January 1 -- The new year dawns with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein arrogantly thumbing his nose at international law. Little does this homicidal bully realize that, although he is riding high now, before the year is over, he will be, um, almost a year older.

8 -- Pan Am files for bankruptcy, but promises that all of its flights "will continue to take off right on schedule." This turns out to be true, although on many flights, the pilot refuses to LAND until the passengers cash his paycheck.

9 -- Elvis, surrounded by a few close friends, turns 56.

10 -- Hopes fade for a peaceful settlement to the Persian Gulf crisis when a grim-faced U.S. Secretary of State James Baker informs Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz that his name "sounds like an armpit fungus."

13 -- Bo Jackson is injured in a football game and returns home to Krypton for medical treatment.

16 -- War erupts in the Middle East as massive allied air forces attack Iraq with extremely sophisticated computerized weapons capable of hitting, with pinpoint accuracy, any target except Saddam Hussein. Broadcasting live from a Baghdad hotel, three courageous CNN reporters hold the nation spellbound with electrifying coverage of their desperate efforts to reach room service.

17 -- The Iraqi air force, rising to the challenge, flies to Iran.

18 -- Eastern Air Lines is finally forced to shut down and liquidate its assets, which at this point consist of a 55-gallon drum containing a greenish-orange substance believed to be in-flight lasagna.

19 -- The air war over Iraq heats up as the U.S. Air Force introduces a Frequent Combat Flier Program, under which, after a certain number of sorties, pilots may bomb the target of their choice. Many choose Sam Donaldson. Responding boldly, the Iraqi air force (proud motto: "We're Out Of Here") flies to Greece.

22 -- The U.S. Commission On Making It Even Less Convenient To Mail A Letter Than It Already Is announces that the new first-class stamp will cost 29 cents. Other ideas under consideration include a requirement that all mail must have rhyming addresses, and stamps made of live stinging insects.

25 -- A huge oil slick begins spreading outward from Kuwait, threatening vast ecological damage to the gulf region. Aerial reconnaissance reveals the shocking cause: The Iraqis, in flagrant disregard of international law and environmental standards, have chartered the Exxon Valdez.

27 -- In Super Bowl XVCVILXVII, the New York Giants and the Buffalo Bills display their support for the Persian Gulf troops by playing the entire game wearing full Army combat uniforms, including backpacks. The game ends on a thrilling note when, with eight seconds to go and the Giants ahead 20-19, Bills placekicker Scott Norwood, attempting a 47-yard field goal, is felled by a grenade heaved by MVP Lawrence Taylor. Reacting quickly, the Iraqi air force flies to Wales.

28 -- President Bush's economic advisers predict that the recession will "definitely" end by March. "Also," they note, "we like the Bills in the Super Bowl."

February 1 -- The civilized world reacts with horror as Iraq, continuing to show a total disregard for standards of decency, attacks Israel with the French-built "Loogie" missile, which, upon reaching the target area, hawks up a gigantic gob.

2 -- Reacting to the new Iraqi threat, the United States pledges to defend Israel with the Sanitationman missile, which is essentially a large, 6,000-mile-per-hour laser-guided sneeze shield. Separately, in Groundhog Day observances, President Bush's economic advisers emerge from their offices, see their shadows and predict that winter has already ended.

6 -- Danny Thomas goes to the Big Situation Comedy in the Sky.

7 -- True Item: In Keithville, La., as many as 50 people, including sheriff's deputies, game wardens and wildlife officials, spend most of the night trying to rescue what appears to be a black bear caught high in a pine tree. Finally, after nearly eight hours, during which a veterinarian fired a number of tranquilizer darts, the rescuers chop the tree down and discover that they have saved a heavily sedated black garbage bag.

8 -- Tensions mount in the Persian Gulf as a grim-faced Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf orders his troops to shoot the next member of the press corps who asks him when the ground war is going to start.

10 -- Domestic air travel is snarled by a freak combination of bad weather, computer breakdowns and the fact that the Iraqi air force has requested permission to land in Chicago.

14 -- Saddam charges that allied bombers, in violation of international human-rights laws, are dropping U.S. Army food on Baghdad.

20 -- The Bush administration, in a sweeping reform designed to restore public confidence in the troubled U.S. banking system, orders air bags installed on automatic teller machines.

