IN THE wake of last year's debacle, when 28 out of 30 ace speed readers succumbed to nervous exhaustion, and the other two attempted suicide by paper cuts after failing to cover all annual news roundups generated by the media in the week before New Year's, the Institute for Redundancy in Journalism has issued a drastically condensed digest of annual reviews for 1997.
Sports: Mike Tyson bites off more than he can chew . . . NBA adopts 2-minute choke-hold warning buzzer . . . National Rifle Association votes Barry Switzer gun smuggler of the year.
Culture: 1997 Megaflop Book Prize canceled -- too many nominees . . . Audience snores spoil "Titanic, the Opera" premiere . . . Joan Collins sues Steven Spielberg for not stealing her "Amistad" script and wins . . . "Titanic, the Ballet" closes in rehearsals . . . Geraldo Rivera celebrates 1,000th O.J. show . . . Mass layoffs threaten industry as Hollywood vows no more brainless action-adventure flicks.
Politics: President Clinton denies new puppy being groomed to replace political liability Al Gore . . . Doctors report House Speaker Newt Gingrich's head unaffected by recent drastic fat loss . . . Aides promise Bob Dole 1996 presidential campaign will be "on track soon" . . . Jerry Brown announces candidacy for post of Dalai Lama.
Science: Russian Post Office finds recall notice for Mir space station, lost in mail since 1992 . . . Scientists baffled by Mars landscape photo apparently showing "Jerry Brown for President" graffiti on rocks.
Economics: North Korea set to bail out South Korean economy until Bill Gates buys North Korea and upgrades it to an Internet site . . . South Korea rebuffs Saddam Hussein's offer to swap 1,000 tons of U.N. medicine for a new Hyundai, but France OKs the deal, promising a Renault, if he'll throw in an area rug.
Industry: Russian Mafia makes hostile offer for beleaguered Oxford Health Care, laughs off charges that its protection policies will cost "an arm and a leg" . . . Big tobacco sues all U.S. lung cancer victims for causing mental anguish . . . Microsoft buys Christmas and bundles it with Windows 95 browser.
International Affairs: Boris N. Yeltsin aides confirm Russian president caught pneumonia during official tour of Smirnoff plant but irrepressible leader calls news conference to announce cancellation of Hitler-Stalin Pact . . . Mexico's drug cleanup declared 100 percent successful: Not a box of aspirin for sale anywhere . . . Chinese politburo dismisses 89-year-old member, saying, "Young people today have crazy ideas."
Medicine: Food and Drug Administration under fire after baldness cure shown to make people fat and fat cure shown to make people bald . . . VP Gore cloned; nobody notices . . . Doctor announces Alzheimer's cure but forgets formula . . . California discovery of "rare giraffe species," with large ears and a trunk proves false alarm; medical attendant had fallen asleep during elephant liposuction.
Bruce McCall is a regular contributor to the New Yorker and author of a memoir, "Thin Ice: Coming of Age in Canada." He wrote this for the Los Angeles Times.
Pub Date: 12/30/97