No mas: Year-end reviews of 2003

No mas. I’ve had enough of these year-end reviews of 2003. They’re everywhere. Blah, blah, blah, business stories of the year. Here is all you need to know about business in 2003: junk stocks ruled. Equities that were trash in 2000-2002, were cash in 2003. Everything else anyone tells you either a) you couldn’t make money from knowing it, or b) they only realized it after the fact.

So, herewith, some snippets from Dave Barry’s review of 2003 instead:


  • An outbreak of the SARS virus in Asia is blamed for dozens of deaths, many of them travel agents committing suicide.

  • May

  • Elsewhere abroad, Chinese health authorities, stung by accusations that they have been slow in reacting to the SARS virus, announce that they will execute anybody who gets sick.
  • In entertainment news, CNN switches to a new format that consists entirely of Larry King talking to former prosecutors about Laci Peterson.

  • August

  • In rural northern Ohio, 83-year-old widow Eileen Freemonkle decides that, for a change, she will put two Pop-Tarts into her toaster, instead of her usual one. This rogue action — never anticipated by the designers of the nation’s electrical power grid — sets off a chain of events that ultimately blacks out the entire Northeast. As rescue crews work overtime trying to keep people in the affected areas supplied with news about the developing Kobe Bryant situation, Congress swings into emergency action; within hours, Democrats and Republicans have issued literally hundreds of press releases blaming each other. Power is finally restored several days later by power company workers, aided by bored North Korean troops.

  • October

  • In immigration news, federal agents in 21 states descend on Wal-Mart stores that are allegedly employing illegal immigrants; the agents emerge hours later, glassy-eyed, holding bags filled with hundreds of dollars’ worth of bargains but unable to remember what they went in there for in the first place.

  • December

  • December begins on an upbeat note thanks to strong holiday retail sales, as measured by the economic indicator of Mall Shoppers Injured in Fights Over Sony PlayStations.
  • In other positive news, the Commerce Department reports that the economic recovery has finally resulted in job creation. “So far, it’s only the one job, and it’s in urinal maintenance,” notes the department. “But if things work out, it could become full time.”
  • In a medical breakthrough, a Houston-based team of surgeons, working for 17 hours in a risky, first-of-its kind operation, is able to separate a 21-year-old woman from her cellular telephone. She expires within hours, but doctors report that the phone is stable, and they expect its condition to improve dramatically “once it finds a new host.”
  • The month’s biggest surprise occurs when U.S. troops finally capture a filthy and bedraggled Saddam Hussein hiding in a hole along with 11 other members of the cast of the CBS reality show “Survivor: Iraq.” The former dictator immediately hires attorney Johnnie Cochran, who reveals that his defense strategy will be based on the legal argument that “if there’s no WMD, you must set him free.”