July 2, 1999: La Vida Loca

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(Pictured: Jennifer Lopez performs in 1999.)

One Day in Your Life is my favorite thing to write, even if it isn’t necessarily your favorite thing to read. Nevertheless, over this long holiday weekend there will be a new ODIYL post every day.

July 2, 1999, was a Friday. A heat wave is expected around the country just in time for the holiday weekend. Experts are issuing health warnings and expressing concern about air-conditioning demands on electrical grids. It’s expected to reach 86 in Boston, 88 in Charlotte, 85 in Milwaukee, 80 in Minneapolis, 96 in Denver, and 107 in Tucson today. The twin scandals involving President Clinton’s relationship with a White House intern and the Whitewater real estate deal continue to simmer, although no new developments make the news today. The morning papers headline three major IPOs for stocks in Internet-based companies yesterday including the search site Ask Jeeves, which allows users to ask questions in natural language: shares that opened at $14 were valued at $641 by the end of the day. Today, by large margins, the House and Senate pass a bill that will shield businesses from frivolous lawsuits over the potential Y2K computer bug. The president is expected to sign it. In the Chicago suburb of West Rogers Park tonight, a gunman wounds nine people in a drive-by shooting. In nearby Skokie, Northwestern University head basketball coach Ricky Byrdsong is shot while jogging with his children. Deaths occurring or reported today include Godfather author Mario Puzo (age 78), actress Sylvia Sidney (88), singer/actor Guy Mitchell (72), movie director Edward Dmytryk (90), and candy company founder Forrest Mars (95). A new study says that 3.5 percent of college students have guns at school. Among those students who reported themselves as binge drinkers (five or more drinks at one sitting), gun ownership is twice as high. Ownership is highest among students in the southeast and lowest in the northeast. The figures do not include hunting weapons.

Major League Baseball features a couple of laughers today: the Braves beat the Mets 16-0 behind two homers each from Chipper Jones and Eddie Perez; Greg Maddux gets the win for Atlanta. The Phillies beat the Cubs 14-1; Scott Rolen hits two home runs for the Phillies, and former Cub Doug Glanville has four RBIs. Also today, the Red Sox beat the White Sox 6-1 in Chicago. Pedro Martinez scatters seven hits over eight innings to run his record to 15-and-2.

New movies in theaters this weekend include Wild Wild West, a big-screen adaptation of the 1960s TV show that stars Will Smith and Kevin Kline; South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut; and Summer of Sam. Other movies expected to draw well over the holiday include Big Daddy starring Adam Sandler, the animated Disney film Tarzan, The General’s Daughter starring John Travolta, and Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Among the TV shows airing tonight: Boy Meets World and Sabrina the Teenage Witch on ABC, Kids Say the Darndest Things (hosted by Bill Cosby), Candid Camera, and Nash Bridges on CBS, and Providence on NBC. FOX has the theatrical movie Darkman III: Die Darkman Die. Theatrical movies airing on premium channels tonight include Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The X Files, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

On the new Billboard Hot 100 to come out tomorrow, “If You Had My Love,” the first hit single by Jennifer Lopez, holds at #1 for a fourth week. “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin is up to #2, and “Last Kiss,” Pearl Jam’s version of the 1960s death-rock weeper, is #3. Also in the Top 10: “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys and “No Scrubs” by TLC. “Bills Bills Bills” by Destiny’s Child vaults to #11 from #52 the week before. “You’ll Be in My Heart,” Phil Collins’ song from the Tarzan soundtrack, makes the highest debut on the Hot 100, at #34.

Perspective From the Present: In 2006, Ask Jeeves was rebranded as Ask.com, and it still exists today. The West Rogers Park and Skokie shootings were the act of the same man, a neo-Nazi named Benjamin Smith. Ricky Byrdsong, a random victim, died on July 3; Smith committed two other murders on the 3rd and 4th and attempted several more before killing himself during a police chase near Salem, Illinois. The Mrs. and I spent the July 4 weekend visiting friends in southern Indiana. Salem was on our route there and back; it’s likely that when we returned home on Monday, we passed the spot where Smith met his end on Sunday. We made the Indiana trip several years over the Fourth, for the kind of la vida loca we just don’t live anymore.

2 thoughts on “July 2, 1999: La Vida Loca

  1. porky

    Benjamin Smith was unfortunately indoctrinated by our local white supremacist Matt Hale, what a piece of work he is, currently incarcerated for putting a hit on a federal judge.

    Never could quite figure out the need for another version of “Last Kiss,” made as much sense as the version by Wednesday in 1974. The original version briefly charted that year on the coattails of its success. Interesting that cotton candy-haired blue-eyed soul man Wayne Cochran wrote it.

  2. Jake

    The story on Last Kiss was that Eddie Vedder bought the 45 at an antique shop or something and thought it would be a good cover for their annual Christmas single. Then the next summer it somehow blew up on the pop chart. The top 40 station out of St Cloud that I listened to (KCLD) said it was the most requested song of the summer that year…the 90s were weird, man.

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