23 -- The long-awaited land war finally begins as allied troops storm into Iraq.

24 -- Allied troops, after checking their maps, realize that they have stormed all the way THROUGH Iraq. They hastily turn around and storm back.

25 -- Hopes are aroused for an early end to the ground war when 3,500 Iraqi troops surrender to an allied portable field toilet.

26 -- The war quickly turns into a rout of historic proportions as allied forces push deep into Iraq, toward Baghdad, drawing ever closer to the long-sought goal of ridding the world of Saddam Hussein. The waiting, the anguish, the pain and the suffering all seem to be justified as the allies realize they are about to accomplish, at last, the mission of eliminating this tyrant, this murderer, this international cancer, this . . . Wait! Hold it! New orders from Washington! There has been a slight change: The new mission is to mail Saddam a certified letter notifying him that he lost the war and giving him strict instructions that he is to sign the letter and mail it back within two weeks.

27 -- James Brown is released from prison after agreeing to let his parole board sing backup.

March 3 -- Shocked at the devastation they find in Kuwait, the allies begin a massive humanitarian airlift of emergency replacement gold plumbing fixtures for the royal palace. A grateful world learns that members of the Kuwaiti royal family have escaped injury despite being just 2,000 miles from the thick of the fighting, trapped in European hotels with only minimal polo facilities.

7 -- The House of Representatives, responding to ridicule and complaints from taxpayers, votes to withdraw a $500,000 grant that was to have been used to restore the birthplace of Lawrence Welk. "We need new priorities," admit chastened House leaders. "We're now thinking maybe Barry Manilow."

11 -- True Item: During a presidential visit to a Virginia school, a skeptical third-grader refuses to believe that George Bush is who he says he is until the president produces his driver's license.

12 -- The Kuwaiti royal family elects to continue its courageous exile in Europe for a while longer after the allies report that fleeing Iraqi troops, in a heinous act of wanton environmental destruction that will render Kuwait almost uninhabitable for months, have set fire to all the Rolls-Royces.

13 -- During a vice-presidential visit to a Maryland elementary school, a skeptical fourth-grader refuses to believe that Dan Quayle is who he says he is until the vice president produces his anatomically correct Chilean doll.

17 -- In a heartwarming display of democratic progress, millions of Soviet citizens turn out to vote in the nation's first-ever referendum. Unfortunately, there is only one working polling booth, and the line is 4,000 miles long.

21 -- True Item: In the wake of the Alar pesticide scare, the Colorado legislature, pressured by agricultural interests, passes a bill that would make it possible to sue people for making libelous statements about vegetables. This is seen as a blow to the U.S. humor industry, which depends heavily on Dan Quayle jokes.

22 -- Another True Item: Hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky pays $451,000 for a Honus Wagner baseball card.

24 -- In Iraq, the Kurds, responding to President Bush's wartime call for a popular uprising against Saddam, rise up against Saddam. In the United States, the slumping airline industry, in an effort to lure back passengers who were frightened away by the gulf crisis, announces that it will stop serving food.

25 -- Saddam's forces begin slaughtering the Kurds, who beg the United States to help them. In an Academy Awards shocker, the coveted Oscar for Best Action Drama goes to "Los Angeles Police Officers Whomping on an Unarmed Prone Motorist."

26 -- President Bush announces that unfortunately the United States cannot provide any actual MILITARY support for the Kurds, but he pledges that he will definitely not raise their taxes.

30 -- Saddam Hussein, responding to an inquiry from the Gulf War allies, claims that he never got any letter about losing any war. The United Nations, after three days of debate, votes to send him another letter.

April 1 -- The U.S. economy is definitely on the mend, announce President Bush's economic advisers, after a two-hour meeting with the Easter Bunny.

7 -- In the arts, Kitty Kelley and Nancy Reagan captivate the nation with their smash-hit collaboration, "Dueling Shrews."

8 -- In the first concrete example of the "peace dividend," the Pentagon announces that hundreds of U.S. missiles, no longer needed to defend against Soviet attack, will be fired at U.S. savings-and-loan institutions.

