4... 3... 2... 1... ZERO !
An observation by Alan Sadowsky

Welcome to the 21st century. The biggest build up of apprehension and fear since the Cuban missile crisis came and went at midnight on December 31st. The doomsayers were wrong. Obviously we're still alive and kicking. The media did what it does best, and whipped the general population into a frenzy of emotions by sending mixed messages in 10 second spots on TV. "It's the end of the 20th century... and all life as we know it. Film at 11, along with the local weather."

So people stocked up on bottled water and canned goods. Some even moved their families into caves. The government had Bruce Willis strapped into a space shuttle, and anyone who had anything to do with data processing was either in the office, or glued to a phone waiting for the universal blue screen of death. And what actually happened when the ball finally dropped? Zero, zip, nada, bupkis, zilch, squat, nothing.

The "Millennium Bug" didn't bite us for one simple reason. It's not the new millennium! If there's anything about this whole buildup to year 2000 that honestly frightens me, it's the lie that was perpetrated on the world by the hucksters and the schemers. For the last time people... the new millennium doesn't start until next year when we enter 2001.

What really ticks me off is the fact that the "watchdogs of society", our government and the news media, all decided to shove the new millennium down our throats a year in advance. Believe me when I tell you that the greatest minds in the world are not sitting in the White House or behind a newsroom anchor desk. Yet every government speech, every broadcast, every magazine, and every newspaper hyped the new millennium until the masses were brainwashed into believing it themselves.

This was no slip of the tongue. This was no accidental "Oops, I grabbed the wrong calendar." You don't show up at the dentist's office a year early for a cleaning, and you don't just bump up the millennium. I won't even begin to guess at a hidden agenda, but there is something very wrong going on here, and we need to do something about it before it's too late.

If you look back on the last 40 or so years of television, you can start to see a pattern of subliminal nonsense emerging. The number of intelligent shows declines, and the number of "entertaining" shows fills the void. The overall flavor of the message changes from thought provoking to mind numbing, as we move away from serious news commentary and education, to Gilligan's Island and The Dukes of Hazard.

Of course some of the better programs did manage to survive, but were moved into time slots destined to discourage audience growth. The prime-time shows did much better, and every week of watching brought us one rung lower on the intelligence ladder. Gilligan's Island is a perfect example.

Here's a story about 7 adults who are shipwrecked and stranded on an island after taking what should have been a 3-hour cruise. There's "the Skipper" and his mate Gilligan, a millionaire and his wife, a college professor, a movie starlet, and Mary Ann. I'm not sure if anyone ever knew what Mary Ann did career-wise. Right out of the chute, you've got to ask the question; What mysterious force of nature would ever bring these people together? Well as Johnny Carson used to say... "You buy the premise, you buy the bit."

So for the next 15 years (that's right folks, 15 years), Gilligan and company scratch out an existence on this uncharted island, constructing a number of dwellings, weaving their own clothing, foraging for food, and creatively inventing rudimentary tools to keep them alive from one day to the next. In more realistic terms, the dwellings looked like beach cabanas, the unlimited wardrobes ran from designer casual to formal wear, the food was plentiful, and the rudimentary tools ran the gamut from Geiger counters to hydrothermal engines. There wasn't anything our little group of castaways couldn't do, except repair the SS Minnow, or build another boat!

That's 15 long years without a doctor or a dentist, without an accident or a death, without an affair or a pregnancy. The world not only accepted the fate of the castaways, but also tuned in faithfully week after week, to follow the plight of our "little buddy".

I really believe that Gilligan's Island is the show that started it all. The government and the media took one look at the viewing public, and when they stopped laughing, realized that they had the ultimate weapon at their disposal. It doesn't matter where the truth starts or where it ends when it comes to making money. Whether it's a product or an idea, if it's packaged the right way you can sell anything to anyone. Let me give you two quick examples:

Many products are sold on the basis of endorsements and testimonials by well-known celebrities. These are usually people we look up to and admire for their accomplishments and contributions to society. Well hold onto your hat boys and girls, because Monica Lewinsky is the new national spokesperson for Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centers. This is the last person in the world you would want telling you what you should and shouldn't put in your mouth.

In another few weeks, we should start seeing the "millennium" thing back in the news again. The disclaimers about year 2000 versus year 2001 will satisfy the majority of the population, and the rest of us will ignore the rhetoric since we knew all along that the millennium was still a year away. Be prepared for another bout of worldwide celebrations, a proliferation of millennium "knick-knacks", and a new round of apocalyptic predictions. The important thing is to get involved. You don't want to miss the millennium do you? It's a once (maybe twice) in a lifetime event!

As for myself, I think I'll skip the whole thing. You've seen one millennium, you've pretty much seen them all. Since December 31st is a Sunday, it would be a good weekend to just relax around the house and catch up on some reading. If that doesn't appeal to you, I have it on good authority that at least one major network will be running a Mr. Ed marathon. You remember Mr. Ed don't you? Mr. Ed is a horse, and (this is great), he talks to his owner Wilbur. Well you can just imagine the trouble Wilbur gets into....