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Jewish World Review Jan. 2, 2003 / 28 Teves 5763

Steve Young

Steve Young
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A look back at a sorry but pretty funny year




http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | What a year! 365 days chock full of fun, fun, fun. Terrorism...Insider Trading... Unemployment... Enron... Snipers...Church Scandals...War...?! Then again with the triple play apology combination of Ovitz to Trent to Cardinal Law, 2002 could be easily called a very sorry year. Can you say, "party"?!

But as the real world hurtled along with his usual dearth of these good times, we are assured that the Creator does has a sense of humor as he gave us plenty of '02 moments, suitable for your entertainment needs.

Lest we forget...

TAKE 98 DEGREES WITH YOU: When N'Sync's Justin Timberlake wasn't warbling songs appropriate for anyone under ten, he was suited up, training for space exploration, Russian style. So far he hasn't made it but donations are pouring in with the stipulation that he take ex-flame, Britney Spears, with him. (Note: No donations have come in for the return flight) Rumors of former astronauts Gagarin and Glenn forming boy band run rampant.

INSIDER TRADING...IT'S A GOOD THING: The House Energy and Commerce committee called designing diva Martha Stewart in front of them to explain her seeming stock indiscretions. She not only took the fifth, she actually fashioned a lovely taffeta comforter suitable for framing out of it. Keep in mind that Martha's actual benefit totaled approximately $48,000 over what she would have gained if she waited a day after the news. Meanwhile, after billions of dollars of bad advice to investors, telecommunications analyst, Jack Grubman, received 13.2 million severance from Salomon, Smith Barney. Sending Martha to prison for her little faux pas would be cruel and unusual punishment. My G-d, do you know how low the thread count is in prison sheets?

OZZIE AND HARRIET TURNING OVER? Drugs, drinking, enough obscenities to fill a headless bat...The Osbournes are now America's first family. Invited to the White House and toasted by the President, will Conservative values ever be the same.

AMERICA GOES MADISON AVE.: "Were going to put lipstick on this pig and see if it flies.". The metaphor comes home as the Bush administration creates the Office of Global Communication to counteract a poor image of America to the rest of the world leading to an abundant of slogan possibilities.

(John: Pick as many as you'd like)

  • "America...Its Gr-e-e-e-at!"

  • "Got Freedom?"

  • "Don't Hate Me Because I'm America"

  • "I'd Walk A Mile For A Democracy"

  • "Don't Leave Home Without America" -"Look Ma, No Terrorists"

  • "Put An American In Your Tank"

  • "America -- The Other White Country"

  • "America Melts In Your Mouth, Not In Your Hand"

  • "Bush...It Takes A Tough Man To Make A Tender Country"

  • "America...It's finger-lickin' good"

  • "You Give Us 22 Minutes And We'll Give You Capitalism"

  • "America...The Country That Refreshes"

  • "Remember Hiroshima? Maybe You Want To Be Our Friend."

AND, OF COURSE, TO BACK IT ALL UP, THE RIGHT JINGLE...

My country has a first name, it's U-n-i-t-ed
My country has a second name, it's S-t-a-t-es
I love to live here every day,
And if you ask me why I'll say...
"Cause America has a way with F-r-e-e-d-o-m."

MR. TOP GOES TO WASHINGTON? Backstreet Boy, Howie Dorough and Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts, provide expert testimony in front of congressional committees. Any day, look for Carrot Top to testify about his nuclear proliferation concerns.

MASTERS HAS SUFFRAGE PROBLEMS: Hootie Johnson, chairman of the male-only Augusta National Golf Club, refuses to buckle under and open membership to women prior to this year's Masters Tournament. At Hooties's birthday party, Trent Lott said we wouldn't have all the problems we have today if Hootie had been elected President in1920.

AARP OUGHTA PICKET. Tom Hanks received AFI's Lifetime Achievement Award at the age of 47. How did the poor old guy make it up to the stage. Next year, Freddie Prinze Jr.?

BUT YOU HAD THE VOTES: Al Gore the man who received the most votes for President in 2000, dropped out of the '04 race. Maybe because his appearance on Saturday Night Live received better ratings than his own ratings among Democrats.

OOPS!...SHE'S ON THE COVER AGAIN. Forbes Magazine named Britney Spears the most powerful celebrity in the world, which leads one to believe that Radio Disney has replaced Billboard as the foremost authority and indicator of musical taste.

SKATEGATE. AND TANYA HARDING WASN'T WITHIN A MILE OF THE EVENT: Can you say rigged...in French? At the Winter Olympics, Canadian figure skaters, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, lost the pairs gold medal to Russians, Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze in what later was found to be questionable scoring by the French judge. Even after the Canadians were awarded an additional gold medal, auditors at Arthur Anderson along with stock analyst Jack Grubman gave the judging a triple A rating.