9 -- In Palm Beach, tireless social activist Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-UMB) leads a fact-finding mission of the Select Subcommittee on Fermentation and Nocturnal Reconnaissance, setting in motion a chain of events that will permanently knock the Kurds out of the news.

11 -- As the federal income-tax deadline draws near, the Internal Revenue Service offers a convenient new program, called "Don't Sweat It!," under which taxpayers, instead of filling out lengthy and complex forms, will have the option of simply shooting themselves in the head.

12 -- True Item: NBC and the New York Times, following the lead of a supermarket tabloid called the Globe, release the name of the alleged Kennedy compound rape victim. In sports, Wayne Gretzky pays $784,000 for a jar containing two ounces of Ty Cobb's spit.

13 -- The U.S. space probe Wanderer II reaches the outer edge of the solar system, where, in one of the space program's most dramatic moments, it is passed by the Iraqi air force.

14 -- In Hollywood, plans are announced to film "Los Angeles Police Officers Whomping on a Prone Motorist II," which will star John Candy and Macaulay Culkin.

16 -- Hero Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf announces plans to retire and make millions of dollars, after which he'll be able to afford to have his head surgically reduced to normal size. In media affairs, the New York Times and NBC report that Bigfoot has undergone a UFO sex-change operation and is carrying JFK's baby.

17 -- True Item: The president of Colombia fires his official pilots after they get lost while taxiing the president's plane around Miami International Airport, at one point almost turning the wrong way on an active runway.

18 -- The fired Colombian pilots are immediately hired by President Bush's economic advisers.

21 -- Ending 159 years of tradition, members of Yale's exclusive and highly secretive Skull and Bones Society vote to stop wearing women's underwear.

May 4 -- White House aides become alarmed when President Bush, on his routine jog, suddenly begins speaking in complete sentences. He is rushed to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where doctors begin a series of tests to determine how come, if it's a NAVAL hospital, it's nowhere near the water. Vice President Quayle is dispatched on an urgent fact-finding mission regarding shellfish in the Faeroe Islands.

6 -- True Item: Medical tests reveal that President Bush is suffering from Graves' disease, which -- in what doctors describe as a one in a million coincidence -- is the same disease afflicting Mrs. Bush AND Millie, the First Dog.

7 -- Further tests reveal that, in what doctors say is a 1 in 147 billion coincidence, the entire White House staff also has Graves' disease.

8 -- Further tests reveal that, in what doctors say is a 1 in 378 squintillion coincidence, every tourist who has visited the White House for the past three years also has Graves' disease.

9 -- President Bush announces that, on the advice of his physician, he will stop inviting Graves to the White House.

10 -- White House Chief of Staff John Sununu, arguing that he is extremely essential to the government and must always be near special communications equipment, defends his decision to travel from Washington to a Boston dental appointment via nuclear submarine.

13 -- New York City's financial outlook appears bleak as a new study shows that the city's largest remaining industry is people asking each other for spare change.

16 -- A baffling Bermuda Triangle mystery is finally solved when a salvage team reports that Flight 19, the famous "Lost Squadron" of five U.S. Navy planes that disappeared off the coast of Florida on a routine training mission in 1945, has spent the past 46 years waiting for clearance to land in Atlanta.

17 -- Wayne Gretzky pays $1.2 million for Babe Ruth's corpse.

20 -- True Item: The space shuttle Columbia is prepared for launch on a biological research mission with a cargo that includes 30 rats and 2,478 jellyfish.

21 -- The popular TV show "Wheel of Fortune" scores a ratings coup when ailing letter-turner Vanna White is replaced by Norman Schwarzkopf.

23 -- As technical problems delay the space shuttle Columbia launch, the rat count climbs to 57, with the jellyfish total estimated at more than 7,000.

24 -- U.S. taxpayers start to see some concrete benefits from the Gulf War victory as Washington and New York get into a major rivalry over who's going to have the biggest parade. In a related development, Saddam Hussein, responding to continued U.N. inquiries, acknowledges that he did receive some kind of letter about losing a war, but he misplaced it. World tension mounts as the Security Council votes to send him a fax.

25 -- As technical problems continue to delay the space shuttle launch, NASA technicians become alarmed about the rat and jellyfish populations, which are now increasing so rapidly that Columbia is visibly bulging.

