BEST OF BROWARD/PALM BEACH® 2001

A Look Back
A millennium ago, in 2001, strange customs ruled the place they called South Florida. Women implanted saline-filled bags in their secondary sex characteristics. Men’s natural shedding of pesky scalp hair was viewed as a bad thing: Middle-aged men actually sewed, glued, or implanted hair — their own or someone else’s — onto their bald pates. And both genders sweated for hours under the sun until their neurons lit up like intergalactic traffic signals on the star route to Andromeda. Believe it or not, they believed these rituals enhanced their appearance! That’s not all. They ingested a strange conglomeration of matter termed “arepas,” bartered with one another using a primitive means of exchange that involved clinking chunks of metal, and punished themselves by wearing a fiber called Lycra and following a so-called “aerobics” instructor’s commands to gyrate like a Fiiurgian during mating season.

Now that humanity’s reach extends beyond the spiral arms of our galaxy and to the subatomic netherworlds so popular with summer vacationers, we here at New Times Broward•Palm Beach look back at this simpler time with a sense of sweet nostalgia. In honor of the dawn of the fourth millennium, we have produced this Best of Broward•Palm Beach issue (our 1003rd) using technology from the dawn of the third millennium. Thus, instead of receiving the publication in the form of an easily digestible self-replicating limited-AI nanocolony (like last year’s wildly popular cherry-flavor edition), you now hold in your eight fingers a folded stack of compressed, chemically bleached cellulose sheets imprinted with four-color pigments — just like the good old days.

Thus we pay homage to the South Florida of centuries past. We’ve assembled more than 300 descriptions of restaurants, people, and other entertainment that 1000 years ago filled the days of the folks who inhabited the now-submerged southeastern tip of the North American continent. For instance, because the humans of that long-ago era were obsessed with sex, we describe a place where they peddled something called a “Man o’ War dildo” that was 10 inches wide and 24 inches long. And we have chronicled shops where our ancestors purchased $35 cigars, $40,000 hydrocarbon-powered miniature Lamborghinis for children, and 20-gauge steel coffins for $550.

We’ve also documented the goings-on at a sports bar with more than 100 televisions, menus that include strange comestibles like duck-liver mousse and Tahitian barbecue; and a bizarre game that involves tying a ring on a string to the roof and then tossing it about.

And if these descriptions aren’t enough to put you in the all-too-limited mindset of a 21st-century dullard, we have painstakingly created fully interactive simulations of several prominent figures of the age, including a professional skeptic, a gossip columnist, an art collector, and a newspaper publisher, then asked them questions about the future they imagined back in 2001. A current politician also ruminates about how her predecessor might have viewed the world of today. Though their careers are now mostly defunct, their genes remain part of our common biological inheritance; besides, their antiquated perspectives will no doubt provide a modicum of amusement.

Finally there are the votes of our other software triumph, a simulated version of New Times’ 2001-era readers. The model was 100 percent authentic, even down to the clumsy attempts at ballot-stuffing. These spunky sims cast their lots for everything from best vegetarian restaurant (where people once ate vegetables grown in dirt) to best outdoor dining (on solid ground — imagine).

So disconnect yourself from your bioport for a few minutes and curl up with this faithful reproduction of turn-of-the-last-millennium history. It might just make you want to hang out in your corporeal form more often!

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