It's that time of year again. It's time for WestraDamus, the Non-Prophet, to predict the past, this time for the year 2007, which is drawing to a close.
First an explanation for those of you who are new to this character and to the website Westradamus.com.
The supermarket tabloids used to have their resident astrologers predict the future at about this time of year. No one seemed to check their accuracy a year later. Except WestraDamus, who realized that these guys were almost always wrong.
So, why not predict the past and do so with the same accuracy as the tabloid astrologers?
Hence this entry, which started as a monthly arrangement, but in the last decade or so has been relegated to a once-a-year foray.
And so, now, to the retrodictions. And this year, they cover the world of diplomacy, war, literature, entertainment, sports and the economy.
First, President Gore. He'll win the Tony award for best musical of the year, a revival of the Broadway classic "Massapequa" by Lerner & Lowe. Gore's new lyrics and dance routines choreographed by the late Chris Benoit wowed audiences throughout the year.
Britney Spears will win the Pulitzer Prize in literature, only to be upstaged by her 16 year old sister, Jamie Lynn, who will win the Nobel Piece Prize, edging out Tila Tequila and Elizabeth Taylor.
The merry pranksters of Al Qaeda will open a United Nations Mission in New York and invite the Rev. Al Sharpton to share office space. Sharpton will decline but contribute 40 copies of his hit novel, "the Tawana Brawley Story," to its library.
Iran will see the error of its ways and admit it has (a) the bomb and (b) three gay men. The country will test (a) by dropping it on (b.)
Former Congressman Dick Cheney (R-WY) will die of asphyxiation when the air supply is sabotaged in his Undisclosed Location. But his electric heart will continue to beat for the next six months because no one can find the "off" switch.
In happier retrodictions, the housing boom will continue full bore throughout the year, setting ever rising records for building starts, new home and existing home sales, and a reduction of the mortgage rate to 4.65 percent. The Dow will continue its corresponding climb, closing the year at 34,786.58. The Forbes Magazine list of billionaires will be doubled in size to 800, but still be led by Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft (MSFT,) and present owner of France, Northern Ireland, Colombia, India and Pakistan.
The cities of Los Angeles, California and Newark, New Jersey will cede control to the Crips and the Bloods who will then hold a peace conference at which former President Jimmy Carter will successfully broker a truce. Members of the Carter team, including social critic Carlos Mencia, Economist Tom Keene and aging football legend Bill Parcells, holder of the record for consecutive retirements, will be honored at the White House by Vice President Edwards.
In medical retrodictions: researchers working jointly for Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson will announce a cure for cancer, consisting of an ointment made of ground Viagra, powdered Zoloft and niacin, smeared on a band aid. Other medical breakthroughs include the discovery that it's all in your head, that you can't roller skate in a buffalo herd, and that if you stick to a low-fat diet and climb every mountain, you will survive to a hundred and five.
The Makers of Lunesta will announce FDA approval for a new, non-drowsy sleeping pill.
Students at Penn State University, which has a building named for Paul Robeson, will learn to stop mispronouncing his name, and those members of the school's football team not charged with felonies will caucus in a Volkswagen.
Mike Bloomberg will not seek the Socialist Workers' Party nomination for President. The party will then designate Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage as its ticket.
Billboard Magazine's song of the year will be the near-ubiquitous digitally remastered reissue of Ukulele Ike singing "Who Takes Care of the Caretaker's Daughter While the Caretaker's Busy Taking Care." It will only slightly out-poll the near-ubiquitous digitally remastered reissue of Home & Jethro's "I've Got Tears in My Ears From Lying on My Back in My Bed As I Cry Over You."
Transportation retrodictions: Boeing will unveil its new superliner, the 707473727-A. It's the most fuel efficient aircraft ever designed and it holds 1,200 passengers (and a crew of four.) The plane's efficiency comes from a previously unused concept: no engines. The plane and its 1,200 passengers and crew of four is towed onto the runway, sits there for four hours and then is towed back to the gate. Although the plane is capacious, its size was kept compact by the elimination of the galley, so there's no food or water. And by the elimination of bathrooms. Since it doesn't fly, there is no reason for overhead racks. Passengers simply leave their luggage in the aisles.
General Motors will go private, purchased by a coalition of state-owned investment companies in China. In a two-step process, the new owners will establish wage parity between workers in the US and those in Shanghai (not the other way around.) And they will announce plans to move all production to Malaysia.
Amtrak will cut its remaining four passenger routes, pave over the trackbeds and lease them to Greyhound.
Notable Death retrodictions for 2007: George W. Bush (He actually died in 2005, but residual effects of ingested chemicals, powered and liquid, keep him dancing on the table for an additional two years.) Dan Rather, Don Imus, Prince Charles and the entire soprano section of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Social Change retrodictions: Denny's in Yazoo City, Mississippi admits an actual African-American man to its tables, takes his order and serves his food, all within four hours of his arrival. Wal-Mart overcomes the deep-seated prejudice of customers at its Tel Aviv store and sells 14,000 Christmas trees. The Boy Scouts of Philadelphia name their first openly gay Eagle Scout. Vito Corleone converts to Islam. Poland and Germany sign a non-aggression pact. The Lakotas secede from the United States and declare all treaties void. Radio station KILI of Porcupine, South Dakota, freed of federal regulation, increases its transmitter power to one million watts, drops its annual 362 day fund raising marathon and accepts ads from Marlboro, Camel, Parliament, Kool and Native Star cigarettes.
Climate change retrodictions: the Xinhua Kapok Collective of Shanghai will donate 100,000 life vests for polar bears who can't swim and who face possible drowning because of global warming. The Consumer Products Safety Commission will determine there is an unacceptable level of lead in the vests' bright orange die, and order a recall.
P&G finally will tell us what is in the 56/100 of Ivory Soap that isn't pure.
Starbucks will announce a new product line, coffee, which will be served side by side with its present line of burnt brown water.
PETA will announce a campaign against ExxonMobil, charging cruelty to cartoon tigers and winged horses.
The government of Italy will announce a campaign against the global positioning gizmo maker Tom Tom for refusing to acknowledge that all roads lead to Rome. Twenty minutes later, the government of Italy will dissolve itself.
Apple, fresh from its successes with the I-pod and the I-phone will announce its latest product, the I-truck.
You will buy a house that should cost $123,999 and pay $1.47 million for it. Your introductory interest rate of 2.38% will expire 23.8 minutes after the loan is granted, after which the rate becomes 18.064%. Your lender will provide you with temporary housing while you search for new digs (while supplies of washing machine and refrigerator boxes last.)
Rev. Mike Huckabee will convert to the LDS church. LDS Bishop Willard M. Romney will (a) become a Baptist and (b) admit that he always hated the Rambler.
Biologists at UC Berkeley will announce they've cloned a rock. But later, the student newspaper will investigate and discover it wasn't cloned and that the "cloned" stone was chipped off the old block during a faculty party celebrating Governor Schwarzenegger's declaration decriminalizing pot.
Former Durham, North Carolina District Attorney Mike Nifong will open an Amway distributorship and will promptly be arrested on charges he raped a stripper hired to liven up a recruiting party. The charges will eventually be discredited
Detective Spenser will disclose his first name.
WestraDamus will grow another day older and deeper in debt.
This item will be available throughout the year at http://www.westradamus.com
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