30 -- True Item: Officials in Berkeley, Calif., search for a radioactive cat after a box of kitty litter sets off a radiation alarm at a landfill.

June 1 -- The space program suffers another setback when the shuttle Columbia, unable to contain the rapid internal critter buildup, explodes on the launch pad, causing rats and jellyfish to rain from the sky as far away as Illinois. President Bush's economic advisers predict that this will be good for the economy.

2 -- As the big New York-Washington victory parade rivalry escalates, the Pentagon is forced to reinstate the draft in order to provide enough marchers.

4 -- In yet another troubling commentary on the U.S. educational system, the secretary of education reports that 4.3 million 10th-grade students were recently given a standardized math test, and their dog ate it.

6 -- Ending months of speculation about whether David Letterman or Jay Leno would replace Johnny Carson as host of "The Tonight Show," NBC announces that it has decided on Norman Schwarzkopf.

10 -- New York's big victory parade goes off without a hitch except for an unfortunate incident wherein several floats are "accidentally" strafed by Washington-based fighter jets.

13: President Bush, in Portugal to discuss how the United States can help fight a fungus that threatens the olive crop, angrily denies the charge that he is neglecting domestic issues. "I am very concerned about the United, um, whaddycallem, States," he says. "Barbara and I have a summer home there."

15 -- Washington's Gulf War victory parade is a glorious success until marchers are forced to flee in terror from a high-speed New York City subway train that "somehow" got more than 200 miles off course.

17 -- The Army Corps of Engineers begins work on the $57 billion Trans-New Hampshire Canal, which will enable indispensable White House Chief of Staff John Sununu to get to the ski slopes via aircraft carrier.

18 -- True Item: Researchers dig up the remains of deceased president Zachary Taylor to investigate a theory that he was poisoned by antislavery forces 141 years ago.

20 -- In a discovery with chilling implications, researchers find that Zachary Taylor was in fact killed by a bullet fired from a rifle that was later owned by Lee Harvey Oswald.

22 -- Thurgood Marshall announces his retirement from the Supreme Court after realizing that for six months he has been hearing cases in his bathrobe.

25 -- Despite fierce opposition from the National Rifle Association, the House of Representatives passes a bill that would outlaw disgruntled former postal employees.

29 -- True Item: The only version of Colombia's proposed new constitution, which is being written on a computer, is completely wiped out when a technician accidentally erases it.

30 -- Congress hires the Colombian computer technician to keep track of the federal deficit.

July 1 -- President Bush, who is totally against racial quotas, discovers to his amazement that, of all the possible candidates to replace Thurgood Marshall, who is black, the most qualified person is Clarence Thomas, who, in what White House doctors say is a 1 in 984 hillion jillion vermilion coincidence, ALSO happens to be black (although, miraculously, he does NOT have Graves' disease). In his first news conference as nominee, Thomas reveals that he was born in Humble Origins, Ga., and grew up so poor that he could never afford to have an opinion. In the arts, Little Joe rides off to the Permanent Ponderosa.

3 -- True Item: Searchers in New Mexico use airplanes and helicopters to hunt for a radioactive goat. The "Atomic Goat," as it is known, was one of 62 goats fitted with collars filled with radioactive isotopes as part of a $116,000 federal experiment to track coyotes by following the radiation they emitted after eating the goats. Wildlife experts are concerned that the Atomic Goat might contaminate the environment.

4 -- President Bush, clearly troubled by the sagging U.S. economy, arrives in Albania to mediate a strike of asphalt shovelers.

5 -- True Item: The director of the Crypto-Phenomena Museum in Malibu, Calif., announces that, in examining NASA satellite photographs, he has discovered a rock formation on Mars that looks like Sen. Kennedy.

6 -- NASA announces that further analysis of satellite photographs reveals that a rock formation shaped like Sen. Kennedy's pants has been found on Uranus.

14 -- A scandal begins to burgeon in Washington when a sharp-eyed federal investigator happens to walk into the Bank of Credit and Commerce International to buy a money order and notices a sign that reads, "Ask About Our Covert Sale of American Arms to Iran!"

15 -- The space program receives a much-needed boost when the shuttle Atlantis blasts off, carrying indispensable White House Chief of Staff John Sununu to a crucial golf appointment.

