January 2, 2000 -- THE WITZELSUCHT MEMORANDUM presents
THE DAWN OF A BOLD, NEW AGE merits bold, new changes . . . hence, WIT MEMO '77, the snazzy new name for confidence in the coming era of worldwide prosperity, universal web access, and everyone zipping to and fro in their own personal jet-packs and gyrocopters. WIT MEMO '77 kicks off the twenty-first century with TWO THOUSAND WORDS FOR 2000: a good, ol'-fashioned, chatty WIT MEMO like from way back when, featuring the WIT MEMO Man and Woman of the Century . . . the Funniest Line of the Millennium, and the First Line of the Twenty-first Century . . . Why The Sopranos' Second Season just might SUCK, and WIT MEMO kudos in 1999. But first, ripped right from the headlines . . . 

WIT MEMO was just STUNNED by LUCIA GAROFALO's arrest in Vermont for terrorism and links to AHMED RESSAM, that Algerian "national" (why are foreign suspects always "nationals?") caught in Washington State with nitroglycerine in his trunk. We've been her fan for years and years, and based on the "slacker" persona she's affected in great stuff like "REALITY BITES" and "THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW," we thought she didn't have any particular strong political allegiances of any kind! 


The day that at least one calendar recognized as the last day of the last millennium was stunningly gorgeous in DC, as beneath a brilliant blue and cloudless afternoon sky WIT MEMO went for the bicycle ride, along the river and past the monuments, that has sustained us these last twenty years or so. Traffic scant, hundreds of geese took advantage of the quiet to lounge along the shore next to the MEMORIAL BRIDGE, by that statue that honors JOHN ERICSSON, creator of the screw propellor and pioneering Civil War ironclad Monitor. Seven or eight pleasure craft anchored together as a barge just upriver from the 14th STREET BRIDGE comprised the first outdoor party in progress. Heading onto HAIN'S POINT we were overjoyed to espy THE JOHN F. KENNEDY ETERNAL DRINKING FOUNTAIN living up to the name we'd given it, dispensing its unending arc of silvery water as it had for many, many years before being repaired and refurbished towards the end of last summer. Across the ship channel from the slip of the tourboat ODYSSEY, the eternal fountain has long been a WIT MEMO stopping point: if the freshness and cleanliness of water bear any proportion to the length of time that the spigot has been permitted to run, then this is surely the freshest and cleanest water in town. We gulped the cool water reflecting on the handsome young President whose mysterious murder established a sensationalism standard that, as the first century of the modern era came to a close, the new tabloid electronica has been unable to equal in the decade or so since finding its legs. 
But next we found the mall from the LINCOLN MEMORIAL to beyond the WASHINGTON MONUMENT distressingly off-limits even to bicycles, work crews visible through the chain link fences putting the final touches on preparations for the night's festivities amid the clattering footfalls of trotting phalanxes of jack booted, flak-jacketed, Uzi-toting police of several forces, ready to secure through the panicking, hunger-frenzied mob a route for the evacuation of the highest muckety-mucks to remote, breeding-female-stocked mountain bunkers, in the event that word got round that ATMs had stopped dispensing cash. 

Somebody at the Post or Salon mused that ALBERT EINSTEIN didn't warrant Timeweek's Man of the Century crown because he preceded television. WIT MEMO's memory is much shorter: we're pretty vague on anything before tabloid TV. Moreover, we've always felt that the truly great don't aspire to greatness, they have greatness thrust upon them. In that spirit, the clear choices for WIT MEMO's MAN & WOMAN OF THE CENTURY were JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT and MONICA LEWINSKY. 

WIT MEMO would like to send a shout out to the first runners-up, KATO KAELIN and TONYA HARDING, and second runners-up WINSTON CHURCHILL and MOTHER TERESA. Jolly good show, and better luck next time! 
The way that all good jokes get passed around, recycled, reused and mangled, you'd think that THE FUNNIEST LINE OF THE CENTURY would be one you've already heard ad nauseum. So it came as a big surprise when the best line of the century turned out to be one we've never heard or seen repeated since we read it many years ago. Without doubt, the hands-down funniest line of the century is the FOLLOWING PHRASE from a long-forgotten NATIONAL LAMPOON baseball parody: 

" . . . the unfortunate scheduling of 'bat day' and 'ten-cent beer night' for the same game."

Funniest lines from past millenniums:  

0-1000 A.D. - no winner  

1000-0 B.C. - Moses comes down from Mt. Sinai and tells his followers, "I've got good news, and I've got bad news. The good news is, I was able to talk Him down to TEN commandments. The bad news is, adultery is still one of them. 

