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THE FUNNY PAGES: The end of the millennium brings with it a seemingly endless series of books, magazines, television programs, political speeches and newspaper articles that talk about the end of the millennium.

You name it, somebody's cataloging it, from books to movies, from great historical moments to athletic achievements.

Our favorite so far is Our Dumb Century, a completely fictional recounting of the last 100 years by the warped minds behind The Onion, a satirical newspaper based in Madison, Wisconsin. Each week, The Onion parodies current events with brilliant headlines like "Casual One-Nighter Gives Strom Thurmond Change Of Heart On Gay Issues," "Clinton Chastises Hillary For Failure to Produce Male Heir," and "ACLU Defends Nazis' Right To Burn Down ACLU Headquarters." (For a taste of their work, visit www.theonion.com, where you'll find recent issues and a delightful archive.)

With the advantage of comically skewed hindsight, the creators of The Onion have invented a retroactive morgue, from which they've drawn front-page broadsides from the last 100 years. Our Dumb Century recounts the major events from an alternative universe similar to ours, but much funnier.

For example, there's The Onion's coverage of the 1963 assassination of JFK: "KENNEDY SLAIN BY CIA, MAFIA, CASTRO, LBJ, TEAMSTERS, FREEMASONS," with the subhead "President Shot 129 Times From 43 Different Angles."

A great series of stories from 1974 details Nixon's arrest in connection to the Watergate break-in, his escape and flight to Mexico, and his eventual death in a gunfight with federal agents outside the Sunspot Motel in Yuma.

Our Dumb Century may not help you put the last 100 years in perspective, but it will keep you laughing through the six months of hype that lie ahead.

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