<center><p> <b><u>REVIEW OF THE WEEK</u><p> by<p> BAO DAI OF HOLLYWOOD </b><p> </center> <left> DATELINE: HOLLYWOOD <p> 24 December 2000 <p> </left> <center> <b><u>THE YEAR IN REVIEW</b></u><p> </center>

Yeah, I know it's a pretty predictable topic... so predictable that I may well never get to it - although titling a "Review of the Week" A YEAR IN REVIEW is worth it if only on the off chance some yahoo named Abe from Kansas gets diverted while "surfing the web" on the computer his grand children bought him for Christmas so they could e-mail the old geezer and wouldn't have to listen to him drone on and on about how he "don't trust this whole Internet thing" the same way his own grandfather felt about that gosh durn new fangled telly phone when Abe's decided to have one installed in the farmhouse while "Pops" was out plowing the field with a freaking mule so he wouldn't have to look at the old fart everytime he wanted to hit him up for a nickel for gas for his new fangled jalopy.

I may have my years and generations mixed up, but that's nada compared to the situation my beloved, and only living, Aunt -- Aunt Biddy -- finds herself, when she can find herself... when she can remember she's looking for herself.

So Dear Aunt Biddy is going to pass into this new year having lost her last sibling, but having gained the realization that I exist (she had, uh, forgotten me, despite the fact her husband, Uncle, my favorite uncle, used to pay my parents to take me along on these hellish vacations with them so he wouldn't go berserk and "lose" her in the White Mountains of New Hampshire). Biddy will soon forget Hanoi Bao, or at least he and I will merge into one new entity in her ever shrinking psyche.

I'll wager most of us will soon forget the fucking Millennium if, indeed, it was the Millennium. You know what? Since they're really just guessing on whether this era's beginning was tied to the alleged birth of the Messiah as predicted by Issaiah predicted an hour after downing three grams of fresh opium in an attempt to cut through the haze which inevitably follows a double helping of Nella Hartly's ancient ancestor's Wild & Crazy Kinda Jerusalem Mushroom, who gives a rat's ass?

So, in reverse retrospective, 2000 was the year:

1. The smirking, coke hoovering, dry drunk beat out the guy who has a mouth like an old lady's mouth, would wear his IQ on his suit if Tipper would let him and by all accounts took one of those acid trips from which he never fully<.i> returned, Gore will now be able to make more in a week of lecturing than W will make in a month (legally anyway... wonder if he'll still personally drive the family SUV down to the Rio Grande, clip the fence and shout "Yo! Cheap wetback labor -- over here." As the men, women, children and stray senior seľors come out of the river on the Texas side, W asks each of them if they are holding before loading them onto the giant U-Haul being driven by Dick "Gee, isn't America grand" Cheney, As the truck rolls off in a cloud of dust, W days to himself, "Gee, I'm going to miss this little writ of habeus corp... I mean ritual." Aside from learning that watching hand counts of ballots is equal to the OJ Trial in terms of ratings in the mind of much of much of the news media, we also had that great American Legend if one man/one vote smashed to smithereens. Thousands of legit ballots were never counted even once in Florida. For all I know my little vote has never been what changed that 13,953,631 to 13,953,632 on those TV tallies?

True, as the Supreme Court indicated, all things must have finality... but like how about in the case of elections, how about calling them final after the final vote is counted?

While in most of the country people didn't much care what happened in Florida (although you may have not so concluded by watching the news, but it's not like the people who decide what goes on the news aren't guessing about what America considers important), in a handful of states the Powers that be in this supposed republic were advised, by referendum, that most of us are getting pretty sick and tired of being sick and tired of the so-called War on Drugs. More "medical marijuana" laws were voted in, some "restraint on asset forfeiture" laws won and, here in California, the people decided that instead of jail for narcotics related offenses (the first two "minor" ones anyway), court ordered treatment and not jail would be the only choice a judge would have in such cases.

In response the state whined that it couldn't afford to carry out the will of the people in this regard. Hmmmmmm.... let's see... the state can afford three hots and a cot for years but not treatment and probation for a briefer period of time. Seems like someone ought to reallocate some of the tax dollars. If those elected to govern would concentrate on stuff like that instead of practicing medicine without a license maybe people wouldn't bring up "term limits" every so often -- not that term limits got much political play this year.

While "Campaign finance reform" got some attention, considering that those in office tend to get more in terms of contributions than those out of office, I suspect we've heard the last on the issue for at least two years, save perhaps a perfunctory bill, the failure of which the Democrats will blame the Republicans and the Republicans will blame the Democrats. Yeah, about the only change we'll see is politicos not blatantly renting out the Lincoln Bedroom to tourists, or the Jefferson Memorial for a wedding reception and pocketing the cash.