DOES HE REALLY NEED THE MONEY?: And do we really need another Waterboy? Adam Sandler is paid a gazillion dollars to portray a rags to riches billionaire in, "Mr. Deeds," a rich and complex tale of one man's wacky confrontation with his own private hell. Looks like surefire Oscars for all involved.

STILL THE SINGLE GUY: ABC's hit, "The Bachelor," the show that spent 3 intimate months promising that this guy would decide which woman he would marry, ended with absolutely no one getting married.

THERE'S PROBABLY ANOTHER GOOD STORY THAT HAD TO BE TOLD. There will be a "Charley' Angels II."

WILL HE BECOME A CIGARETTE CEO OR THE NEXT SEINFELD?: Former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee and described himself as "...devastated and apologetic about what Enron has come to represent," insisting that the company was "solvent and highly profitable" when he resigned only 3 months before the Enron's collapse. Skilling witticisms were water-cooler material for months afterwards.

"I can't for the life of me understand how we would go from where I thought the company was to bankruptcy."

"I did not believe that the company was in any imminent financial peril."

"While I was at Enron, I was not aware of any financing arrangements designed to conceal liabilities or inflate profitability."

In a related story, and proving that there were still people at Enron who weren't interested in hiding anything, Playboy magazine published a Girls of Enron pictorial.

SWISH, BOOM, BANG: In what might be called a bit of a public relations faux pas, former power broker, Michael Ovitz, used an August Vanity Fair interview to blame Dreamworks' David Geffen and the rest of his "Gay Mafia," for his demise. Can anything else I add make this any funnier?

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, O.J.: Say it ain't so, Winona. Hearts, minds and television cameras were riveted to the Winona Ryder shoplifting trial or what's come to be known just as The Most Recent Trial of the Century. The trial wasn't as funny as the selection of Hollywood power broker, producer, Peter Guber, to the jury.

THE LONE WHITE LONER STILL ON THE LOOSE?: Weeks of cable shows offered a myriad of experts who unanimously agreed that the profile of the Washington, D.C. area sniper was of a single white loner in a white panel truck. The two black suspects arrested in their Chevrolet Caprice plan to use the "do we look like a single white loner to you?" defense.

SPLENDID SPLINTER STOPPED COLD: Baseball legend Ted Williams passed on leaving his loving children trying to freeze each other out of the burial (or storage) plans. Family representatives said the William's heirs were only quarreling strictly out of love for their father. Appeals were dropped when the parties agreed to split $625 thousand from the estate.

MINERS BURY COUNTRY'S PROBLEMS...FOR A COUPLE MINUTES: For a week in July the heroic rescue of the nine trapped minors in western Pennsylvania took the country's mind off terrorism and stock market woes. President Bush saluted the men and word is that, "for the good of the country," administration advisor Karl Rove ask the miners to get trapped at least once a month.

COLOR CODING SECURITY: The Department of Homeland Security issued a series of color-coded alerts in order to advise the American population as to the level of potential terrorist attack. Unfortunately the White House offered no colors to explain what we should do if there actually was an attack.

GAY MILITARY LINGUISTS DISMISSED: With a severe shortage of Arabic translators, the Army discharged a number of homosexual linguists because of their sexual preference. Guess the Army fears a message that read, "Very soon we will be bombing American institutions throughout the world," might be translated by one of the gay linguists as "Hey, Richard look at this. There's a sale on leather chaps at Nordstroms this week."

TOO MUCH ANNA NICOLE? E!'s homage to The Osbournes, The Anna Nicole Show has been a hit for the entertainment news network. They've renewed for a second year but it already looks like they're running out of story ideas. The final show of the year spent the entire 30 minutes just showing Smith laying down on her bed so she could fit into a moo-moo.

SCANDAL IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: With the continual revelations of improprieties by priests and coverups by the church, don't be surprised if police will required to notify resident when a new minister moves into the neighborhood.

CONDIT GOES BYE-BYE: In a reelection bid, Gary Condit lost in the California state primary. Condit blamed his loss on his opponent's negative campaign. His opponent blamed it on Condit's negative performance. Who cares. He's gone.

JACKSON MAKES A BOO-BOO: Michael Jackson held his 6 month old child, one handed, over a balcony in Germany. The self-anointed King of Pop said he had made a grievous mistake. Was he speaking about being trusted to have children in the first place?

In a related story, Jackson said that record companies conspire against black artists. They had schemed against him, he said...when he was black.

BUSH CHOKES BIG TIME: President Bush suffered a fainting spell after swallowing a pretzel while watching football alone at the White House. Officials said that from now on, on the days the President chooses to eat pretzels, Vice President Cheney will not.

