BOB GARFIELD: There was a time when you existed in either Eastern Time or Pacific Time, with a vague nod toward the Central and Mountain Time Zones. But now, the rhythm of life is dictated by the universal feed time, as in when the network feeds the programming in your area. All this occurred to Matt Selman earlier this week. MATT SELMAN: December 31st, 2000. 11:55 p.m. My girlfriend and I are about to ring in the New Year from the best night spot in Los Angeles: bed. On TV we look for an official New Year's Eve Countdown show. Channel 2 -- no countdown. Channel 4 -- no countdown. ABC has Dick Clark in Time's Square, Rockin' in the New Year -- on a 3-hour time delay. That's not now! That's yesterday! Right now in New York it's almost 3:00 a.m. ! Dick Clark could be dead! Keep clicking. Channel 5 -- nothing. Oh, Fox has a countdown, also in Times Square, also in the past. Ah, back to Dick Clark. Girlfriend says: "Ah, change it - he's gross!" Back to Fox. DICK CLARK: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1-- Happy New Year! 2001! [BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE] MATT SELMAN: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1-- 2001. Three hours ago a giant ball slides down a giant pole. Three hours ago drunk New Yorkers cheer. How many of them are dead by now? Most of them, probably. Kiss girlfriend good night. Lights off. Think about stuff in head before sleep. Los Angeles TV has no live New Year's Eve Countdown show. What does this mean?! L.A. runs on hype! But it isn't hyping New Year's Eve 2001. Oh. Well good for L.A.! New Year's should be ignored! After all, doesn't New Year's always fail to live up to its own hype? [BEACH BOYS' AULD LANG SYNE UNDER] Don't most revelers end up depressed? Let down? Don't most end up dead? But not in L.A. No way. For us, New Year's Eve is over 3 hours before it's even begun. BOB GARFIELD: Matt Selman is a writer for The Simpsons on the Fox Network.