SUNDAY 2 JANUARY, 2000

10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... (crowd screams and ducks for cover)

Nothing happens.  Nothing continues to happen for quite some time, except maybe for a few fireworks.

"Um... was that it?" was the statement that encapsulated the feelings of a nation - indeed the world - when the clock struck midnight on 1 January 2000.

"It's because everyone on the planet paid billions of dollars that the Millennium Bug didn't do anything," said someone that for the sake of convenience and someone to blame we'll call Bill Gates.  "And it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I saw an opportunity of exploiting people for money to buy useless equipment and upgrades for their computers that they don't need.  I have other research departments dedicated to that sort of thing."


It has been officially accepted now that we indeed are in the 21st Century, and the Third Millennium.  After all, the clock ticking over to "2000" is reason enough to celebrate, so we may as well go the whole way.  I can accept that.  It makes sense.  The 20th Century was, therefore, only 99 years long, but the sooner it ended the better.

But the real dilemma of our age remains: Are we in the Zeroes, the Oh-ies, or the Noughties?  I myself naturally prefer the third option...  And in a few years we'll be arguing whether we're in the Tenties or the Teenies.  It's a shame that the people who were around in those particular years last century are either too senile or too dead now to enlighten us.


SUNDAY, 9 JANUARY 2000

Melbourne's City Link tollways are finally opened and charging for the privilege of driving on them.  The surrounding suburbs are imposing fines for those who want to take back-streets and detours.  Nobody in the country areas knows where or how to obtain the E-Tags or Day Passes.

In all, Transurban feels that everything is going according to plan.


Computer geeks are still warning us that the Millennium Bug may still strike, and that we should still give them lots of money to look at our computers in-depth and tell us to buy new ones from them.


The church has upset the gay community by saying that homosexuality is "curable".

Be that as it may, one wonders whether irrational belief in a solitary piece of outdated text, a predisposition to spout crap at the general public, and the deliberate restraint of human scientific progress for two thousand years is also a treatable condition.  Even if it's not, it'll be fun finding out.


In a further opportunity to poke fun at Religion, the Pope has called for an end to the mistreatment of children.

Wouldn't that be rather like Adolf Hitler telling his chief generals to go easy on the Jewish?


NSW Premier Bob Carr this week issued a warning about continued Global Warming and the sharp increase in temperatures that may damage Earth's environment.

Bear in mind that he's saying this during one of the coolest and wettest summers in recent history.

He also announced that the NSW Transport Commission has nothing to do with the horrific train crash in Norway, because the staff were all on holiday at the time.  Somewhere in Scandinavia, he said.


SUNDAY, 16 JANUARY 2000

Surf ironman Jonathan Crowe anxiously awaits the results of a blood test after he accidentally stepped on a used needle left on Elwood Beach on the weekend.  This has also reflected on Victoria's current stance on heroin users: currently there are moves to provide safe injecting rooms, but this proposal has been altered to have the rooms fitted with auto-locking, airtight doors and one-way ventilation systems installed so the drug-fucked wankers can be gassed while they won't even notice.


Eastern Australia succumbed to contaminated aeroplane fuel this week, leaving virtually all light aircraft grounded.  This endangered air-borne emergency medical and firefighting services, placing fuel distributors Mobil and BP in what leading Civil Aviation Authority members officially claim as "seriously deep shit".

"The contaminant is black deposits in the fuel," a distributor spokesman said.  "But it could be white or clear.  It reacts badly with anything copper or brass within the aircraft's fuel system, and it clogs up the injectors and could stall the plane when it's in midair.  So that explains why they've been dropping out of the skies over the past few weeks.  Silly of us not to notice before, really.  We drink a bucket of it every day and it's never done us any harm whatsoever."


A 60-year-old woman faces trial for trying to poison her husband by lacing his coffee with poison from toxic oleander grown in their backyard.  She claimed that her husband was "lazy and a lousy lover".

She should be lucky that her husband didn't try the same thing on her for being an overbearing, over-demanding, psychotic bitch.  But if all the men in the world did that... well, actually the world would probably be a happier place but there are certain legal implications.


The Catholic Church was shocked this week when various members of its clergy publicly demanded that Pope John Paul II retire.  The Pope relies heavily on his keepers to prop him up, he uses electric carts to take him from one side of St Peter's Basilica to another, he slurs, he dribbles, and he's just generally a doddery old sod.

Actually, come to think of it, he's the very epitome of Catholic leaders!  Keep it up, Paulie.  Without you there'd be no figurehead of the Church to make fun of.  One cardinal said (and this bit is true), "His mind is still totally free, totally unencumbered."  Of reality, certain wags may surmise.  But this is nothing new - there are those among us who've been thinking this exact same thing for years.


British doctors claimed that former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was "too unwell" to stand trial in Spain.  Obviously they're showing him the same leniency he showed to his subjects when he was in power.


Microsoft chairman Bill Gates moved from his seat as Chief Executive Officer to a "software architect" so he could "utilize his talents" more.  One suspects that a pay cut reflecting his new position was not in the offing - in fact one might even consider that it could entail a pay rise, what with the price that Microsoft software sells for these days, even the stuff that works.


SUNDAY, 23 JANUARY 2000

City of Greater Bendigo councillors and the Bendigo Safe City Forum (Persons Under 68 Not Allowed to Have Any Enjoyment) continued in their quest this week to win the Stupid Nagging Old Party Poopers of the New Millennium Award by protesting the sale of alcoholic icy poles (that's ice lollies or popsicles to the Australian dialectically-challenged) in Bendigo nightclubs.  Correction - in one Bendigo nightclub: Studio 54 (not the one about which you may have heard).

