Happy New Year: Unreal predictions for 2003

The year 2002 is almost history and in most newspapers that usually means some sort of year in review article.

However, since you’re reading this right now, you, most likely, are able to remember the last 12 months, so why rehash it?

Instead, the Index will look into its crystal ball – which is sporting a big crack from when it was knocked off the shelf – and make some guesses about what the year 2003 holds.

With a few possible exceptions, any predictions that actually come true are purely coincidental.

– Iraq will lose its rematch with the United States in “Gulf War II: Duel in the Desert.” (But seriously, keep a good thought for our men and women in the military.)

– In what has to be considered the feel-good story of the year, America’s war on terrorism will score a major victory when the U.S. military serves up Osama bin Laden’s head on a silver platter, with a side of baby red potatoes and a garnish of parsley.

– This country’s war against terrorism will continue to target nations that are virulently anti-American. Next on the U.S. hit list: France.

– Palestinians and Israelis will continue to fight over the one patch of land in the Middle East that does not contain oil.

– In a display of what critics call the country’s recent tilt toward unilateralism, the U.S. will once again fail to convert to the metric system.

– During his annual State of the Union address, President George W. Bush will make history by becoming the first U.S. chief executive to publicly use the word “smackdown.”

– In a shrewd political move meant to capitalize on the gains he made this past year, Bush will successfully eat a pretzel during the Super Bowl.

– Vice President Dick Cheney will emerge from his recent hibernation, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, just in time for the war in Iraq.

– After his recent stint as host of “Saturday Night Live,” former Vice President Al Gore will embark on an ill-advised and ultimately disastrous career as a standup comedian.

– Former President Bill Clinton will have trouble writing his memoirs, because he’s still not sure what the word “is” means.

– Sen. Ted Kennedy’s face will continue to expand at an alarming rate.

– The U.S. economy will slowly but surely rebound in the coming year, even as the federal budget deficit grows due to the government’s policy of spending money like a teenager with his or her first-ever credit card.

– With the economy in better shape, look for consumer confidence to increase to the point of arrogance.

– Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will cause a brief market scare when he utters the phrase “Bite me” during testimony before Congress.

– Microsoft founder Bill Gates will be the subject of corporate scandal rumors when it’s reported he can’t account for $5 billion. Everything will turn out to be above board, however, when it’s revealed he left the money is his other pants.

– The year will begin and end with scientists telling us that eggs are good for us. In between, however, they will change their minds 37 times, thoroughly confusing the public, which concludes that we’re all going to die someday anyway, so why not eat what you like in moderation?

– In an unexpected but exciting development, scientists will record on video – for the first time ever – a man actually winning an argument with a woman.

– Meanwhile, in America’s Deep South, ultra fundamentalist religious groups will continue to lobby against the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Super duper ultra fundamentalists will begin a campaign to overturn the law of gravity, as well as the second law of thermodynamics.

– Precious little progress will be made in the field of flying cars, meaning it will be a while before “The Jetsons” becomes a reality.

– Cell phones will continue to shrink in size, and by the end of the year the average cell phone will be only slightly larger than a grain of rice.

– To the delight of gadget geeks everywhere, a company will come out with the ultimate, if unwieldy, tech product: a combination computer-television set-fax machine-printer-scanner-DVD/CD/VCR player-digital camera-calculator-cell phone (with optional toaster attachment).

– Motion picture and music superstar Jennifer Lopez, this generation’s Elizabeth Taylor, will get married and divorced 17 times during the new year.

– Not surprisingly, singer Michael Jackson will be unable to regain his largely ceremonial title of “King of Pop.” However, he will be awarded a new title: “King of Freaks.”

– As if she doesn’t have enough on her plate, domestic diva Martha Stewart will again receive unwanted publicity in the coming year, this time for a televised incident involving a baggy sweater she is wearing and an open blender.

– In an emotional press conference, martial artist and action movie star Steven Seagal will finally admit publicly that he runs like a girl and uses that spray on hair stuff you see on late night infomercials.

– The NCAA will make no move toward establishing a playoff system in Division I college football. The logic of deciding a national champion by actually having teams play against each other like in every other major college sport will continue to elude officials.

– The Boston Red Sox will win the World Series. (Just kidding!)

– The Seattle Seahawks will win the Super Bowl. (Again, just kidding!)

– Heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson will finally go too far in his next fight when he actually eats his opponent.