16 -- Huge crowds go to see Arnold Schwarzenegger in the summer's smash movie hit, "Terminator Dances With Wolves," the heartwarming story of a man who learns to appreciate Native American culture, then vaporizes it.

17 -- True Item: The U.S. Senate, emitting a ray of sunshine that briefly pierces the growing public gloom over the economy, votes itself a $23,000 pay raise.

18 -- True Item: A Canadian psychiatrist releases a report, based on autopsies, stating that as men get older, their brains shrink a lot, while women's brains don't. This is believed to be the first scientific explanation of golf.

26 -- In Sarasota, Fla., Pee-wee Herman reaches puberty and is arrested.

31 -- President Bush signs a historic treaty with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev under which both superpowers will, for the first time, eliminate some nuclear weapons.

August 1 -- The historic arms-reduction treaty hits a snag when it is learned that all the Soviet nuclear weapons have been traded to Mexico for fresh vegetables.

2 -- The world breathes a sigh of relief when the United States agrees to lend the Soviets $27 billion to build new nuclear weapons, which will then be destroyed in accordance with the historic treaty.

3 -- Emerging superpower Mexico announces that it wishes to have Texas and California back.

4 -- The Christmas Shopping Season officially begins amid gloomy news about the economy, with the only strong sector consisting of white-collar workers exchanging Pee-wee Herman jokes via long-distance fax.

5 -- True Item: Officials at the Oak Ridge, Tenn., National Laboratory issue a warning that radioactive leopard frogs are on the loose. The frogs, about two inches long, grew up in a holding basin for waste water from nuclear research. According to news reports they are "safe unless eaten."

8 -- Police officers in a Sarasota, Fla., movie theater arrest Mister Rogers and charge him with two counts of manipulation of hand puppets.

0 -- World tension mounts when Iraqi soldiers refuse to allow a group of U.N. inspectors to examine Saddam Hussein's fax machine, which he claims is broken.

12 -- Norman Schwarzkopf launches his new syndicated TV show, "The People's Army," in which everyday people, under the general's guidance, resolve real-life disputes via mortar fire.

15 -- The Supreme Court rules that John Sununu is so essential to the government that he should be surgically attached to the president. "He'll be like a giant wart," states Chief Justice William Rehnquist, "but less attractive."

18 -- U.S. intelligence experts, using analysis techniques originally developed by President Bush's economic advisers, determine that there will definitely not be a Soviet coup attempt.

19 -- The Soviet Union erupts in turmoil when a group of hard-line Communist Party leaders announces that Mikhail Gorbachev has developed a sudden case of Graves' disease and will be unable to run the country for a while.

20 -- In a televised press conference, the new Soviet leaders pledge that they will continue Gorbachev's democratic reforms and kill anybody who tries to stop them.

21 -- The Soviet coup collapses when thousands of Moscow citizens, in a dramatic confrontation with Red Army tank units, realize that the tank engines have all been traded to Italy for cheese.

22 -- In a sweeping post-coup reform move, Gorbachev abolishes the Communist Party and fires thousands of entrenched, hard-line Kremlin bureaucrats, all of whom are immediately hired by the Internal Revenue Service.

25 -- In another dramatic post-coup development, the long-enslaved Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania declare that, effective immediately, they will legally be a suburb of Chicago.

28 -- Approximately 23 random Democrats announce that they are Fed Up With Politics As Usual and would like to be president. In sports, some teenager wins some tennis match.

September 2 -- Police officers in Sarasota, Fla., arrest Big Bird for alleged lewd behavior at a movie theater showing "Hot Moist Teenage Emus." Mario Cuomo hints that he will run for president.

10 -- The Senate Judiciary Committee begins its hearings into the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas, who, in his opening statement, notes that, in addition to coming from Humble Origins, he has been paying his dues as a federal judge for nearly 18 entire months and is ready for the Big Enchilada.

11 -- Tensions mount in the Middle East as Israel builds two new settlements in downtown Damascus, Syria.

12 -- Mario Cuomo hints that he will NOT run for president.

13 -- After three grueling days of Judiciary Committee hearings, Chairman Joseph Biden completes his first question. Sen. Strom Thurmond asks him to repeat it.

