Jewish World Review Jan. 5, 2004 / 11 Teves, 5764

Lloyd Garver

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Sign Of The Times | 2003. The first year of the millennium to end in a 3.

The second odd year of the century. And the fourth year in a row that your annoying friend kept reminding you that 2001, not 2000 should've been considered the first year of the New Millennium. As this very special year comes to an end, let me remind you of some of its most important events.

A report revealed that the crime rate in the United States was the lowest in almost 30 years. Obviously, they weren't counting big business crimes. People are still stealing from us, it's just that the thieves are better dressed these days.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed to commit to a "road map" to peace. Unfortunately, like most men, they refused to look at the map once they got lost.

Sign Of The Times: A shopper was trampled by other shoppers during a holiday sale at Wal-Mart.

Iranian writer and activist Shirin Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize. Curiously, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones presented her with the award. Now there is a report circulating that at the next Academy Awards, Shirin Ebadi will present the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

This was the year of anti-French feeling in the United States. French fries were renamed "freedom fries," and patriotic teenagers engaged in "freedom kissing."

When "camera phones" became popular this year, I couldn't understand what people were going to do with them. However, apparently they figured it out. By the end of the year, possession of a camera phone was not allowed in places like health clubs, locker rooms, and bathrooms. I assume this ban has increased sales.

As is the tradition, just before Thanksgiving, President Bush pardoned the national turkey. There is no truth to the rumor that Secretary Ashcroft was against the pardon. He merely felt the bird should've been detained longer for questioning.

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Al Gore endorsed Howard Dean for President. All the other Democratic candidates as well as the Republican Party denied that they had brought about this endorsement.

Playboy magazine turned 50. I guess that means it's going to start having a hard time remembering other magazines' names.

Further Sign Of The Times: It turns out that the trampled shopper had made numerous injury claims against stores, including nine previous ones against Wal-Mart.

Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony were not the only young athletes in the news. Fourteen-year-old soccer player Freddy Adu turned professional. Despite the obvious problems, major sports leagues continued to refuse to ban youngsters. However, in a concession to public pressure, there is a proposal in the NBA that would require all players to be potty trained.

The Queen of England knighted the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger. It seems so silly that England honors celebrities just for being celebrities. It would be as if the citizens of one of our states elected a movie star with no political experience as their governor.

President and Mrs. Bush sent out approximately 1.5 million Christmas cards. I didn't get one. Did you?

Mystery Of The Year: Whatever happened to the Robert Blake case? With bigger celebrities being accused of equally lurid crimes, minor celebrity Blake was pushed out of the news. Don't be surprised if, in 2004, Blake sues for equal time.

The Nielsen ratings for the major networks went down again. The networks couldn't figure out why audiences were not watching their wonderful shows, so concluded that the fault was with the way that Nielsen counted viewers. Right. And the reason your pants have been getting tighter the past few years is that manufacturers are sizing them smaller.

Furthest Sign Of The Times: The trampled shopper is a former Wal-Mart employee.

I decided not to make any references to the war in this column. I figured you'd be getting enough war recaps from other sources. I'm hoping I won't make any war references in my 2004 recap column for a better reason — that the war will be over by then.

Happy New Year.

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JWR contributor Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover. Comment by clicking here. Visit his website by clicking here.


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12/19/03 Clean getaway for holiday shoppers
12/15/03 The Cadillac Of Columns?
12/08/03 Dearest (Insert Name Here) ...
12/01/03 If they advertise it, we will buy
11/21/03 Feeling young, small and intimidated
11/14/03 The ulterior motive behind changes in those airline passenger meals
10/30/03 Real Money From Virtual Reality
10/23/03 Seeing red on new greenbacks
10/10/03 A sorry state of affairs
10/02/03 Revealed! Celeb-authored kids' books arriving just in time for the holidays
09/25/03 Just say 'yes' to dinner
09/11/03 In search of cool
09/04/03 Taking 'Intelligence' Out Of 'CIA'
08/28/03 Relaxation makes me nervous
07/31/03: What empty nest?
07/17/03: America's Big Hang-Up
06/27/03: Mental gymnastics
06/19/03: Why do we lie to our doctors?
06/02/03: Driving around in circles
05/28/03: These writers don't monkey around
05/19/03: Testing the water
05/13/03: New car hell
05/05/03: Bed and breakfast bewilderment
04/28/03: Sexy? That's a laugh!
04/10/03: When 'all A's' isn't good enough
04/04/03: A kibosh on complaining
03/13/03: Cut those billionaires some slack
03/05/03: Will they ever run out of celebs? The pols hope not!
02/26/03: Unfortunately, we can hear you now
02/19/03: Just say what you mean

© 2003, Lloyd Garver