A Lighter View … What happened in 2003?

2003 disappeared faster than the movie Gigli at the box office. I fell asleep during a Michael Jackson TV special, and when I woke up, it was December, and he was still on TV. So what happened in 2003?

Catherine Zeta Jones was busy. She sued a magazine for taking her picture, then a radio conglomerate for showing her picture and is now threatening legal action against the people at Atkins for pretending to have her picture. My copy of the movie Chicago is overdue, which means I’m going to need an attorney.

Airline personnel stopped serving liquor to unruly passengers and are now giving it to unruly children, instead. Pilots are flying without clothes, the president is landing fighter jets, and Canada’s first space mission to Mars missed.

It was discovered that California didn’t have a smog problem after all; the state was on fire. Mark Geragos is rumored to be representing all 35 million residents.

We didn’t fare well in the foreign relations department. David Blaine attempted to set an endurance record while suspended in a box over the River Thames. The Brits mistook him for an escape artist, and after four days started pelting him with food. Geraldo Rivera was kicked out of Baghdad and the entire Eastern seaboard suffered a blackout from a blown fuse in Ohio, which we promptly blamed on Canada.

Reality TV surprised everyone this year. Who knew it could go any lower? We were treated to shows about rich gals pretending to be poor and poor guys pretending to be rich. On I’m a Celebrity-Get Me Out of Here, infomercial superstars were stranded at a remote camp in Australia, but the ratings plummeted once Americans realized these people were coming back.

Roseanne’s Domestic Goddess Hour lasted 15 minutes. Jerry Springer considered a run for Congress but didn’t have the stomach for it. And Rosie O’Donnell was sued,but not by Catherine Zeta Jones. Rosie was accused of using crude language, which she #*%*ing denied.

A tiger named Montecore mistook Roy Horn for an appetizer, when a woman with big hair frightened him. And in Montana, a black bear stranded in a tree landed on a trampoline after being shot down with a tranquilizer gun. The bear is fine, and touring with a man who jumped for no apparent reason over Niagara Falls.

Congress passed the Patriot Act, which allows the Feds to see every check I bounce. The Office of Homeland Security initiated a warning system using colors. Now ecru stands for “Big Mac attack.” And I have a new health care plan. When I’m not feeling well, I can just go to the airport, take my clothes off and get X-rayed.

Madonna kissed Britney Spears, completing her pledge to kiss every human being on the planet. Howard Dean claims to be a metrosexual, which means he can’t legally marry a bus. And Clay Aiken has higher poll numbers than the president.

Ted Turner is down to his last billion. Elvis Presley earned $40 million, and a fish called Nemo raked in money faster than the president of Tyco. California ran out of money and fired its governor, blaming his big hair for the crisis. And Arnold Schwarzenegger, the body builder, movie star and Republican married to a Kennedy, won the governor’s seat due to an unusually heavy turnout of Austrian voters.

Nine people are running for the Democratic presidential nomination. Most people can’t name them all, but then again, most people think Martin Sheen is the president of the United States. In an attempt to get their message out, Lieberman sang “Oklahoma,” Kerry rode his motorcycle on Jay Leno, and Kucinich will be appearing on Extreme Makeovers.

Liza Minnelli and David Gest broke up. She says “It’s going to get ugly,” referring to him. Johnny Depp played a yellow-toothed, skanky-haired pirate and was voted America’s sexiest man. And Ben Affleck dumped J. Lo. (Boy, I didn’t see that one coming.)

Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt are going to the Middle East to negotiate a peace settlement by appealing to the “ordinary people.” Before leaving, they plan to study pictures of what ordinary people look like.

Elizabeth Smart and Jessica Lynch returned to us. And we said goodbye to John Ritter, Bob Hope, Katharine Hepburn, Gregory Peck, David Brinkley, Fred Rogers and Johnny Cash.

Plus, there was Hans Blix and the Dixie Chicks. Wars, SARS, and Hummers for cars. And let’s not forget our drones, clones and picture cell phones. McDonald’s was sued for making us fat, and a new movie is out called The Cat in the Hat. Frasier and Friends are said to be ending, and all of America is deficit spending.

So, there you have it. Michael Jackson is still on TV, and that’s what happened in 2003.

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