In short, it's been a pretty rotten way to start a new millennium.
Fortunately, thanks to those maniacal mathematicians, there's a way out of this. As the eggheads all insisted on pointing out last year at this time, there's no Year Zero: Hencetherefore, the new millennium doesn't technically start until January 1, 2001.
So what do you say we consider Y2K as the final year of the last millennium? Just reach for that reboot button and we'll start the 21st century one more time. It's a do-over!
HAND OVER MY BLANKEY AND NOBODY GETS HURT
In an Arizona Daily Star story that said school hazing doesn't exist in Tucson, but we need a law against it anyway, Jim Garbarino, of the Family Life Development Center at Cornell University, argued that adult aggression begins in childhood.
"All the attention to road rage misses the connection to tricycle rage," he said.
A 65-year-old woman and her companion were pulled over on I-10 and forced at gunpoint from their vehicle by Border Patrol agents who accused the women of shooting at them. But the frightened agents had mistaken the blasts of a propane cannon--used to frighten birds and deer away from apple orchards--for gunfire.
The noise machine so frightened the agents they began shooting wildly into the orchard.
SON OF A BEACH
Richard Keith Mountain, a 53-year-old Connecticut man, admitted selling phony moon rocks he claimed were gathered during the Apollo 11 moon-walk of July 1969. Officials believe that gullible customers forked over $80,000 to buy what essentially was sand.
AND WHEN THEY LOOKED EVEN CLOSER, THEY SAW THE WORD ... PARANOIA
Mesa High School students complained to Attorney General Janet Napolitano that they spotted subliminal, pro-smoking messages on book covers produced by cigarette giant Philip Morris as part of a campaign to prevent youth smoking.
Among other things, the students claimed the covers showed a hidden cigarette pack, a symbol that looked like a cigarette burn and the words Philip Morris.
WE'LL MAKE A DAY OF IT. BRING PIZZA, SODA AND A BLACK AND DECKER CHAIN SAW
An investigation of weird behavior by employees in the Pima County Medical Examiner's office included the charge that pathologist Michael Andrew Sibley rode his motorcycle through the freezer where bodies are held to weigh it on the autopsy scale, and that workers allowed friends to take part in autopsies.
Former UA basketball player Jason Terry acknowledged taking $11,500 from two agents before and during his senior year of 1998-1999. The school banned Terry from its sports Hall of Fame and asked the NCAA to withhold $45,363 from its 2000 NCAA tournament revenue.
TIP TO POTENTIAL BUYER: MAKE SURE TO LOOK UNDER THE POOL COVER FOR FLOATERS
Former Mafia hit man Sammy "the Bull" Gravano, indicted in connection with allegedly operating a multi-billion-dollar ecstasy ring that peddled the drug to Phoenix teenagers, put his Tempe home on the market. The 4,400-square-foot home, listed at $650,000, includes a stable, a three-car garage and a swimming pool.
OH, WELL, NOW THAT YOU'VE EXPLAINED IT
Shortly after Gravano's arrest, the Arizona Republic published quotes by the former hit man from an earlier interview. Among other things, Gravano, a mob turncoat whose testimony helped put crime boss John Gotti behind bars, boasted to the paper that every one of his 19 hits was cold-blooded.
"I never killed anybody in a fit of rage," Gravano said. "Everybody I killed was planned. I'm a hit man, not a serial killer."
STOP THE PRESSES
Shortly after People magazine named him one of America's most eligible bachelors and called him a "regular guy," New Mexico representative Leo Watchman was arrested in Window Rock, Ariz. He was charged in a domestic dispute in which he allegedly threw his girlfriend against a wall several times.
IF THEY TESTED HIM A THIRD TIME, THEY WOULD'VE CHARGED HIM WITH THE KENNEDY ASSASINATION
UA basketball player Justin Wessel was placed on probation after his arrest for suspicion of drunken driving. But in both of the two blood-alcohol tests administered by police, Wessel scored below 0.10, the legal indication of intoxication.
But the law gives police wide discretion to make an arrest, as long as an individual appears impaired or under the influence.
FRANKLY, CHANDREA, SO ARE WE
In a front-page Accent story, Arizona Daily Star writer Ed Severson profiled Chandrea El-Anra Polara, an inter-species healer who, among other things, claims to have received telepathic messages from polar bears worried about the melting of the polar ice cap.
She also said she worked with the great racehorse Secretariat. "He wasn't doing any track work, and he was totally, absolutely bored," she said.
HEY, HE'S WILLING TO EAT THE COPYING AND MILEAGE COSTS
Harvard law professor and celebrity defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz accused the team that won the mega-billion-dollar Florida tobacco suit of refusing to pay him a $34 million bonus for his 18 hours of work on the case.
