Kenneth Starr’s office did not have the authority to waive Maryland law. Tripp and Starr’s people get into a he-said-she-said in court over the alleged promise of immunity, raising the question of why it wasn’t on tape. The members of the Starr Chamber say that what they told her is that they would make it almost impossible for Maryland to convict her, which sounds rather like obstruction. Fortunately for MD, Tripp bragged about taping Monica to her bridge group, and had an Xmas party to which Monica was invited so that all her bridge cronies could look her over.

A robber was caught after holding up someone at an ATM machine. The machine was located in the lobby of the 77th Street police station in LA.

India discovers a prisoner who’s been sitting in a cell since 1963. They postponed his trial due to his mental instability, and forgot to get back to it.

The pope apologizes for the execution of Jan Hus in 1415.

A new law bans crush videos, in which women in high heels crush small animals. Something else you probably read here first, back in 1996 or so.

Two Brits become the first gay couple jointly listed as father on a California birth certificate, with no mother. They hired one woman to bear the in vitro embryo from another woman--reproduction as three-card monte. You can tell they spent too long in Cal. because the kids (twins) are named (shudder) Aspen and Saffron.

Macau goes back to the Chinese, if you consider something that was a Portuguese colony for three plus centuries to belong to China. No one will miss the Portuguese, as ever the worst of all European colonialists. There are a lot of casinos, though, as befits a reservation.

If Barak manages to negotiate a peace deal with Syria, which would evidently cost the US tens of billions of dollars, he will have to use some of that money to bribe the Shas party in order for it to pass the Knesset. Shas’s religious schools have been going bankrupt and have been forced into such expedients as selling videos of a fake exorcism (I hadn’t even known that Jews had exorcisms; I’m picturing Linda Blair spitting up matzo ball soup).

As the Russian elections show, genocide is just good politics.

Monday, December 06, 1999

In one of the great public relations moves of the war, Russia creates a puppet Chechen militia unit under a puppet former mayor of Grozny, who they found, conveniently enough, in a prison serving a term for embezzlement.

Unity in Northern Ireland achieved at last: the first move of the new Stormont Assembly, literally the first, is to vote itself a 30% pay rise.

Emma Thompson has her first child, named, until she can come up with something better,

A church in Little Rock has set up a drive-through Nativity scene. Now normally I’m against drunk driving....

The Daily Telegraph has another of its odd little juxtapositions. One story says that paintballing war games has led to a rise in serious eye injuries. The next says that marijuana improves the vision, that scientists have discovered the ingredient that causes Caribbean fishermen who drink a rum & cannabis concoction to say that they can see in the dark. I think I may just cancel my Thursday opthamologist appointment.

Friday, December 03, 1999

Some of the best political news this year, in case you weren’t paying attention, is the Newt Gingrich divorce. It will give us lots of opportunities to hear about Newtie’s sex life (shudder shudder), but the political part is that his decision to contest it, and allow every sordid detail to be examined publicly, means that his political career is dead forever.

On the other hand, Bob Dornan’s son is thinking about running for Congress.

At the first debate he bothers showing up for, George Dubya says over and over that if Texas were a country it would have the 11th largest economy in the world. He also said that he was the only one of the candidates who had ever signed a tax-cut bill. Great, he signed a bill. He can sign his name on a piece of paper. That qualifies him to run the fries machine at McDonald’s or graduate from USC, but not be president. Still, if word leaked out that there was going to be a test on name-signing at some point in the presidential primaries, it would explain why Quayle dropped out.

Wednesday, December 01, 1999

New Zealand has the world’s first transexual MP.

How nice that at the Seattle conference on world trade, the US got to display one of its best exports--crowd control weaponry.

Bumper sticker seen in Berkeley: The truly educated never graduate. I don’t think I’ll repeat that one to my mother. The bumper sticker was on a beat-up old Peugeot, if you were wondering.

For everyone on your Christmas list: a book called Meditation for Dummies.

The IRA now has control over education in Northern Ireland. Mostly Protestant education, actually, since the Catholics mostly go to private schools. The rumor is that truancy or throwing spitballs will now be punished by kneecapping.