14 -- NASA announces that it will go ahead with plans to build the proposed U.S. space station, but, to reduce maintenance costs, will not actually launch it.

15 -- Under intensive questioning by Judiciary Committee Democrats, Clarence Thomas claims that at one time he did have an opinion, but his dog ate it.

17 -- A California library releases photographs of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which for years have been kept under wraps by a small group of scholars, possibly because the opening lines are:

"There once was a gent from Gomorrah,

"Who looked down and saw, to his horror . . ."

20 -- As the U.S. economy continues to worsen, a grim-faced President Bush flies to Germany to help mediate a marital dispute between a Mr. and Mrs. Horst Winkleman.

24 -- The Grinch steals Dr. Seuss.

27 -- The Senate Judiciary Committee concludes Round One of the Clarence Thomas hearings and votes unanimously to reconvene in October "for the purpose of behaving like the most flagrant collection of dorks on the planet."

28 -- In another foreign-policy triumph, President Bush announces that the Horst Winklemans have resolved their dispute via a historic agreement under which they will remain friends in return for $3.5 billion from grateful U.S. taxpayers.

30 -- Haiti observes National No-Coup Day.

October 1 -- True Item: An audit shows that in one 12-month period, members of the House of Representatives wrote 8,331 bad checks against the House's private bank.

2 -- Geraldo Rivera, in his new book, Geraldo Rivera: The Story of Geraldo Rivera as Told to Geraldo Rivera by Geraldo Rivera, reveals that he is an extremely attractive virile hunk of man who has had sex with virtually every famous star in the entertainment industry, including Benji.

3 -- True Item: An audit shows that members of the House of Representatives owe more than $300,000 in overdue meal tabs to the House's private dining room.

4 -- The War on Crime scores a major victory when Congress passes a bill mandating the death penalty for anybody who attempts to audit the House of Representatives.

5 -- Benji, through a spokesperson, states that he never let Geraldo kiss him on the lips.

6 -- Elizabeth Taylor, saving time, marries three new randomly selected males simultaneously. The National Enquirer rents a B-2 "Stealth" bomber to take aerial photographs of the heavily guarded ceremony, but, in a bad omen for the Defense Department, the $350 million plane is easily brought down by a German shepherd named Daisy.

11 -- Round Two of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings begins dramatically with law professor Anita Hill presenting testimony that causes guys in offices all over America to suddenly shut up in mid-joke.

12 -- In the ongoing nomination hearings, Clarence Thomas accuses the Senate Judiciary Committee of being white men, a charge that appears accurate in every case except that of Sen. Kennedy, who looks more like a giant, suit-wearing tomato. Several hundred witnesses testify that Anita Hill probably had romantic fantasies about them, thus raising the question of how she found time to get a law degree.

13 -- The Voraciously Rev. Jimmy Swaggart is once again arrested while allegedly engaging in gospel outreach activities. In the ongoing Thomas nomination hearings, Mike Tyson testifies that on a number of occasions Anita Hill had fantasies about him.

4 -- The Senate Judiciary Committee goes into its fourth day of hearings, highlighted by Geraldo Rivera's testimony that both Anita Hill and Mike Tyson had fantasies about him. Mario Cuomo hints that maybe he already IS president.

15 -- A clearly exhausted Sen. Orrin Hatch reveals that he has had fantasies regarding Long Dong Silver.

16 -- Concluding its grueling task, the Senate Judiciary Committee votes unanimously to sign a contract with the Fox television network for a weekly TV series, "The Ongoing Thomas Nomination Hearings," which will be a comedy starring the senators as themselves, and Flip Wilson as both Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill.

19 -- In sports, the World Series gets under way, with the Atlanta Braves taking on the Minnesota Twins, and President Bush's economic advisers predicting a four-game sweep by the Toronto Blue Jays. In politics, David Duke, having undergone successful cosmetic surgery to have four of his original six legs removed, wins a slot in the Louisiana gubernatorial runoff race with a campaign based on coded racial appeals, similar to the Willie Horton ad, but more subtle.

22 -- True Item: A drowsy Key West, Fla., woman, reaching under her pillow to grab her asthma spray, instead pulls the trigger of the .38-caliber revolver, which she keeps there for protection, and shoots herself in the jaw.

