Monday, January 3, 2000

1999 Woman of the Year

Previous Winners:
1992: H. Ross Perot
1993: St. Francis of Assisi
1994: Newt Gingrich
1995: Cal Ripken Jr.
1996: The Bob Dole Campaign
1997: Dolly the Sheep
1998: El Nino

When the newsletter's woman of the year committee convened early in the month to select our eighth annual award winner, there was a general consensus that the selection process would wrap up rapidly. There seemed to be a clear-cut choice among committee members. But as the process proceeded, it was anything but quick and easy. Another candidate emerged and soon the standoff between members became intense. Tumultuous was how one member described the debate. Fastidious (or perhaps "fascist" it was difficult to tell) muttered another.

When the balloting was all finished there were still hard feelings leftover. Though the confidentiality clause in the bylaws prohibits us from disclosing what exactly caused the rift and hard feelings let us just say it had nothing to do with the two different flavors of Altoids and what the symbolism of wearing a hat meant to different committee members or who ended up sprinkling what over whom.

Suffice it to say one of the strong candidates that emerged this year was the U.S. women's soccer team that thrilled the country with their 0-0 World Cup shootout victory over hated China. It was one of the rare sporting events that captured the imagination of the entire nation. Some of our favorite people are after all, women soccer players. At least they used to be. Had it not been for Brandi Chastain ripping off her shirt after scoring the deciding goal at the end of the shootout, the team might have gathered enough committee votes to be declared the prestigious award winner. But Chastain's action left a sour look on several of the committee member's faces. Sure she has the nicest pair of biceps this side of Oscar De la Hoya, but we didn't need the calculated advertisement for Nike OK?

Thus having eliminated Ms. Hamm, Ms. Scurry, Ms. Overbeck, et al from consideration discussion began over the other obvious choice. This was a year that you literally couldn't go a day without hearing it brought up. Depending on your religious and/or technical background Y2K either meant absolutely nothing would change, or conversly there would be a catastrophic end to the world. For all its hype, at the root of the issue few people really seemed to understand what it was about. Why the concern that computers couldn't tell the difference between 1900 and 2000? So what if they all shut down and people couldn't surf the super information highway for a while? What was all this paranoia about embedded chips?

In the end it all seemed to be about the biggest fear of all: the unknown. The more people didn't know, the more people began to think that maybe Y2K was something they should be worried about. It was this unknown, this complete blind going along with society's trendy gossip that made Y2K immensely qualified for the newsletter committee's consideration. Or so one side argued. The other side said enough with the hype already, the award should be given to somebody with sense enough to have a little more subtlety.

That's when things got testy. How could we even consider giving the award to a trumped up computer phenomenon over those patriotic young athletes that led our nation a step closer to accepting that bizzarely boring world sport? And wasn't it time after all these years to give the damn award to an actual human female?

Oh yeah! Stick this up your ear! How could we justify awarding the honor to something related to athletics when the number one issue in our area seems to be a determination to stop the building of public sports stadiums with public money at all cost? Athletes are just spoiled, overpaid, out of touch bums anyway. And the soccer team was no exception, boycotting a tournament over the issue of how much they are to be paid. Deadlocked, the committee was fast approaching its deadline. Finally one of the prominent members stood up and said enough was enough. "Just choose a compromise candidate and let's all get the hell out of here!" said member said. So the remaining committee members put their heads together and came up with the sole person everyone seemed to like.

Thus this year's newsletter woman of the year? KARE-11's ever lovely, likable, and pleasing meteorologist, Belinda Jensen.

A commerative VHS video is available at our web site.

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