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The Best and Worst Halfway Into Y2K

Today is Y2K halfway day. It’s the end of June, meaning we are now a full six months into the scary new millennium.

You remember the M word--it was shoved down your throat often enough during the year 1999, when I guess it was supposed to be common knowledge why “2K” was an abbreviation for Two Thousand.

Up to this point we’ve survived everything the 2000s have thrown at us, including most of that bad-news baloney we swallowed prior to New Year’s Eve.

Nobody’s computer blew up. No rockets flew off course. Nobody’s city had a blackout. No end-of-the-world prophecy came true. Jesus didn’t come. Martians didn’t attack. Dick Clark didn’t age.

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The worst technological gaffe of 2000 was when top-secret nuclear data from the Los Alamos labs went poof! and disappeared. As a result, Bill Richardson, the Department of Energy fall guy, is in the process of doing likewise.

Had Richardson only put his mind to it, he could have blamed the whole mess on a Y2K glitch. But I guess he just didn’t have the energy.

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So has anything else odd happened in the millennium’s first semester?

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Well, let’s think about that:

* A cute little Cuban boy was finally permitted to go home with his dad to be with his brother, friends and teachers, after spending the entirety of 2000 in a foreign land. Thousands of total strangers continue to believe that sending a 6-year-old kid home with his dad to be with his brother, friends and teachers is the work of the devil, since 6-year-old kids from places we dislike would be much better off if their mothers could nearly drown them at sea, or if distant relatives could raise them rather than parents.

* Missing-person investigators may yet be needed to look into the mysterious disappearance of John McCain, who one day was winning presidential primaries, seeing his kisser on the covers of virtually every major newsmagazine and being talked about by millions of Americans, only to just as quickly drop off the face of the Earth. Having won the New Hampshire primary Feb. 1 with 49% of the vote to George W. Bush’s 31%, the Arizona senator is living proof for all of us in 2000 that, exactly as in the 19th Century, the primary in New Hampshire means absolutely nothing.

* Dennis Miller, a professional comedian, was named a commentator for the 2000 season of “Monday Night Football,” television’s popular dope opera. Miller has a chance to prove that former NFL players are not the only ones qualified to give expert analysis such as: “Wooo, he really got hit hard!” and “This game’s still got a long way to go.” It also remains to be seen if football, Falcons and Forty-Niners are among the F words already known to be in Miller’s vocabulary.

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* A movie about a man who lusts after a high school girl, smokes dope with the boy next door, quits his job, catches his wife committing adultery and gets kissed himself by the man next door, just prior to the unhappy ending, won the Academy Award for Best Picture, giving audiences in 2000 yet another opportunity to bask in the sheer enjoyment and fun-for-the-whole-family entertainment of the movies.

* Californians ushered in the first half of 2000 wondering: (a) What’s more destructive, an earthquake or a commissioner who handles your quake claims? (b) Who’s more frightening, the Los Angeles criminals caught by the cops or the cops who caught them? (c) What’s more dangerous, a mob of basketball fans forming outside L.A.'s arena if their favorite team has won or if their team hadn’t won?

* A 6-year-old boy in the Midwest shot a classmate with a gun he brought to school, leading to considerable hand-wringing over the little victim’s fate and over the little shooter’s upbringing. The only good news for some, I suppose, was that at least neither child was unlucky enough at the time to be living in Cuba.

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It turns out that 2000 is a year like any other year, except for the number of times you’ve had to cross out the date and start over while writing a personal check.

But maybe the best/worst is yet to come. According to my almanac, 2000 is “a good year for eclipses,” with a partial eclipse of the sun scheduled for this Saturday. And a total eclipse of the moon is due on July 16. (Although if the world is ending, I’ll wish I’d bought a better almanac.)

In other words, all that Oh-Oh It’s ’00, Y2K nonsense was a big waste of time.

Six more months without a nuclear accident and we’ll be home free.

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Mike Downey’s column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Write to: Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. E-mail: mike.downey@latimes.com


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