"Dave Matthews? Weren't they popular like, last century?!?" 
Once upon a time, there was a TV show that was the best TV show we'd ever seen; a dramatic series of murder and intrigue tinged with dark humor, that was so cool, so hip, so unlike anything that had come before that we were rapt and awed; we watched it religiously, taped it, discussed episodes and swapped killer lines with friends. Then, the second season came along, and after a deceptively strong start, the show soon sucked Major Moosecock. 
Of course, that show was TWIN PEAKS, David Lynch's flawed masterpiece from 1990-91,and we're literally praying that a similar fate doesn't await our CURRENT fave show of all time, THE SOPRANOS, the show HBO calls the show everyone's talking about, which begins its eagerly awaited second season in just two weeks. Regular WIT MEMO readers remember our anguish back in May when DC Cable finally cut off the free HBO we'd been receiving for years. Now that we've gritted our teeth and shelled out the shekels like all the other poor slobs out there, just to be able to see The Sopranos, we hope our beloved Jersey gangster family saga won't devolve into the insult-the-fans mire that was Twin Peaks' second and last season, when the writers, having already solved the show's sustaining mystery, gave up and started foisting off absurdist crap like BENJAMIN HORNE's delusion of being a Civil War general. (We reminded of that nonsense when we attempted to actually watch an episode of ALLY MCBEAL, and were confronted by a bevy of high-priced lawyers conducting a funeral for A FROG.) 
We wouldn't have these worries about The Sopranos if not for a disturbing Lynchian note during the final minutes of the last episode: during a terrific nighttime thunderstorm, TONY SOPRANO rushes to DR. MELFI's office, only to discover that his prone-to-short-skirts shrink has heeded his advice and gone on the lam. As Tony stands in the warmly wood-paneled office, deserted except for a maintenance man, the lights begin flickering weirdly, signaling the coming power outage . . . nothing recalls David Lynch so much as that sort of thing. So here's hoping that The Soprano's can sidestep sophomore slump and pick up right where they left off without missing a beat this January 16 when WIT MEMO and the rest of the cognoscenti huddle with bated breath before their TVs. 
But if Tony Soprano's mother-from-hell LIVIA starts talking to a log, we're outta there! 


"They say you shouldn't blow your own horn... well I say, who better knows the tune?" - R. Piper

1999 was WIT MEMO's best year yet: Aside from launching the website, which has been hit literally many times since its inception, WIT MEMO is pleased-as-punch pink to have been quoted a coupla times by "THE HOTLINE," the NATIONAL JOURNAL'S widely-read online daily political news service, and we're moreover grateful for the plug on the 12/17 episode of the HOTLINE TV SHOW, nightly at 6:30 on AMERICA'S VOICE (DC Cable channel 23). If you're looking for entertaining insider political analysis without the agenda or the egos, this is the place! 
Back in August, in the WIT MEMO special Why The Millennium Sucks issue (our very first Snap Pop! column), we attributed the obsession with 1/1/ 2000 - instead of the supposedly "real" end of the Millennium one year later- to "all those zeros. We all love a nice round number. It's like getting to see your car turn 100,000 miles." In the months since, that throwaway line has turned up in one form or another on TV's "KING OF THE HILL" and "THE WEST WING," and online in RICH GALEN'S MULLINGS and Washington CityPaper.com's ROCK STARS HATE ME with TINA PLOTTEL. 
In October, we boldly predicted that PAT BUCHANAN's big opponent in the upcoming winner-take-all REFORM PARTY steel cage match wouldn't be DONALD TRUMP, but instead the only Reformer with a whit of electoral credibility, former star of the squared circle and now Minnesota Governor JESSE "THE BODY" VENTURA. And sure enuf, on December 30th, the one-time bad-guy grappler Ventura announced his opposition to Buchanan, pronouncing the Georgetown Goosestepper "shallow" and "fraudulent." Who do YOU think presents the more formidable opposition to Buchanan's reform bid: Trump, or Ventura? 'Nuff said! 

Since August WIT MEMO has been a featured op-ed column in SNAP POP!, the DC area's newest and coolest monthly music paper. The work of a dedicated group of knowledgeable and talented scenesters, Snap Pop! is distinguished by insightful writing, innovative layouts, and few advertisements. WIT MEMO has truly appreciated the opportunity to write a monthly column on any topic that happens to cross our sick little mind (we're the paper's only regular feature that isn't devoted to music). Look for Snap Pop! in cool clubs and record stores around town. 
We've taken this opportunity to finally make available some of our SNAP POP! columns that we never got around to posting on the WIT MEMO web site ("Where Top-Hat, Red-Carpet Service is Practically A Motto"):  From October's Snap Pop!, we present BYE-BYE BEERFEST, an overdue slicin'-and-dicin' of the societal forces that chased this year's beerfest out of DC ... from November, IT'S NOTHING PERSONAL, a startling first-person revelation of a bizarre and unique WIT MEMO habit that's had readers of all ages throwing down their Snap Pops in disgust . . . and picking them up again, unable to resist the compulsion to read to the disturbing end.  From December, read about WIT MEMO's unwitting destruction of the FALL GREEK FESTIVAL at St. Sophia's Church on Massachusetts Avenue, a classic WIT MEMO tale that longtime readers will remember from our pre-web days. And finally, from January, it's the big Y2K ISSUE!


WIT MEMO never had any Y2K worries, 'cause WIT MEMO is the ONLY web site that isn't composed on a computer . . . truth be told, WIT MEMO doesn't even OWN a computer! The entire WIT MEMO text is banged out on a vintage L.C. Smith typewriter used by legendary Baltimore wit H. L. MENCKEN to complete the first draft of 1918's "In Defense of Women." We insert HTML codes manually as we type, and then the completed pages are shipped off unedited to the WIT MEMO ISP for scanning and uploading to the server. What that entails we have no idea; as long as we come up with the twelve hundred bucks they charge each month to keep the whole shebang running, they pretty much stay out of our hair! 

And what's in store for '00? Look for WIT MEMO to take the lead in shedding some much-needed light on the shadowy world of BOXING KANGAROOS! 

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