2000: The Final Farewell

December 22, 2000

[This is Part 2 of my month-by-month breakdown of 2000, a year that began not with a bang but a whimper. As you may recall, mathematical nitpickers spent all of December 1999 reminding us that 2001 would officially start the new millenium, so we have only a few days left to say farewell to the millenium that brought us the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Black Death, the Holocaust, and many other events that history would prefer to forget. On the other hand it’s given us the steam engine, space travel, electricity, the internet, and of course the printing press. What the next millenium will bring is anybody’s guess.]

July: July in the United States is always an interesting month because it begins with people showing their love for the country by blowing up small parts of it. It’s also the month when, in Buffalo, New York, a purse-grabber got more than he wanted when the purse’s owner, a woman in her thirties, held on. The man let go of the purse, but was later caught by police and convicted of six robberies.

In India, a four-year old girl married a stray dog. In one of the most bizarre arranged marriages ever, the girl’s father made his daughter marry the dog because he was told evil spirits would be transferred from his daughter to the dog. According to the man, his grandfather arranged a similar marriage several years before. He then bit a reporter and was taken away by animal control.

August: A university professor in Florida developed a robot that powered itself by eating sugar. He hopes to modify the robot to power itself by eating vegetables, but has so far been unsuccessful. More interestingly, E. coli bacteria are part of the internal system that breaks down the sugar and converts it to electricity, which means the robot is a frequent customer at fast food restaurants. It eats sugar, won’t go near vegetables, and loves fast food. The next step, as you probably guessed, is to program the robot to throw tantrums in crowded public places.

September: In San Francisco, California, a 1,000 square-foot house that, according to the real estate agent, needed "everything done to it" was going to be put on the market for $279,000. The price was driven up because nearly fifty people bid on it as soon as it became available. Why is the house so popular? Apparently these people want to fix the house up just in time for it to be destroyed in the next earthquake.

October: In Florida 26 alligator carcases were spilled onto the highway by a truck. Although alligators in Florida are no longer considered an endangered species, competent drivers are.

In Roy, Washington a woman had to go to court to have charges of keeping an unlicensed pet dropped. She was charged by the local Humane Society after her son told them about his pet cat "Patches". He neglected to mention that Patches was a stuffed animal. But on the other side of the United States, in Maine, a police-dog trainee picked up the scent of a marijuana field while relieving himself–proving that devoted dogs never put anything above work. Even more interesting, the dog was then discovered to be related to a man in India.

November: In Frankfurt, Germany, two drunk men wandered into an airport looking for a bathroom. Interestingly they wandered onto a plane and, by the time they sobered up, were in Moscow, Russia. Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin said he was unsurprised, adding, "You don’t have to be drunk to go to Moscow, but it helps."

In Bogota, New Jersey (not Bogota, Colombia) a woman was arrested after being foiled in an attempt to steal a car. She was pulled out of the car by its owners, and reported to police she’d been the victim of a carjacking. Police became suspicious when she couldn’t give them the license plate number and couldn’t even tell them where the car was registered.

December: In Hegyeshalom, Hungary, divers decided to hold a Christmas celebration at the bottom of a lake. They swam around a weighted Christmas tree humming carols. I could make a joke about this, but I’ve got to admit I really admire these people for coming up with such a unique way of celebrating. Hungary has been invaded, occupied, and generally shoved around during the past one-thousand years, which may explain the desire of some of its people to take their holiday spirit literally to a new level.

Enjoy these final offerings–and I’ll see you in the new millenium.

"The Paradox of Our Time"
by George Carlin

The paradox of our time in history is that
we have taller buildings but shorter tempers;
wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less;
we buy more but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families;
more conveniences but less time;
we have more degrees but less sense;
more knowledge but less judgment;
more experts yet more problems;
more medicine but less wellness.

We drink too much,
smoke too much,
spend too recklessly,
laugh too little,
drive too fast,
get too angry,
stay up too late,
get up too tired,
read too little,
watch TV too much,
and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life,
we’ve added years to life not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but
have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.
We conquered outer space but not inner space.
We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less.
We plan more, but accomplish less.
We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information,
to produce more copies than ever,
but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion;
big men and small character; steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce,
fancier houses but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers,
throw-away morality, one-night stands,
overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the show
window and nothing in the stockroom.
A time when technology can bring this letter to you,
and a time when you can choose either to share this insight,
or to just hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones,
because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe,
because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you,
because that is the only treasure you can give
with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones,
but most of all mean it.
A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it
comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for
someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak, give time
to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

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