"If anybody is creating a bad public image for lawyers, it is them, not me," he said. "I have never done anything in my life for money."
SHE WEARS A PITH HELMET AND CARRIES A CAN OF RAID WITH A TELEGRAPHIC SCOPE
A 61-year-old Glendale woman opened an insect museum next door to her insecticide business. Ruth Solomon started collecting bugs five years ago and now goes on insect safaris to get more.
"I found a bug that looked neat and just kept going," she said.
WELL, F*** ME. I GUESS I SHOULD BE MORE F****** CAREFUL
"What a f****** idiot," said CBS' Bryant Gumbel at the conclusion of an interview with a representative of the Family Research Council, who appeared on the Early Show to defend the Supreme Court's exclusion of gay Boy Scout troop leaders.
Gumbel's remark was caught on an open mike and went out over the nation.
WELL, IF IT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR BRYANT F****** GUMBEL
After losing a legislative race to Republican Ed Poelstra by less than 200 votes, Democrat Demitri Downing blamed Green Party candidate Katie Bolger for drawing votes from his campaign.
"The f****** Green Party had nothing but a self-serving agenda," Downing told campus paper Arizona Daily Wildcat.
THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD
Police accused Rosemary Zephirin, a 350-pound New York woman, of attempted murder of her daughter. The weapon: Her own body. When police burst into her home, Zepherin was allegedly lying on top of her daughter, who was unconscious.
Following five consecutive losses by Penn State's football team, the school's faculty senate voted to denounce negative cheering, a resolution to be read at all home games.
Baskin-Robbins corporate overlords ordered Jo Jensen, who had run a BR franchise for more than a decade, to cease identifying herself with the chain because her store's awning was damaged in a storm.
A Picture Rocks woman runs a two-and-a-half acre pig sanctuary holding 150 oinkers weighing up to 1,000 pounds. Lynette Warren, 27, got her first pot-bellied pig eight years ago and has been taking them in ever since.
"I guess this is the destiny God gave me," Warren said.
EXPENSE LIST: MILEAGE FOR THE PRIEST, LUNCH, DRY CLEANING ROBES TO REMOVE GREEN VOMIT
Phoenix psychologist Kenneth Olson, already on probation with the state's licensing board for a 1988 exorcism, sued the board claiming a constitutional right to perform a 1993 exorcism on an 8-year-old child.
He also asked the state's Child Protective Services department to pay him $180 for the work.
LOOK OUT! HE'S GOING TO BLOW!
In the first of his locker-room explosions, UA basketball coach Lute Olson attempted to intimidate a writer for the Daily Emerald, the University of Oregon's student newspaper. The kid asked Olson if it was appropriate for UA player Richard Jefferson to shove a fan who'd shoved him.
After stammering a few hot-headed questions at the reporter, Olson said, "So, you're from the student newspaper? Good. Glad to see you're not really working."
CAPTAIN QUEEG IS BACK
In another explosion after his team's NCAA Tournament upset loss to Wisconsin, an angry Olson blamed a column in the Arizona Daily Star speculating on whether center Loren Woods might defect to the NBA:
"I tell you how upset I was that we would have a local newspaper that instead of covering what should be covered about the season, came instead with a story that had to be the absolute worst story, but maybe it was on purpose. Maybe it was on purpose."
A TIGER GETS HIS CAGE
The State Bar of Arizona accused Pima County prosecutor Ken Peasley of five counts of prosecutorial misconduct, including eliciting false testimony and lying in a death penalty case.
The two-time Arizona prosecutor of the year, who claimed medical problems had caused him to "screw up," refused an early offer to settle the complaint.
"It's just an outrage that this public servant--because that's what he is--is being run through the muck some more," said his lawyer, Jim Stuehringer.
OF COURSE, SHE WAS POLLING INMATES IN THE MENTAL WING OF KINO COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
Republican Rosalie López announced in a mailer that polls showed that she and Democrat incumbent Raúl Grijalva were in a dead heat in the race for the Board of Supervisors. Grijalva won by 33 percentage points on Election Day.
YEAH, BUT IT'S A NEON LIGHT
Appearing with Bill Clinton at a rally in Shiprock, N.M., the Rev. Jesse Jackson said of the president, "He brings light into dark places. He really fulfills the scripture."
DON'T MESS WITH WEWEE
The IRS violated its own code and the federal Privacy Act by improperly disclosing tax data on 1,391 taxpayers to Tucson accountant Bill Wewee. Federal prosecutors began investigating the agency, which could be on the hook for at least $1.3 million in penalties.