Naturally, the main concerns are that the "liquor pops" will attract the attention of small children.  Because naturally, children frequent over-18's drinking establishments all the time, don't they?  (If they did, I wouldn't blame them... there's fuck all else to do around this town for juniors that doesn't involve Nintendos.)


There were concerns this week that a looming electricity workers' union strike may jeopardize the completion of the construction of Colonial Stadium.  The Stadium is scheduled to host several supposedly important football matches, as well as a Barbra Streisand concert in March.

Let me just say that I am on the side of the workers - if they feel they need to strike for whatever reason (such as not having enough time to eat all their donuts during their many and varied coffee-break times) then good luck to them!  Stay on strike all you want, fellas...  at least until early April, when the danger will have passed.


Police all over the country were this week called upon to remain vigilant for thieves who stole $100,000 worth of rare snakes from a breeder in Humpty Doo, near Darwin.

Police reaction was immediate: "We fell about the floor laughing," said a senior spokesman.  "Who the hell would live in a place called 'Humpty Doo'??"


Victorian Liberal Party Upper House MPs this week accused Victorian Labor Party Upper House MPs as "non-performers", claiming they are not involved in house debates.

"That's fine if you want to sit around on your fat over-paid arse and talk a lot," paraphrased the Labor members in return.  "We prefer to be actually out in our electorates and doing something."


SUNDAY, 30 JANUARY 2000

Prime Minister John Howard returned from holiday this week, to the joyous welcome from members of the media and the general public.  "After having to put up with Deputy PM John Anderson for several weeks, we would have thrown a party if Adolf Hitler had taken over," was the general consensus.

Anderson returned to his usual vocation of stealing from children and insurance fraud (at least, we assume that's what he does because he certainly looks and acts like the sort of person who would).


In his first week back, Prime Minister Howard (an anagram of "I'm Earthworm Inspired", might I add) had to contend with challenges to the GST - particularly in relation to whether prices will be rounded up or down ("Up," he said.  "Fuck off," we said).  And for the first time in history a Prime Minister has been directly responsible for causing the word "Tampon" to be printed in huge letters on the front page of every major metropolitan newspaper (the country ones still use "feminine sanitary products").

Should the GST apply to tampons? was the question placed before the PM.  "Yes," he said.  "Ha ha!" the rest of the nation replied.  Tampons are a necessity to females, not a luxury item, and it's unfair for them to be singled out in such a fashion.  In response, members of the male population (studies have shown that many of them are, in fact, men) claimed that there are certain items a male cannot live without and should also be GST-free: beer, footy tickets, Playboy magazines (or equivalent), beer, footy apparel, beer...


Wednesday marked Australia Day - the day when all full-blooded Australians drank beer and ate barbecue-cooked sausages in a most celebratory manner.  The ones who weren't burning flags, that is...  Once again the Aboriginal population protested the national day, claiming it was "Invasion Day" and that they wanted to be given more money and government benefits in compensation for "stealing their land".  Which is fair enough... I mean, they had great plans for it and everything before the White Men arrived.  They might even have gotten around to inventing the wheel by now if they were left well alone.

In celebration of our national day, I personally made it my patriotic duty to get extremely slightly out of my head the night before, and in honour of two hundred and something years of white Australian history (some of which was actually interesting), I slept in for part of the morning.

Incidentally, the Australian of the year is Sir Gustav Nossel and Bendigo's Young Citizen of the Year is Malaysian-born Elaine Tho.  Aren't you just glad of the achievements of natural Australian citizens, hmm?


26 December 1999 (Boxing Day): Severe storms lash the Bendigo region, with the average rainfall of a month falling within 24 hours.  Strathdale residents complain that inadequate drainage has resulted in their houses becoming flooded, blaming the City of Greater Bendigo Council for not maintaining them properly.  The Council promises immediate action.

26 January 2000 (Australia Day): Severe storms lash the Bendigo region, with the average rainfall of a month falling within 24 hours.  Strathdale residents complain that inadequate drainage has resulted in their houses becoming flooded, blaming the City of Greater Bendigo Council for not maintaining them properly.  The Council promises immediate action.


The National Party demonstrated their continued hard work for country and regional areas by claiming that they intend to have reduced unemployment in these areas considerably by 2004... by moving everybody into the city, where it's so nice and affordable, and there are just so many jobs going around.

And furthermore, if you want to be able to claim unemployment benefits anymore under this new scheme, you have to get a job first to be eligible.  In addition to having to Work for the Dole, the unemployed also needs to look for at least ten jobs a fortnight (people in country areas, only six).  Police may be called upon to enforce this action, because obviously if they find unemployed people lying around doing nothing through the day or sleeping at night they're obviously not doing enough to earn their keep.


School resumed this week for all primary students, urging Prime Minister Shortarsed Fuckwit to claim that school hours should be extended from 9am to 3.30pm to the more reasonable times of 9am to 5.30pm so the children won't be a hassle to parents who have to work and won't be home for their children.

Parents, teachers, students, ordinary citizens, household pets and slimy cockroaches all claim that Prime Minister Smarmy Baldgit should just shut the fuck up and stick to what he does best: fulfilling his bold futuresque vision of dragging this country kicking and screaming into the 1950's.


Recent opinion polls reveal that, if an election were to be held at the moment, Labor would win by a landslide federally and in every single state.  If a further poll were to be conducted, I'm sure it would reflect the fact that the Libs would probably lose an election to a bucket of toxic industrial waste if it were to run for office; after all, it's more attractive than our current Prime Minister and certainly reflects Australia's values as a nation more coherently.