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1992--the year in retrospective (topical) (trygve lode)
(original, chuckle)

Well, here it is, the very first day of 1993 and, as is typical for this time
of year, everyone is taking a look back over the big stories of 1992 and
making their predictions for the future.  1992 was certainly an exciting year
full of surprises, changes, and hope for the future (or at least fear of the
present), so let's dive in and take an entertaining look at those bits of
news that made 1992 the year it was.
Faced with ever-changing national boundries and the approaching European
unification, the UN voted in February to create a single worldwide standard
for monetary exchange, the Standard Currency Reference Unit (SCRU) which
wouldn't be dependent on any individual nation for its continued value.  So
far the world opinion has been quite favorable and it probably won't be too
many years before nearly all of the world's governments are SCRUed.
Controversies about what to do with taxes raged throughout 1992 with no end
in sight.  One of the hottest debates was over whether to raise or lower
capital gains taxes, and by year's end, proponents of both sides in Congress
had agreed on a compromise measure which would leave capital gains tax rates
unchanged, but increase the quantity of paperwork required from the typical
taxpayer by a factor of twelve.  American Citizens for Tax Awareness (ACTA)
decried the measure, saying that under the new rules, the time the average
taxpayer spends working just to pay the year's taxes added to the time it
takes to figure out those taxes will increase to over seventeen months per
The economy looked sluggish at the end of 1992 after a second year of
particularly disappointing retail sales during the critical christmas
gift-giving season.  Consumers Revolted by Awful Products (CRAP) claimed,
however, that poor gift sales for both years could be attributed not to an
ailing economy, but to yet another year dominated by incredibly stupid gift
ideas.  They cited the most heavilly advertised gifts of 1991--the Salad
Shooter, the "Tater Twister" electric curly-fry cutter, and Cabbage Patch
"Preemies" stuffed, vaguely ugly-looking, prematurely-born infants--and
1992--"Balls-O-Phun" electric mellon baller, "Mister Tea" electric teabag
holder, and Cabbage Patch Cadavers anatomically accurate Home Dissection Kit.
The newly formed Confederacy of Independent Soviet Republics fell apart in
March after all member republics voted to secede and then form the Soviet
Confederacy of Independent Republics.  The SCIA lasted through mid-June when
all member countries seceded to form the Independent Confederacy of Republican
Soviets, a union which remained stable until November when all member
countries voted to secede and form the coalition of nations that they are
today.  Only time will tell if the new union, the Judean People's Front, will
endure longer than the past unions.  Rumors suggest that there is rising
support for the formation of a new union, tentatively called either "The
People's Front of Judea" or "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Speaking of Soviet politics, Boris Yeltsin caught the world's attention in
February when he was trapped in a malfunctioning pay toilet.  Many people feel
that this incident and the media coverage it generated was responsible for
Yeltsin's sudden decline in power and the simultaneous rise to leadership of
Vladimir Potemkov, the janitor who rescued him.
Former Mayor Marion Barry moved from politics into music, forming Barry and
the Marionettes and releasing their first album of racy but politically hip
tunes in August.  Sales soared when a Florida town charged that the album
was obscene and ordered it to be removed from the shelves but, despite
Barry's impassioned pleas before the judge hearing the case, the charges
were dismissed almost immediately, after which only seventeen more copies
were sold.
After advertisers began using rap music in ads for everything from yogurt and
bran supplements to denture adhesive and adult-sized diapers, the popularity
of Rap music among American youth dropped sharply.  A previously neglected
urban music genre, "Jack", relying on jackhammers and other items of
construction equipment for its harmonies, seems to be filling the void left by
rap.  If Tiny Tim's Jack version of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips"--the first
jack song to break the top ten--continues its climb into this year, it will be
hard for anyone to dispute that jack music is a force to be reckoned with in
the music industry.
Neo-pointless artist Cristo unveiled his latest masterwork in August,
simultaneously wrapping the Eiffel Tower and both towers of the World Trade
Center in sheets of blue plastic.  Due to a slight miscalculation, more than
seven hundred tourists and workers suffocated before airholes could be added
to the artwork, breaking the old record for most people killed by any single
Cristo work.  Interestingly enough, rumor has it that Cristo is currently
negotiating with the Fox Network about the possibility of making a sitcom
based on this and previous works.
The 1992-1993 TV season began in September with several new and changed shows.
Many fans were displeased when the producers of the show "Star Trek, The Next
Generation" replaced most of the cast with new members.  Disappointing ratings
led to more changes in the show, including replacing Patrick Stewart (Captain
Picard) with Macaulay Culkin (best known for his starring role in "Home
Alone") and replacing Brent Spiner (Data) with a robot daggit named "Muffet."
Stay tuned to see whether these changes improve the ratings in the coming
Intel introduced the 586 in May in both the 586DX and 586SUX versions; the
DX version was introduced in 50MHz and 60MHz versions and by September, they
introduced a double-clock version that, with a 50MHz external clock, would
operate its bus interface at 50MHz while running internally at 100MHz.  The
SUX version, which is currently the one being used by most manufacturers of
IBM-compatible systems, is exactly like the 586DX except that it is 15%
cheaper, has a top clock speed of 4.77MHz, and lacks the protected mode
capabilities of the DX version.
1992 was the year that IBM announced that it was abandoning support for its
MCA bus, the bus standard they introduced along with the PS/2 line of
computers which had received only limited industry support.  In July, IBM
unveiled the first of its line of PS/100 computers, the PS/100 model 10, a
file-cabinet sized single-user computer built around a modified version of the
S-100 bus, distinguished from the original S-100 bus specification by having
half of the data lines changed to 110-volt AC lines to accomodate future cards
with their own power supplies.
IBM also announced that it will be releasing a scaled-down version of the
PS/100 line in the first quarter of 1993, hoping to make it the "personal
computer for the masses."  The new machine will be called the PSR-80 for
"Personal System (Really!)" and basic units will feature a text-only
monochrome display, a cassette tape interface, and up to four optional 160K
single-sided floppy drives.  IBM claims that it has responded to complaints
that its PS/2 line wasn't sufficiently backward-compatible by making the
PSR-80 capable of running even CP/M programs.  Built around the eight-bit
586Z80X, the PSR-80 will run most applications about as fast as a current
PS/2 model 70 running Windows.
By the time the November Presidential elections rolled around, few were
surprised by George Bush's defeat against Democratic contender Mario Cuomo
whose campaign had gained force throughout the year, despite his monthly
announcements that he wasn't actually going to run.  Most people were
surprised, however, when Bush came in, not second, but third--carrying two
fewer states than Bill and Opus.
After the election, George Bush announced that he would retire from politics
and concentrate on developing a technique of making fat-free pork rinds.
Vice President Dan Quayle, however, said that he still planned to throw his
hat into the ring in 1996 and is reportedly trying to contact Bill the Cat
with the aim of running together in the next election.
 Well, that's it for this year--see you next time, same place, same channel!
The Unnatural Enquirer, (C) 1992 by Trygve Lode   (
May be reproduced and distributed freely in unmodified form on a
noncommercial basis provided this notice remains intact.

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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