The Arizona Legislature passed a law subsidizing the conversion of autos to alternative fuel systems that was expected to cost $10 million. When the public feverishly attempted to cash in on the opportunity for new vehicles at a fraction of their price, the estimated costs rose to more than $600 million before lawmakers voted to reform the program. The final tab is expected to exceed $200 million.
Gov. Jane Dee Hull ignored one warning from her staff about potential cost overruns before she signed the alt-fuel legislation and a second staff warning before the program took effect. She later claimed to have been misled about the program's impact.
Arizona Speaker of the House Jeff Groscost, who engineered the alt-fuel legislation, lost his bid for a Senate seat in an overwhelmingly GOP district to Democrat Jay Blanchard, an ASU professor. Blanchard won by a 3-to-1 margin in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-to-1. Following the election, Groscost resigned as speaker and vanished.
HE JUST WANTED TO HELP THE ENVIRONMENT
After his humiliating defeat, Groscost resigned from the Speaker's position and was replaced by Republican Rep. Jim Weiers, a close Groscost ally. Although Weiers and his daughter purchased two alt-fuel vehicles, he announced he didn't intend to seek tax credits for the autos and asked the public to "give us a chance to restore ... confidence."
CHEW A WEED WHILE CHANTING AND CALL US TOMORROW
The Integrative Medicine program of alternative health guru and celebrity bald guy Andrew Weil fell $1 million in the red, forcing significant cuts in staffing and patient numbers.
Former UA and Dallas Cowboys running back David Adams was arrested for his alleged involvement in a large crime ring that dealt drugs and stolen cars.
"I had nothing to do with this big, giant cartel thing," said Adams, who, according to the charge, tried to sell undercover officers a stolen car and enlist them in money laundering. "I'm the same upstanding person I have always been."
A MILLION HERE, A MILLION THERE...
Pima County was forced to return $1 million in interest it had earned on bond funds because the projects were not completed quickly enough.
POWER TO THE AMNESIACS!
For a profile of Paul Gattone, founder of the Southern Arizona People's Law Center, the Arizona Daily Star photographed Gattone sitting at his desk with the Soviet flag--infamous around the world for its hammer and sickle--hanging on the wall over his head. The Center advocates for justice and human rights.
PLAYING THE ORGAN MARKET
Media organizations were flooded with calls from people offering to sell their kidneys to an ailing lottery multi-millionaire in London, who said he'd swap his money for a healthy kidney.
QUICK--YOU HAVE 10 SECONDS TO FIND THE REAL CRIME IN THIS STORY
A South Tucson cop pleaded guilty to cocaine distribution after his arrest for agreeing to transport two shipments of cocaine to Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix. For those two runs, Steven B. Smith was paid $9,000, more than half his annual salary.
A woman who was on the cover of Playboy in 1967 discovered that the picture has reappeared on a shower curtain after her daughter saw it while shopping.
The daughter, Kellyn Black, a 20-year-old ASU student, bought the shower curtain and counted her mother's picture on it 22 times. She is shown wearing athletic socks and a football style jersey that reaches to mid-thigh.
THE INSENSITIVE BASTARDS FORGOT THE CHURCH OF BOB DOBB'S
In a Thanksgiving morning story about the prayers of thanks spoken by various religions, the Arizona Daily Star, which has moved beyond parody in its fear of not being inclusive, included Hare Krishnas, Druids and Wiccans.
Two Tucson lawyers were convicted of a marijuana-related money-laundering scheme. Marshal Tandy acknowledged conspiring to launder $500,000 and Mark Fishbein admitted helping an alleged trafficker form money-laundering corporations and buy real estate with drug money.
KEY TO THE KINGDOM
An inmate spat out a handcuff key as the lethal drugs he'd been administered began to take effect during his execution. As the key dribbled out, Ponchai Wilkerson mumbled, "The secret, as of Wilkerson."
A shocked warden picked up the key, but later said he had no idea how Wilkerson got it.
A Massachusetts man running from the cops was bitten on the knee by a police dog, requiring 12 stitches. Jerome Jarrett, 27, sued over the incident and was awarded $1.
HEAVYWEIGHT ICE QUEEN
Former Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding was arrested for allegedly throwing a hubcap at her live-in boyfriend and repeatedly punching him in the face. Darren Silver, 28, told police the skater was "hooking me like Mike Tyson."
SHE'S GOT BUSH CABINET WRITTEN ALL OVER HER
Arizona Public School Superintendent Lisa Graham Keegan admitted that she took the high-school AIMS test and "barely passed it."
An America West computer crash stranded thousands of travelers and canceled 180 flights, the latest in a series of blows to the airline's collapsing reputation. "I will never fly America West again," said Mike Stark, one of the stranded travelers. "I can't imagine how they stay in business."