Then there was the Elian Gonzalez debacle. It will make a good movie of the week (if it already isn't out) -- insane cousin clinging to confused little boy, crazed Cubans marching in the streets of Miami and pre-dawn raids by men toting automatic weapons wearing flak jackets and jack boots, not to mention a "loving" albeit estranged father who came to the US while his family was held at least at virtual gun point in Cuba to pick up his son after learning he was worth 45 extra meat rations a month.

The end product of the Elian fiasco? Well, now Juan Miquel can probably not avoid the 24/7 security detail around his family to get them into his own plywood and inner tube raft and hope it drifts for Florida.

The Middle East peace many had hoped was developing got a big set back, making some realize that Arafat doesn't necessarily control all Palestinians, who despite being the refugees no one wants, are no dummies (albeit many are fanatical non-dummies). I'm not saying Yassir should step down... but maybe he ought to get a new suit or something -- at least stop wearing that cheap looking army surplus military uniform every chance he gets... and like shave man... who does he think he is -- Don Johnsion.

Meanwhile, in Yugoslavia, a nation I no longer thought existed, the people ousted, first by ballot and then by bullet (or rock or stick), one of the hold overs from the era when Soviet Puppets were kept from running things by Marshall Tito... and I'm not even sure we had to bomb anyone in connection with that change of power. And in Mexico some guy named Fox ousted the PRC for the first time since the PRC came to power. Big whoop.

Nothing much interesting in the "arts", except while Boy Bands took the country by storm, that prettier than pansies in bloom trio of brothers - Hanson - who actually have musical talent were all but wiped off the scene because their second album, which seemed clearly influenced by their manager's desire to manage Dave Matthew's - was lacking in bubble gum. Oh, and we finally met Kevin Spacey's girlfriend.... oh, and Robert DowneyJr. finished up his time in the can -- actually staying longer than required by law because of the idiot judge who sentenced him -- got a "second chance" on Ally McBeal, which itself got a second chance at building its audience by having Downey guest star, only to blow it all due to a case of the holiday blues he tried to cure at Merv Griffin's resort with some coke and Valium. It seems doubtful Bobby will get far with the Holiday Blues defense, since the judge probably was carving a turkey half sloshed out of his mind like a normal person.

Oh, and on the celeb watch, Howard Stern, better known as Shock Jock Howard Stern got separated from his long suffering wife and we learned dribs and drabs about how the Rampart Division of the LAPD had it's own gang -- called a gang unit -- thanks to the testimony of the sleazy "Disgraced Officer Raphael Perez."

Other stuff happened, of course, but no real horror stories like mass suicides or killer school kids (unless they've become so common place they don't rate mention in the press)... stuff that was formally cellular went digital, so many "judge" shows came on the air it'd be surprising if anyone was still litigating in Small Claims Courts, and either the number of TV "talk" shows decreased or have been spread out over so many channels now they are blessedly harder to find.

The Summer Olympics (Olympics now being held every half Olympiad to increase TV ratings during off seasons) were held in Australia. No bomb scares (would be terrorists nabbed at the border or rounded up beforehand for routine questioning of which I'm aware, but then they were televised while I slept... and I didn't much care anyway.

And what of the crisis which was supposed to start off the year with a figurative if not literal "bang" never materialized. That would be, in case you've forgotten, the Y2K debacle that had the world on red alert just 366 days ago and had made many so-called Christian Fundamentalists rich through expensive seminars on surviving the brave new world with a 100 gallon drum of water, lots of Sterno and an assault rifle to keep neighbors who did not make preparation for Cyber Armeggedon?

Or has it really passed? While very few may give a rat's ass if this is the first year of the "second millennium" or the last year of the last millennium, a week or so ago the CEO of Southern California Edison began babbling incoherently about the great potential for "rolling black outs." I've heard winter has crippled much of the North East (then again Aunt Biddy swears it's practically spring ... of course she's blind and hasn't gone outside in ten years).

Who knows, instead of the Rose Parade tomorrow I may be awakened by scores of black helicopters, FBI men may crash through the door, and the Rose Bowl may, in a case of life imitating art, have some fool crash the nuke loaded Goodyear Blimp into it at half-time, and Pat Buccannen may declare a stae of emergency and take over the world, forcing followers to get the old '666' tattoo (I did note an inordinate rise in the number of tattoo parlors) and holding mass executions for the rest of us.

Hey, we could use some shaking up after a sleepy year like 2000. Oh hell, wake me when the Mississippi turns red and it starts raining frogs.

In the meantime, have a happy 2001 and don't drive drunk.

Me, barring the unforeseen, I'll se you next year, same bat time, same bar channel.