McCCARTNEY CREDIT REVERSE SETS A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT: Paul McCartney's decision to reverse the order of the famous Lennon-McCartney songwriting credit to McCartney-Lennon may open the doors to a firestorm of litigation and corporate turmoil he never imagined. Word is that the infighting at Johnson & Johnson has already boiled over with the families of Johnson battling the families of Johnson over the name sequence. Will it be long before we'll be seeing Johnson & Johnson recycled as Johnson & Johnson. I say that if Johnson had wanted to have his name first, then he should have thought of it when they made the decision in the first place. Besides, Johnson & Johnson sounds ridiculous.

May 2003 bring ten times the laughs and one-tenth the grief.



JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is contributing editor at the Writers Guild of America's "Written By" magazine. He is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success," . the director/writer of "My Dinner With Ovitz," and opens car doors for students at his very young kids' school. His website is www.greatfailure.com. Comment by clicking here.

12/30/02: Using 2002s failures to make a successful 2003
12/20/02: McCartney Credit Reverse Sets A Dangerous Precedent
12/18/02: Radio talk takes a surprise hit
12/16/02: Apologies running rampant: The country is in a sorry state
12/13/02: Lott apologizes for his apologies
12/09/02: FDA OKAYS "SOLARIS" FOR TREATMENT OF SLEEP APNEA
11/26/02: Finding the McTunity within their McFailure
11/15/02: Can the Dems learn from Lincoln's failures?
11/06/02: The Day After... who'll comfort me now?
11/04/02: We can all fight ageism!
10/29/02: Was I totally responsible for the market's upsurge?
10/09/02: Finding The Bull Within: Wall Street Needs To Rethink The "F" Word
10/01/02: Merriam-Webster Needs To Rethink the "F" word
09/25/02: Held up in the passing lane ... and life's other positive curve balls
09/23/02: Shrinking the waist problem: Using Good Old American Failure To Lose Inches
09/17/02: Earth to Florida: No more elections
09/11/02: The humor will return. Just not yet
09/09/02: Bush coalition on fast track
08/30/02: N'Sync's Bass gets NASA okay: Former astronauts Gagarin and Glenn form boy band
08/21/02: Insider trading...it's a good thing
08/05/02: America goes Madison Ave.: The Selling of America
07/29/02: ROCKIN' RENO: The Newest Political Strategy For Filling The Coffers
07/23/02: Is Wall Street the enemy? No, but that's where the enemy hides
07/10/02: Cooking the books
06/27/02: Apocalypse now!?
06/14/02: Coulter for the defense?
05/21/02: SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS SELF! NO ONE ELSE INJURED! Inept bomber is refused entrance into Paradise. 72 Virgins breathe sigh of relief
05/19/02: Hey world! How about trying the shoe on the other foot hypotheses
05/13/02: AM Radio and Enron
05/03/02: "Deep Throat" to Be Revealed ... But will America Swallow It!?
04/29/02: Britney Spears next in line to blast off into orbit
04/22/02: Former Liberal Seeks Conservative Book Deal
04/15/02: If you truly care about America, you'll read this column
04/01/02: My Uncle Miltie
03/27/02: The Fightin' Righties
03/20/02: Woody Allen refuses to cast self...
03/18/02: The Realies
02/19/02: Greenspan Announces Lower (Television Network) Interest Rates
02/15/02: Ken Lay sells soul to the devil: Beelzebub loses life's savings
02/12/02: Enron's Skilling mistakenly takes the Fourth, forcing him to spill his guts
02/06/02: BOOSTING THE SAGGING ECONOMY: Let Green Stamps be our financial brassiere
01/24/02: "I'M THE ONE!"
01/16/02: Goodbye "Rincoln Continental," we hardry knew ye
01/14/02: "But He Was Such A Good Boy" gene, found to be defective
01/04/02: PLAY BUZKASHI!
12/31/01: Come on war. You can do better!
12/26/01: NOT MY OSAMA!
12/24/01: TIME caves
12/20/01: Finally! Friends of Color
12/14/01: Bin Laden's Funniest Home Videos
12/10/01: What if Catching bin Laden is in dispute?
11/30/01: Back to normal...too bad
11/16/01: Osama not enough for some
11/09/01: Networks at war!
11/05/01: Bridges Over Troubled Water
10/29/01: The other terrorists
10/16/01: Diary Of A Young Defense Department Comedy Writer
10/01/01: Playlands, burgers, and family sanity
09/25/01: Dissent is walking on red, white and blue egg shells
09/21/01: OPEN LETTER THE MOST HIGH (RE: Falwell and Robertson comments)
09/17/01: Gary, we miss ya
09/10/01: Smelling out a real hero
09/04/01: Don't give up on that dream!
08/24/01: Pitch day at the Mouse
08/21/01: It Depends On What Your Definition Of "Unlimited" Is
08/06/01: IN OPEN LETTER FROM THE NEWS ORGANIZATIONS AND TALK SHOWS OF AMERICA

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© 2002, Steve Young