24 -- "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry is beamed up. In the War on Crime, the Florida legislature passes a law requiring a three-day waiting period for the purchase of asthma spray.

25 -- A grim-faced President Bush, clearly angered by Saddam Hussein's continued denial that he has received any notification that he lost the Gulf War, threatens to turn the matter over to a collection agency.

November 1 -- Hopes soar for peace in the Middle East when Arab and Israeli delegates arrive in Madrid, Spain, where, for the first time ever, they sit down face to face at a conference table. Hopes dim somewhat when, four minutes into the historic session, the two sides exchange gunfire in a dispute involving the prune Danish.

2 -- The historic Middle East peace talks conclude on a hopeful note, with survivors on both sides agreeing to meet again in a location that has more plasma.

5 -- Concern grips the White House when Pennsylvania voters, in a Senate race that is seen by many as a referendum on the Bush presidency, vote overwhelmingly to secede from the union.

6 -- The body of much-larger-than-life media baron Robert Maxwell is found at sea, resulting in a tasteless joke that will not be repeated here, suggesting that his last word was "Roseglub."

7 -- Magic Johnson fast-breaks a lot of hearts. 10 Mario Cuomo hints that, in a past life, he was the queen of Scotland.

12 -- President Bush, stopping briefly in the United States before leaving for Romania to mediate an important dispute involving roosters, comes up with a neat idea for getting the economy going again, namely, have the credit-card companies lower their interest rates from 19 percent to around 14 percent, which would enable average Americans to buy a lot of nifty stuff such as boats and houses in Kennebunkport.

3 -- The U.S. Senate, which normally can't complete the Pledge of Allegiance in under three days, actually takes the president seriously and immediately passes a bill that would force banks to lower credit-card rates, thereby threatening to wipe out the last profit-making industry in America. This stimulates the economy by causing the stock market to drop 18 million points.

14 -- President Bush has ANOTHER keen idea, which is that the credit-card companies should NOT be forced to lower their rates.

16 -- Faced with a choice between David Duke and Edwin Edwards, Louisiana voters, in a heartwarming demonstration of common sense and good old-fashioned American decency, move to Ohio.

21 -- In what is seen by political observers as yet another indication of White House indecision, President Bush signs the new civil-rights bill into law, then vetoes it, then calls a news conference to angrily deny that he has called a news conference.

30 -- Police in a Sarasota, Fla., movie theater arrest Tinker Bell on charges of performing lewd acts with a wand. In politics, the name "Mario" becomes a source of vast amusement for the White House brain trust, especially spokesperson Marlin Fitzwater, who is apparently unaware that his own name is "Marlin Fitzwater."

December 3 -- In the most important American military triumph since the Gulf War, a U.S. Army division, backed by an Air Force fighter squadron and elements of the Navy's 7th Fleet, is able, after hours of often-heavy fighting, to remove John Sununu from the White House.

6 -- In a move that has troubling implications for the Mideast peace process, Saddam Hussein hires John Sununu.

17 -- Winston B. Doorminder, a U.S. Treasury Department employee, is idly punching some figures into his calculator and discovers that U.S. taxpayers have put enough billions into the savings-and-loan bailout program to give $1.2 million to every S&L depositor who ever lived. He is immediately arrested.

18 -- A new scientific study shows that you, personally, whoever you are, could stand to lose a few pounds.

23 -- In a move that could jeopardize the Mideast peace process, Israel establishes a permanent settlement on the moon.

26 -- Mario Cuomo hints that he is a mutant named "Zomax" who has the power to communicate with trees.

27 -- President Bush, in another foreign-policy triumph, is elected to the British Parliament.

28 -- As the year draws to a close, a collection agency hired by the Gulf War allies finally hand-delivers a defeat notification to Saddam Hussein. Unfortunately, because of a mix-up, the envelope actually contains a letter from the Publisher's Clearinghouse informing Hussein that he has probably already won a million dollars. But other than that, and the economy's being in the toilet, and the fact that the country would be better off if all three branches of the federal government were replaced by a tub of live bait, it hasn't been such a bad year, has it? Plus, how can it possibly get worse? Never mind. Happy New Year.