Maybe Mars was conjuncting Saturn or something. Whatever. Nineteen ninety-seven will go down as the most patently absurd year in all of recorded history. One more like it and Jay Leno can be replaced by a news reader.
Here then, 10 to be treasured or trashed:
1. MARV BITES. How could we not have guessed he was a weirdo? One of the highest-paid sportscasters in the world, he nonetheless wore a giant endangered species on his head. Why were we shocked that a man who thought no one would notice that aberration assumed no one would notice the bra-and-panties getup? Or that women would ignore having large chunks ripped out of their flesh. Pity that woman who came to his hotel room to help him fax. Can you hear old Marv now? ''I'm innocent, I tell you. Who wouldn't want a little bite after a good fax?''
2. ELLEN GETS HECHED. After coming out, Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche went out so much it looked like they'd rather be hit by a semi than miss a photo op. In a move that got huge press, they allegedly kissed at the White House. If they were straight, they probably would have gotten tossed out for making out at a State, er, affair. But then again, if they were straight the president would have tried to get in on the action himself.
3. DASH PUGACH. Linda Pugach, the woman who was (literally) blinded by love when her then boyfriend (now husband) had lye thrown in her face, took the stand to testify on her basher's behalf. Hubby Burt was defending himself against accusations by his latest mistress. ''He wouldn't harm a fly,'' Mrs. Pugach testified. A woman, yes; a fly, no.
4. KATHIE LEE WAY. Admit it. You hate Kathie Lee. You liked seeing her get hers. Meantime, ol' Frank Gifford got tons of public sympathy when he was nailed. Go figure. Anyway, you'd think that after years of football he'd be better at making passes. What a cheese-ola! Word to KL: Leave him before he becomes a burden.
5. TYSON CHICKEN. Iron Mike showed true form by biting off part of Evander Holyfield's ear. Everyone was outraged and shocked that a man who rapes and batters women would stoop so low as to bite a man--one he's paid to batter.
6. THE BRIDE OF WILDENSTEIN. Wherein a rich guy with a rich wife (who turned herself into a photocopy of their house cat) got caught in bed with a model young enough to be his daughter. These people need to get jobs, and the surgeon needs to have his license revoked.
7. VANITY UNFAIR. The mayor was absolutely outraged that anyone could accuse him of having an affair with Christyne Lategano, his communications director. The fact that they are together every minute, and wife Donna (who has gone back to her maiden name) wasn't seen in his presence most of the year, means nothing.
8. TWO WOMEN. The death of Mother Teresa, who spent her whole life serving the diseased and poor, was pretty much overshadowed by the death of Princess Diana, who died in a car travelling at high speeds with her playboy boyfriend. Mother Teresa, while a nice person and all, never had the--what?--style that made Diana so special. I mean, for God's sake,can you ever recall the Mother in couture? She also never got the sympathy vote for marrying a royal pain who shamed her into suicide attempts and anorexia.
9. VERSACE GUNNED DOWN. Explain the absurdity: A serial killer of gay men roams Miami for weeks without getting caught. Then, two minutes after the shooting, the cops not only know precisely who did it, but have his car impounded.
10. DON'T WALK. The year ended in a huge hue and cry by pedestrians who were barricaded from crossing at busy intersections. But, really, when you live in a city where buildings are falling faster than Communist countries, it's probably just as well. They should leave the barricades up, or just permanently close any street near a Macklowe construction site.
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