A CHERRY BOMB? STRAP HIM IN THE CHAIR
Longtime fugitive Howard Mechanic, wanted for throwing a cherry bomb at police during a Vietnam-era protest in St. Louis, was discovered and arrested when he decided to run for the Scottsdale City Council under the name Gary Tredway.
Roger Axford, an ASU professor who knew Tredway, said: "He was very shy. That always worried me. Almost anti-social."
THEY DON'T MAKE LEADING MEN LIKE THIS ANYMORE
Following his arrest in a nightclub shooting, rap mogul Sean "Puffy" Combs allegedly offered his driver $50,000 and a diamond ring given to him by singer Jennifer Lopez if the driver would say the gun police found belonged to him.
HE AND ELVIS WENT TO BURGER KING FOR REAL FOOD
A statue of Ronald McDonald was snatched from in front of the Ronald McDonald House, and was later spotted wearing a bright yellow jumpsuit, striped socks and red clown shoes in the back of a jeep at Broadway and Craycroft.
"You could see how some people could see it as a joke," said house spokeswoman Denisa Casement. "But what they've done is not funny. The kids don't think it's funny that Ronald is gone."
Prescott Bush, father of former president George Bush and grandfather of president-elect George W. Bush, raided the grave of the Apache warrior Geronimo at Fort Sill, Okla. at the end of World War I, making off with his skull, according to the venerable National Enquirer.
The paper, quoting former San Carlos Apache leader Ned Anderson, said the skull wound up in a crypt at Yale University's Skull and Bones Club, and the tribe wants it back.
Reading to children aloud is an act of violence and repression, forcing them into a jail of patriarchy and cultural structure, according to USC professor Peggy Kamuf. She said children are not aware of this, however, because the psychic pain causes memory repression.
WHAT A DILLY
A Knoxville, Tennessee woman sued McDonalds, claiming she was burned on the chin by a pickle hidden in her dangerous and defective hamburger. Veronica Martin claimed the episode left her with a chin scar and mental damage.
LAKE OF DEATH
Asphyxiation from carbon monoxide has caused nine deaths and 111 poisonings at Arizona's Lake Powell in the past decade. Most of the trouble comes when swimmers get too close to houseboats while the generator is running, exposing them to carbon monoxide in the boat's exhaust.
YEAH, BUT TO HIS CREDIT, YOU WERE NEVER SURE WHICH SIX GAMES HIS TEAMS WERE GOING TO LOSE
After winning 12 games in 1998, the University of Arizona football team lost a combined 12 games in 1999 and 2000, missing out on a bowl bid by one game both years. Fickle UA fans called for the ouster of Coach Dick Tomey, claiming his teams had become too predictable.
"K" IS FOR "KILL THE AMERICAN IMPERIALIST DOGS ... THEN GET ON THE PEACE TRAIN."
Baby Boomer light-rock staple Cat Stevens, who quit the biz 20-some years ago and renamed himself Yusuf Islam, is back with a new album titled A is for Allah.
YEAH, WE'LL GET CONDOLEEZZA RICE ON THAT RIGHT AWAY
After birth certificates were filed for children named Carburetor, Chassis and BillClinton (one word), the government of Guatemala began cracking down on its citizens in reaction to a craze in which new parents give their kids strange names.
BUT WE CAN KEEP ON HOPING
Scientists say that they have yet to prove conclusively that there is a link between cell-phone use and brain tumors.
IN A PERFECT WORLD THEY WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO GIVE IT AWAY
Members of the band Metallica urged Congress and the courts to stop Napster from providing the means by which music fans could "steal" their music over the Internet.
IN THE OLD DAYS, YOU COULDN'T EVEN USE THE WORD 'SLIP' AROUND J. EDGAR
In a shocking display of just how far the FBI has slipped from its glory days, the Feds were unable to manufacture enough evidence against Los Alamos scientist Wen-Ho Lee to even warrant a phony trial.
BRANCH TEAMS WILL BE HEADQUARTERED IN STRIP MALLS AROUND PIMA COUNTY
Pima Community College announced that it is starting a football program.
IN TODAY'S SPORTS WORLD, THIS IS AS CLOSE TO INTEGRITY AS YOU'RE GOING TO GET
After signing a contract that will pay him $252 million over the next 10 years, new Texas Ranger shortstop Alex Rodriguez told the press: "Well, at least I didn't say, 'It's not about the money.'"
TO HEAR THEM TELL IT, THEIR EMPTY SEATS HAVE MUCH BETTER DEMOGRAPHICS THAN OURS
After a decade in Tucson, the struggling Insight.com Bowl was moved to Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix.